L.U.C Full Strike – A crystal-clear sound
As the crowning point of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Chopard Manufacture, Chopard launches its first ever minute repeater: the L.U.C. Full Strike, featuring a number of world première features. Striking the hours, quarters and minutes on sapphire gongs, this standout model is in a league of its own thanks to its original construction, the excellence of its Poinçon de Genève finishing, and above all its extraordinary sound. This refined and easy-wear model epitomises the best of the Chopard Manufacture expertise, inventiveness and quality.
Read the full report of the launch event by PuristSPro.
The accomplished, expert and versatile Chopard Manufacture has been working for more than six years on its most sophisticated chiming watch to date. The L.U.C collection already included the L.U.C Strike One model launched in 2010, which chimes each striking hour. The collection now welcomes a minute repeater entirely developed, produced and assembled by Chopard: the L.U.C Full Strike. This distinguished 42.5 mm-diameter watch in Fairmined rose gold with an openworked dial houses a substantial number of technical solutions that make it one of the most innovative minute repeaters on the market.
The L.U.C Full Strike is an exceptional watch that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes on transparent crystal gongs. These sapphire rings are an integral part of the watch glass, which creates a perfect loudspeaker faithfully to diffuse the chimes of the hammers striking the sapphire. This is a unique technical solution which is visible at 10 o’clock and results in a tone of matchless purity that is rich and full, powerful and resonant. The traditional metaphorical description of a sound as “crystal-clear” takes on a very literal meaning here. The L.U.C Full Strike chimes as a silver knife were delicately tapping a Bohemian crystal glass placed on the table of a gourmet restaurant.
Chopard’s watchmaking creativity
Behind this acoustic result lies one of the most sophisticated and inventive movements ever created by Chopard Manufacture. Almost 17,000 hours of development have been lavished on the development of calibre 08.01-L, which is subjected to three patents. Chopard has found all-new in-house responses to historical issues relating to the nature of the gongs, as well as to the operation and ergonomics of the striking system as a whole.
The true strength of the L.U.C Full Strike resides in the fact that this impressive array of technical prowess goes discreetly unnoticed on the wrist, thanks to a thoroughly refined watch bearing the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Pressing the crown-integrated pusher causes it to chime the hours, quarters and minutes, to the delight of its owner and those around him.
Sapphire endowed with exceptional properties
Transparent sapphire crystal is the material traditionally used for scratch-resistant watch glasses. This very hard and homogenous material also boasts amazing acoustical properties that Chopard has succeeded in leveraging: typical minute repeater gongs are made of steel or gold segments which vibrate when struck, producing their characteristic sound. The L.U.C Full Strike is unique in that it is equipped with sapphire gongs. Moreover, Chopard has opted to step things up a notch, since these gongs form part of a coherent set.
The gongs and watch glass are in fact machined together from a single sapphire block. They thus form a single welding-, glue- and screw-free entity: a construction that is totally unique in watchmaking history and for which a patent has been filed.
The strength and purity of sound
The L.U.C Full Strike has its own unique sound signature. The sound it produces is full-bodied and truly crystal-clear. The gongs are tuned to two notes: C and F. The tonal richness boasts unprecedented amplitude, since this is the first time that sapphire is used as a generator. Sapphire also plays the role of acoustic amplifier.
In music, silence is as important as the notes themselves. For a minute repeater, silence is equally important. The rotations of the strike governor – the component that gives the striking mechanism its rhythm –may sometimes emit a humming sound. That of calibre L.U.C 08.01-L are entirely inaudible. While components used for the striking mechanism sometimes make a clicking sound at the end of the tune, the L.U.C Full Strike does no such thing. Finally, it resolves one of the most disturbing problems faced by a minute repeater: the silence between the last hours stroke and the first quarters stroke.In simple terms, the minute repeater sequence comprises one time-window for the hours, another for the quarter-hours and a third for the minutes. The structure of calibre L.U.C 08.01-L enables it to skip the silences between the chimes automatically. Its hours, quarters and minutes gear trains are superimposed and mutually drive each other. When one has completed its task, it automatically triggers the next, maintaining a constant cadence however many strokes are to be chimed subsequently.
