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Artisan Grand Complications Watchmaker

Christophe

Grand Complications Watchmaker

Our Haute Horlogerie workshops are home to an Artisan whose expertise involves infinite patience. Christophe has been a specialized 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 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.

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 delicate caliber is protected by four patents and equipped with very fragile crystal gongs, thanks to which the timepiece must be able to strike the hour to the nearest minute with a tune that is unique in the world. 

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.

"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

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[MUSIC PLAYING] CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: I'm amazed at what the hand can do, particularly in precision work with such small parts.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: I am a watchmaker in the Grandes Complications workshop.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: I think watchmaking is a real vocation.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: I've always aspired to it.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: My home still has dismantled clocks; as I child, I wanted to see how they worked.

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

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: It was my holy grail to work on pieces like that.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: 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.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: We receive the watch in separate parts, so we have over 500 parts in little boxes.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: And we assemble them from the beginning until the watch is finished, inspected and approved.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: It's amazing that we manage to fit all these parts in the movement.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: When you look at them all and realise they are all to be placed within such a small space, it's quite incredible, but we manage it with time and perseverance.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: Working on Poinçon de Genève watches requires us to be more cautious, more attentive to the parts with all their extra decoration.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: It's a real team effort.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: Some think we work all alone, but that's not true.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: We help each other a lot.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: We all have different perspectives on what's happening, and it's important to talk so we can continually improve.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: You need around 10 years of 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 correctly, the right number of times exactly when they should.

CHRISTOPHE GRAND COMPLICATIONS WATCHMAKER: And I believe this can only be done by the human hand.

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L.U.C Full Strike

a crystal-clear sound unique in the world

The L.U.C. Full Strike timepiece is the pride of a Manufacture. After 20 years of existence, Chopard Manufacture launched its first minute repeater watch in 2016. More than a success, it was an achievement, hailed in 2017 by the “Aiguille d’or” Best in Show award at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève. The major innovation of this achievement: for the first time, the gongs of the movement are made of sapphire – and not of gold or steel as is the watchmaking tradition. Moreover, they are machined with the crystal in a single block of sapphire, without welding or screws, thus guaranteeing a purity of sound that is absolutely unique in the world. 

Christophe, grand complications watchmaker

« The minute repeater is the only complication that adds one dimension to the timepiece: acoustics. It's a world apart. »


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