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For several years, Chopard Manufacture has been faithfully honouring Mexican culture through an annual timepiece edition specially dedicated to the Day of the Dead festivities. Crafted as a one-off, the new L.U.C Full Strike 'Día de los Muertos' model in ethical 18-carat white gold is entirely hand-engraved with blackened details over its entire case and bezel, framing a black dial adorned with the iconic calavera skull symbol.
It is also equipped with L.U.C Calibre 08.01-L, through which Chopard Manufacture has been demonstrating its perfect mastery of the minute repeater mechanism since 2016. The purity and clarity of its sapphire gongs with their sound that is unique in the world were hailed in 2017 by the “Aiguille d'Or” best-in-show prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The hammers have now been blackened to complement the dark, elegant aesthetic of this special edition. The successful combination of the queen of horological complication with such an original design is acknowledged by the prestigious ‘Poinçon de Genève’ quality hallmark. The L.U.C Full Strike 'Día de los Muertos' model thus reveals another facet of the L.U.C collection: a capacity for springing surprises and for pushing Haute Horlogerie to new limits.
Chopard is once again dedicating a one-of-a-kind Haute Horlogerie timepiece to the major Mexican watchmaking exhibition, SIAR. Inspired by the 'Día de los Muertos' and its unique graphic imagination, Chopard Manufacture has merged the aesthetic theme of the calavera with its minute repeater watch. The Day of the Dead is a popular, joyful celebration brimming with life and sound perfectly echoed in the L.U.C Full Strike model, as the music of this holiday is matched by the melody of a minute repeater unique in its kind.
This execution, imbued with a wealth of symbolism and respect for tradition, brings an additional layer of inventiveness and exclusivity to the L.U.C Full Strike timepiece in an artful blend of form and substance. The all-Mexican personality of the L.U.C Full Strike 'Día de los Muertos' model is immediately visible on its exceptional dial, which ingeniously transforms the movement’s visible elements into graphic elements. The blackened minute repeater hammers delineate the left eye; the inertia regulator defining the cadence of the strike adds to the symmetry of the skull by tracing its outlines; while the concentric power-reserve indicator forms the right eye. Finally, the hand-engraving on the ethical 18-carat white gold case and bezel, offset by the contrasting black rhodium coating, puts the finishing touch to this creation dedicated to the Day of the Dead which above all celebrates life and eternity.
Chopard remains faithful to a design principle to be found on all its one-of-a-kind Grand Complication timepieces. The entire case, including its middle and lugs, are engraved in the workshops by the artistic hands of a specialised Artisan. The motifs are drawn from the iconography of the calavera, stemming from the syncretism between ancestral Mexican traditions and Catholicism. Every square millimetre is crafted with burin and chisel, leaving an imprint composed of skulls, guitars, flowers and skeletons. The exceptional care devoted to the finishing, combined with the precision and fine workmanship of the movement, have earned the L.U.C. Full Strike 'Día de los Muertos' due recognition through the extremely prestigious ‘Poinçon de Genève’ quality hallmark.
The dial is also the object of particular care. The outer area of its white gold base is adorned with a guilloché pattern, before being engraved using the champlevé technique in such a way that the outlines of the skull and crossbones, along with the moustache, nose, tattoos and the L.U.Chopard signature all appear in relief. The rest of the surface is then covered with black lacquer, followed by the final touches involving mother-of-pearl plates forming the quirky gap-toothed smile of the calavera.
Equally sophisticated inside and out, the L.U.C Full Strike ’Día de los Muertos’ watch beats to the rhythm of the exceptional L.U.C Calibre 08.01-L developed by Chopard Manufacture in 2016. This mechanical minute repeater movement strikes the hours, quarters and minutes with timeless, crystal-clear notes. The glass protecting its dial, along with its gongs providing an audible indication of time, form a single whole. Machined in one piece from a block of sapphire, without any welding, screws or glue, it gives the L.U.C Full Strike watch a unique sound intensity. This as yet unmatched construction with its inalterable acoustics is the object of one of the many patents filed by Chopard during the 15,000 or so hours required to develop L.U.C Calibre 08.01-L: a feat acknowledged in 2017 by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève which awarded the ”Aiguille d’Or” best-in-show prize to the rose gold L.U.C Full Strike watch.
Minute repeaters are naturally exposed to the risk of breakage when mishandled. In order to provide the owner of a L.U.C Full Strike timepiece with a perfect wearing experience, its movement has been the subject of numerous developments that secure its operation. Reactivating a striking mechanism (strikework) while a sequence is already in progress can lead to breakage of certain components. To counter this risk, L.U.C Calibre 08.01-L is equipped with a disengagement system for the strikework pusher. When the watch is striking, this pusher can be activated at will without affecting the movement, from which it is disconnected. Chopard has registered a patent for this ingenious feature.
When the minute repeater slide is not fully depressed, the striking sequence may be incomplete and the audible time indication inaccurate. For this reason, L.U.C Calibre 08.01-L is equipped with a separate barrel dedicated to the strikework. It stores enough energy for 12 complete soundings of the longest time, i.e. the 32 strokes heard at 12:59 pm (12 for the hours, three two-tone sequences for the quarters, 14 times for the remaining minutes). The strikework will not be activated if the barrel has insufficient energy for the entire set of strikes required. Moreover, the constant intensity of each strike on the gongs is guaranteed by this separate barrel. Finally, in a supremely refined touch, the time units not struck are skipped. This means the L.U.C Full Strike timepiece does not make a silent pause between the hours and quarters, nor between the quarters and minutes. On the contrary, it sounds them smoothly in direct succession, whatever the time.
The movement’s strikework power reserve is indicated by the longer hand at 2 o'clock on the left eye of the calavera, appearing on the graduated counter topped by a bell. In the same space, on an adjacent scale, a slightly shorter hand indicates the movement's power reserve, which is 60 hours.
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