Gut Reaction Reviews – First Look At The New Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 From Watches & Wonders 2021
Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the releases from the Watches & Wonders 2021. Before we get to dive deep into the releases and go hands-on with as many of these as the two of us here can, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Haute Horlogerie has a new address. That exclusive Chopard Quattro® technology powered 8-day power reserve alongside a Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark bearing movement, both encased inside an ethical 18-carat rose gold case framing the simplistically mesmerising Grand Feu enamel dial, mark the makings of a timepiece worthy of any praise showered on it.
My first reaction is how impressive the inclusion of the 8-day power reserve really is, especially considering the complication. Next, I am impressed by the dimensions: the variety of wrist sizes friendly 40mm diameter and the use of a thin case that sits at only 10.30mm. These days when brands release jumping hour watches, they often place an add-on module on an existing base movement, that increases the thickness.
The in-house Chopard calibre L.U.C 98.06-L ensures that the timepiece is sleek, fits comfortably under the cuffs, and looks the part of a beautiful dress watch.
Limited to only 100-pieces, this is a watch manufacturer flexing its muscles, showing its horological prowess, no longer appearing in any shape or form inferior to the Pateks or Langes of this industry.
I personally have always been pleased with even their non-manufacture models such as the Mille Miglia, but the L.U.C range, especially the Quattro® collection, is just something else.
L.U.C is Chopard’s higher-end collection, a sort of tour de force for the Maison if you must. It’s named after the original founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard and has since been reserved for timepieces that challenge the very best in the horology world.
The new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 from Watches & Wonders 2021 is best suited for those collectors and connoisseurs who understand the true value of the L.U.C range of watches and appreciate the finesse and workmanship of these pieces.
Watches & Wonders 2021 presents the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 LE ref. 161977-5001 in ethical 18-carat rose gold with brown alligator leather strap. This limited-edition release features the calibre L.U.C 98.06-L that comprises of 42 jewels, 240 components, beats at the frequency of 4Hz, and offers a super-duper impressive 8-day or 192-hour power reserve thanks to the four stacked and series-coupled barrels of the exclusive Chopard Quattro® technology.
This 31.80mm diameter and only 4.85mm thick movement features an annular balance, a balance-spring with a Phillips terminal curve that precisely controls the oscillations of the regulating organ, a Swan’s neck fine adjustment regulator, bridges with Côtes de Genève motif, finely bevelled components and gilded engravings. The exquisitely finished movement also bears the elusive Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark that is awarded to only a select few watches that feature flawlessly functioning mechanisms and those whose movements have been assembled in the canton of Geneva.
The movement is encased inside a 40 x 10.30mm round-shaped case inspired by the hunter-type cases of the pocket watches once designed by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. It boasts of impressive finishings of its own, with vertical satin-brushed case-middle and interhorn space beautifully contrasting with the highly polished bezel and case-back. The watch also features an exhibition case-back fitted with a glare-proofed sapphire crystal for you to marvel at the movement.
This year Chopard is celebrating its 25th anniversary of Chopard Manufacture. In-house movements are not all that common. Rolex is more famous for not only manufacturing its movements, but also producing its 904L steel. For those not in the know, Chopard is another brand that manufactures its own movements and as an added bonus, uses ethnically sourced materials.
When it comes to making their own movements, Chopard has two branches: Fleurier Ebauches that makes movements for watches like Mille Miglia GTS Power Control, and Chopard Manufacture that makes movements for watches under the L.U.C banner. The Chopard L.U.C 98.06-L belongs to the latter.
In the case of the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25, everything from the movement finishings, gold smelting, case stamping and machining, calibre components, engraving and traditional hand-crafted finishes to surface treatments, polishing, assembly, adjustments, quality controls and the white Grand Feu enamel dial, everything is produced in-house.
I have said this before and I will say it again: I reckon it’s time Chopard’s name — at least the L.U.C models — is taken in the same breath as that of the Pateks, Langes, JLCs or APs of this universe.
They did start off as a watch brand and then got diversified into jewellery, and while many may associate them with jewellery now, truth is that founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard’s timepieces were exceptional for the time. So from a legacy point of view, and even from the finishings and price worthiness point of view, the horology world needs to give Chopard more credit.
The brand’s press release perfectly describes the market for which these are intended: “men distinguished by their attachment to art and expertise, watchmaking enthusiasts who lead their lives with boldness and passion”.
Jumping hour complication watches are not very common, but still a number of brands offer releases every now and then. They can range from entry-level prices to high-end wallet-hole-burning costs, with some noteworthy examples across the range being the Christopher Ward C1, Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Regulator Jumping Hour, Bulgari Gérald Genta 50th Anniversary Bi-Retro Arena, Hautlence HL Newton, and the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”.
In terms of design language, I find it reigning in the same simplistic arena as the Monsieur de Chanel that debuted back in 2016 or the Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs from 2015.
I think I am getting a tendency of repeating myself, but stainless steel version (of not this one in particular but Chopard Manufacture timepieces) with the Quattro® tech would be highly welcome as I personally prefer watches with higher power-reserves.
That’s All Folks!
I realised that I have pretty much come to the end of the review and haven’t explained how jumping hour watches work. I am guessing if you have made it so far into this review, you probably know what this complication is. But in the off-chance that you don’t, simply put, jumping hour watches do not feature a traditional sweeping hour hand; rather, quite like a date window, they have a disc that shows hours ‘jumping’ in an aperture.
Coming back to the watch in hand, the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 from Watches & Wonders 2021 for lovers of simplistic designs has got it all: in-house movement, excellent finishing, amazing power-reserve and classy looks.
The dial is symmetric, it’s clean, it’s understated; and it’s also elegant and handsome. I particularly like how the thick gold window frames the jumping hour indicator and the design of the gilded Dauphine fusée minutes hand. The black transferred Grand Feu enamel — fired several times at very 820°C and then polished — “L.U.CHOPARD” logo along with the railway-track circle and Arabic numerals appear pristine and legible to the degree of crime. The 7mm diameter crown in 18-carat rose gold with L.U.C logo adds further panache to the case and the (hand-sewn matt) brown alligator leather strap with cognac-coloured alligator leather lining with a polished and satin-brushed pin buckle complete the look.
Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded the Maison in 1860, and since 1996 Karl-Friedrich Scheufele with his Chopard Manufacture has taken this brand through the arduous journey to the top of fine watchmaking. The new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 is evidence of the desire to turn Chopard into the best there is. And for what it’s worth, the brand is doing an exceptional job of that.
To find out more about the new Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 and other Chopard watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are Copyright © Chopard, All rights reserved. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.