The front resembles an engine block, the rear a circuit board. Horizontal is the new vertical. This is the new Chopard L.U.C. Engine One H - what would Louis Ulysse Chopard - the man after whom the L.U.C. collection is named, have made of this industrial, yet quite beautiful perspective on time?
The Chopard family involvement came to an end in 1963 when Karl Scheufele took ownership of the business. Here was an individual who was capable of evolving the brand while remaining respective to its traditions. A watchmaker, jeweller and visionary, he incorporated fine jewellery into the portfolio and established a global network of boutiques which would ensure success and recognition as a true luxury brand.
That motorsport-inspired styling has found its way into Chopard's watchmaking division can be no suprise. The brand are partnered with the Mille Miglia rally and the Monaco Grand Prix Historique and Karl-Fredrich Scheufele has been known to blow away the corporate cobwebs as a classic rally entrant himself.
In 2010 the L.U.C. Collection was endowed with a new piece featuring engine-block styling. Now Chopard have redesigned it and turned it on its side - in doing so the piece has lost the elongated elegance of the original - but in its new guise its horizontal panorama represents all things engineering to great effect. It is streamlined, clean and sleek and provides an even more authentic take on engineering architecture.
The indication of time becomes secondary to the visually compelling tourbillon, the full/empty power reserve and the horizontal grooves, but closer inspection reveals that in fact there are hour and minute hands and there is a seconds hand integrated with the tourbillon cage.
The titanium case measures 44.5mm across and its sculpted curved form is uninterrupted as the crown is located on the top. Inside is the hand-wound COSC-certified Chopard Calibre 04.02.L offering a power reserve of 60 hours.
When the L.U.C. collection was created and named in honour of Louis Ulysse Chopard it was to honour the achievements of the brand's founder. His watchmaking business, established in 1860 had a reputation built on the precision of his movements and the case quality of his finely-finished pocketwatches. Each watch in the L.U.C. collection receives in-house development, assembly and finishing and each is precision tested. It matters not if the calibre is mounted on impact protecting shock-absorbers or if its case is scratch-resistant or biocompatible as with the Engine One H - the execution is the same, the end product is meticulously finished and precise.
Had he been around, Louis-Ulysse Chopard may have been saddened by the ending of the family involvement in 1964, but he would most likely be proud that, over 150 years after he first created his first works, the family name was in safe hands and still adorned watches of the highest quality and innovation, and were still renowned the world over.
The Chopard L.U.C. Engine One H will be presented at BaselWorld 2013 and will be limited to 100 pieces.
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