Grand Complications watchmaker Minute Repeater Artisan

Haute horlogerie

Our Haute Horlogerie workshops are home to an Artisan whose expertise involves infinite patience. Christophe has been a specialised Grand Complications watchmaker since 1998. It is he who assembles and meticulously adjusts the 533 components enabling the movement of the L.U.C. Full Strike luxury watch to strike the hours, quarters and minutes with a crystal-clear sound. A whole month's work is required for this seasoned expert to complete this painstaking task.

[A sustained note in the background]

(On-screen text: Chopard presents)

If someone had said to me at watchmaking school that I would work on minute repeaters at Chopard, I'd never have believed them.

(Close-up of Christophe wearing an eyepiece, of the inner workings of a timepiece.)

It was my holy grail to work on pieces like this.

(On-screen text: ART, from the Latin ARS, ARTIS. Talent, skill, dexterity.)

[Soft piano music plays]

(On-screen text: The word ART becomes ARTISAN.)

(On-screen text: From expertise to emotion. Chopard)

(A black and white graphite sketch of the palm of a hand, surrounded by the words EXPERTISE, CREATIVITY, EMOTION.)

I'm amazed at what the hand can do, particularly in precision work with such small parts.

(A portrait of Christophe.)

(On-screen text: Christophe, Grand Complications Watchmaker)

(On-screen text: Pre-assembling)

(Christophe opens a box of tiny parts and begins to assemble them with dainty tools.)

I am a watchmaker in the Grandes Complications workshop. I think watchmaking is a real vocation. I've always aspired to it. My home still has dismantled clocks. As a child, I wanted to see how they worked. We're pretty much the ones who finish the job, but beforehand, a lot of work is done to make all these parts correctly, so we can assemble them and ensure they work well. We receive the watch in separate parts, so we have over 500 parts in little boxes. And we assemble them from the beginning until the watch is finished, inspected and approved. It's amazing that we manage to fit all these parts in the movement.

(On-screen text: Movement assembly)

When you look at them all and realise they all need to fit within such a small space, it's quite incredible, but we manage it with time and perseverance.

(Christophe gently lowers the balance into the movement.)

Working on Poinçon de Genève watches requires us to be more cautious, more attentive to the parts with all their extra decoration. It's a real team effort. Some think we work all alone, but that's not true. We help each other a lot. We all have different perspectives on what's happening, and it's important to talk so we can continually improve.

(On-screen text: Casing)

You need around 10 years experience with complicated watches before you can assemble a minute repeater, because it's a mechanism that's hard to adjust to ensure the hours, quarters and minutes chime the right number of times exactly when they should. And I believe this can only be done by the human hand.

(Christophe winds his finished timepiece.)

[The chimes sound]

(On-screen text: Chopard - The artisan of emotions - Since 1860)

"Horology has always been a real vocation for me, and my greatest ambition was to work on pieces like Chopard’s minute repeater watch. It takes at least ten years of experience for a gifted Artisan to be able to craft a complex movement like this. Assembling this mechanism made of hundreds of components is hard work that takes time and perseverance. It is only achievable by human hand."

Christophe, grand complications watchmaker

Christophe, grand complications watchmaker

For Christophe, watchmaking is a vocation. As a child, when his friends played ball, he patiently dismantled the watches and clocks in his house to understand their mechanisms, intrigued by the language of gears and pinions. Today, this man with artistically gifted hands has lost nothing of his passion. On the contrary, he has gained in knowledge and talent. So much so that after more than 20 years in the trade, he has been recognised as eminently capable of putting together the L.U.C 08.01-L movement that drives the flagship model of Chopard Haute Horlogerie: the L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater watch. This Grand Complications watch houses a delicate calibre protected by four patents and equipped with very fragile crystal gongs, thanks to which the luxury watch is able to strike the hour to the nearest minute with a tune that is unique in the world.

Piece of work

In other words, when he receives all 533 separate components produced in-house within the Manufacture, Christophe embarks on an extremely long, skilful and meticulous task. As Christophe explains: "The greatest difficulty lies is assembling the sapphire crystals of which the gongs are made. They are very tricky to put in place." This represents a daunting task that his skilled hand and trained eye enable him to master perfectly. Component by component, bridge after bridge, he combines each part to form a single object that he brings to life. When he perceives the first beat at the heart of the movement, Christophe knows he has accomplished far more than a mere piece of work.

From expertise to emotions

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