The art of composition
Calibre 08.01-L is based on an exceptional construction. A traditional minute repeater is all about levels, with one layer measuring the time and another transforming this time into notes. The extremely thin new L.U.C calibre enables the L.U.C Full Strike to measures just 11.5 mm thick in all, a modest figure for a watch with an over 500-part movement.
An original power-reserve indication system
For wind instrument musicians, breath is the basic tool that must be mastered even before the instrument itself. In a minute repeater, endurance is also a decisive factor. The L.U.C Full Strike is equipped with two barrels. Both are equipped with a slipping spring, as used in self-winding movements, in order to ensure that winding operations are not impeded by an overwound spring, and thereby protecting them against any risk of snapping. One stores up the energy required for time measurement, and the other that needed for the minute repeater. The barrels are recharged by means of a large-diameter rose gold crown coupled with a differential gear, which transmits the force imparted by the hand towards the appropriate barrel, according to the direction in which the crown is wound.
The L.U.C Full Strike is equipped with a special system for indicating the twin power reserves, composed of two coaxially fitted hands. The first gilded one indicates the movement power reserve, while the other blue one indicates the number of chimes that can be activated.
Securing the movement
A minute repeater mechanism is a system of interactions that is unparalleled in watchmaking. Numerous movement parts are in motion and this implies equally numerous risks of breakage. Chopard has therefore equipped Calibre 08.01-L with three security devices protecting it from any handling mistakes. The striking mechanism power reserve is coupled with a semi-toothed wheel. When the reserve drops too low, it deactivates the minute repeater chime, thus ensuring that the watch cannot sound fully, due to the lack of energy.
Moreover, in order to maximise the striking mechanism power reserve, an ingenious patented device has been incorporated into the coupling-clutch of Calibre 08.01-L. During coupling and uncoupling, the regulator does not rotate, and only when everything is in its appointed place does the striking mechanism actually consume energy.
During the chime itself, the crown is disconnected from the movement, thereby making it impossible to perform any time-setting that could damage the movement. The activating pusher built into the crown is also deactivated at this time, since a second attempt to trigger the mechanism might otherwise force the striking mechanism coupling-clutch.
Securing the sound
Breakage is not the only kind of risk facing a minute repeater movement, which may also chime imperfectly. Chopard has therefore created additional security devices guaranteeing the regularity of each sound indication. Information is picked up from the snails via the beaks on each rack, but the information is not directly transmitted via these racks as is traditionally the case, but instead via ratchet-wheels that activate gathering-pallets. This principle results in a gear ratio serving to increase security and thus ensure a regular tempo. This arrangement generally used for the hours has been extended to the quarters and minutes in this calibre.
Chopard has also resolved the issue of irregular sound intensity. To avoid the last strikes being too weak, the ratchet-wheels are coaxially arranged so as to ensure the hammers are smoothly and consistently raised and thus maintain their constant striking force on the gongs. Moreover, a flexible link between the hours and quarters ratchet-wheels guarantees a constant tempo between the last hours stroke chimed and the first quarters stroke, however many quarters need to be sounded.
The aura of distinction radiated by L.U.C timepieces
Alongside its inherent horological richness, the L.U.C Full Strike is a supremely elegant watch. In keeping with the L.U.C watch design codes, it features a vertical satin-brushed caseband creating a striking contrast with the polished bezel and case-back. All the inscriptions on the latter are hand-engraved and the case is made from 18-carat Fairmined rose gold. This label guarantees that Chopard has sourced this gold from a cooperative whose operations are certified as ethical, fair and sustainable.
Measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and 11.5 mm thick, this reasonably sized case is graced with beautifully balanced lines.. The watch is fitted with a double-sided, hand-sewn and plant-dyed CITES-certified alligator leather strap.
A sense of detail
This close attention devoted to details applies to the entire L.U.C Full Strike, since both its movement and case bear the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark.
By combining beautiful details and extremely meticulous finishing with a full-bodied, crystal-clear sound, the L.U.C Full Strike single-handedly embodies the full scope of Chopard’s watchmaking competencies. Twenty years after the creation of Chopard Manufacture, it offers an outstanding interpretation of the minute repeater watch that is ideally suited to daily wear and only reveals the full extent of its refinement to an attentive and expert ear – that of a modern gentleman with a penchant for exceptional objects.
20-piece limited edition
Ref. 161947-5001 – In 18-carat “Fairmined” rose gold