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Certified Sophistication

If you are spending a fortune on a watch, you might as well have it proven tough in all aspects. Chopard does that for you by achieving three prestigious certifications for its latest LUC model. Mr Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is visibly proud!

If you are spending that fortune on a watch, you might as well have it proven tough in all aspects. Chopard does that for you by achieving three prestigious certifications for its latest LUC model. Mr Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is visibly proud!

Chopard has another feather in its cap, or should we say, three. The newest edition in one of Chopard’s most prized creations, the LUC series, has managed to get three prestigious certifications. This is not only the first time for Chopard, but a first time in the world as well! The new LUC Triple Certification Tourbillon now proudly struts with Swiss watchmaking certifications: COSC, Poinçon de Genève and Fleurier Quality Foundation label.

Mr Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co President, Chopard, was definitely ecstatic. “Our team is indeed very proud and in general this combined certification is a great recognition for years of hard work on the LUC development. It also provides a big motivation to reach higher goals,” he said.

This achievement, however, comes on the heels of many previous milestones. The LUC was first created in 1996 with the launch of its first movement, the LUC 96.01-L. “If I had to select just a few of our milestones, I would highlight the world-first LUC Quattro watch, equipped with a LUC 98.01-L movement featuring a new patented technology with four barrels endowing the chronograph with a 9-day power reserve, introduced in 2000. In 2003, we launched the first LUC Tourbillon model – a major technological accomplishment in the field of fine watchmaking. In 2009, the LUC Tourbillon Tech Twist watch equipped with a silicon escapement was launched. And in 2010, to mark our 150th Anniversary, we presented four new calibres and four new models, including the LUC 150 All in One, which bears a Tourbillion, a perpetual Calendar and the equation of time,” recounted Mr Scheufele.

To explain the three prestigious certifications which the LUC has received, the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark is only bestowed after a watch has passed 12 strict criteria ranging from the making of individual parts to the finishing of components, along with the nature of the materials as well as movement construction and assembly. The COSC is the only neutral body entitled to grant the title of ‘Chronometer’ – which depends on the rating precision of a movement, which undergoes a number of tests lasting 15 days, conducted in five different positions at three different temperatures. Finally, the Fleurier Quality Foundation certification includes COSC tests, as well as, the Chronofiable testing procedure, which simulates six-month wear in just 21 days in order to attest to the long-term sturdiness of a movement by subjecting it to strains such as impacts and variations in humidity. The Fleuritest is also done which reproduces 24 hours of wrist movements and is designed to appraise the reliability of cased-up mechanical movements.

The Fleurier Quality Foundation, however, has Mr Scheufele, and two more Chopard luminaries as a part of the foundation. An instant question is that how genuine is the attainment of this particular certificate then for the watch manufactory? “Chopard is one of the three founding companies of Fleurier Quality, the others being Parmigiani and Bovet. None of the member companies have a direct influence on the decision taken. A technical committee, for example, decides independently on the rules and regulations which are applied. Although no other brand outside the founding members certifies with FQF so far, it is extremely valuable for technical development and quality control of our own products, and it is therefore certainly not only a marketing tool,” clarifies Mr Scheufele.

Coming to the splendid design, the LUC Triple Certification Tourbillon has a voluptuously curving 43 mm diameter 18-carat rose gold case. The polished and satin-brushed lugs have been redesigned. The crown, engraved with the LUC logo, appears slimmer while remaining as ergonomic as ever. The dial focuses on providing readability. Silver-toned and grained in order to catch the light, it provides a remarkable contrast with the rhodiumed black hands representing a personalised version of the ‘Dauphine’ style.

The watch houses the hand-wound Chopard Manufacture LUC Calibre 02-13-L (LUC 1.02QF), which is the world’s only movement to be fitted with four stacked and series-coupled barrels ensuring nine days of operating autonomy. This movement drives central hour and minute hands, a power-reserve display at 12 o’clock and small seconds on the one-minute tourbillon visible at 6 o’clock. “It took about two years to conceive, develop and produce the LUC 02-13-L calibre. Its movement consists of 224 parts on which two engineers, one complication watchmaker as well as a dozen of other highly experienced craftsmen worked,” informed Mr Scheufele.

Chopard is obviously a favourite of many while being exclusive. Large production numbers may risk in losing that coveted crown though. Mr Scheufele, however, allays all fears as he believes that their production numbers are quite moderate – “Chopard will manufacture about 80,000 timepieces this year, of which around 4,000 are LUC models. Chopard has a passion for excellence. The quantity of watches we produce has no influence on their quality. Compared to some other luxury watch houses our production figures are quite modest and remain very exclusive considering the variety of different models offered.”

Positioning itself as an exclusive watchmaker means that it has to compete head-on with many independent watchmakers, who are not only good in their craft, but have even smaller production numbers. That does not disturb Mr Scheufele. He welcomes competition as a driving force for creativity. The complexity of the Indian market also does not make him despondent. “India is indeed an interesting, however, complex market. I have enjoyed meeting real, passionate watch collectors and have understood that India will soon be one of the most important markets internationally speaking for luxury goods,” he says.

The LUC series still has a full pipeline of developments for the coming years. Mr Scheufele assures that “there are a number of complications we have not yet interpreted”. Chopard is currently finalising a “High Frequency” movement which will be revealed at the BaselWorld Watch & Jewellery Fair in 2012. We look forward to another marvel!