23 February 2021
Steeped in the aesthetic codes of Chinese culture, the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen is the first L.U.C timepiece to display the traditional Chinese timekeeping system, Shí Chen. The animals of the zodiac that symbolises them parade slowly by on an Urushi lacquer disc, accompanied by the symbol of prosperity and its god Lu Xing. This creative new complication exists as an 88-piece limited edition. Its L.U.C 96.29-L Chopard Manufacture movement is housed in a 40 mm ethical 18-carat rose gold case of peerless symbolic and physical finesse.
Carved from a block of ethical 18-carat rose gold, the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen is a talisman timepiece, an allegory of beliefs related to the Chinese zodiac and luck. It represents the first time that an Haute Horlogerie watch displays Shí Chen, the traditional Chinese time system, as a complication. It consists of twelve two-hour units, each one represented by an animal from the zodiac cycle. The day thus begins at 11pm with the hour of the Rat and ends with the hour of the Pig, while noon is in the middle of the hour of the Horse.
The procession of 12 animals slowly parades through a large aperture at 12 o’clock, enabling a dual time read-off: one traditional and the other based on the international system. This succession of zodiac signs also underlines the creativity and mastery of the Chopard Manufacture artisans. In addition, the dial and Shí Chen disc of this timepiece are made of Japanese lacquer. Faithful to Asian traditions, Chopard has worked right from the start with the finest Japanese lacquer artisans, who craft dials using the traditional Urushi lacquer technique.
The 88 dials of the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen are produced by the workshops of the century-old Yamada Heiando company and crafted by Master lacquer specialist Minori Koizumi. In accordance with the distinctive Maki-e technique, gold flakes sprinkled between the layers of lacquer illuminate the 40 mm ethical 18-carat rose gold case from within.
At the centre of the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen dial is the golden, embossed emblem of the god Lu Ying, who is one of the three deities – together with Fu Xing and Shou Xing – respectively dedicated to prosperity, happiness and longevity, symbolically summing up the characteristics of a full life. This star of prosperity also refers to fame and influence and is an omnipresent sign in Chinese culture, where auspices, symbols and representations playing on the nature of ideograms are essential.
To equip the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen, Chopard has created the L.U.C 96.29-L calibre, an exclusive variation of the 96 family, featuring a disc that completes a full rotation in 24 hours. This mechanical movement with automatic winding is just 3.97 mm thick thanks to its micro-rotor, a small oscillating weight neatly integrated into the calibre. Made of ethical 22-carat gold, it boasts high inertia enabling it to wind the two barrels efficiently. The latter are stacked in accordance with Chopard Twin Technology and are capable of storing the energy necessary for the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen to offer a total 65-hour power reserve. Once off the wrist, it will remain on time and accurate for more than two and a half days, the duration of a long weekend.