This is the Chopard L.U.C. 8HF featuring the first high frequency escapement ever to be COSC chronometer certified.
When Louis-Ulysse Chopard first established his watchmaking business in 1860, his brand stood apart from the many others in the Jura region because his watches had a particular characteristic, the movements he created were exclusive high precision calibres, many of which were so precise that they were manufactured to chronometer standards. Named in his honour, the L.U.C. collection is a mainly classical and understated array of precision timepieces although there have been hints in the past suggesting that Chopard would, if required, be capable of producing more contemporary additions - evident in the L.U.C. Tech models and also the L.U.C. Engine One Tourbillon, even so, the modernistic styling and irregular features of the L.U.C. 8HF have astounded more than a few aficionados attending BaselWorld this week - inside and out, this is an exceptional piece.
Of course, the hubbub is mostly about the calibre - the L.U.C. 01.06-L has been years in the making. High frequency refers to the number of vibrations (half oscillations of the balance) per hour, in this case 57,6000 - almost twice that of your average calibre. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency, the more precise your timekeeper will be, not only that, it's "tick" will sound different and its seconds hand will glide smoother - minutiae which will be noticed and appreciated by all but the most inept owner. Such a high rate will naturally use more energy, despite this, Chopard have achieved a quite remarkable power reserve of 60 hours from just a single barrel. This is high-tech stuff using cutting-edge materials - unsurprisingly a silicon escapement has been used for its reduced friction and endurance-boosting properties.
The L.U.C. 8HF is thoroughly modern, with some very unexpected atypical styling. Titanium has been used to build the case which measures 42mm across. The crown, positioned at 4 o'clock bears the L.U.C. logo and the chunky squared-off lugs are of monobloc construction. On the case back is a magnified crystal section to showcase the high frequency escapement. The silver grained dial is also nonconforming. The eye is drawn to the small seconds dial at 7 o'clock with its subtle red hand and quarter minute markings, and to the date window at 5.30, but there are other details to note - the polished inner ring, the unusual Art Deco markers and the faceted hour and minute hands.
Presented on a hand stitched and lined black alligator strap, the exceptional Chopard L.U.C. 8HF will be a limited edition of 100 pieces.