- Kristian Haagen
Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire
Five-piece sapphire limited edition. A rare crystal instrument
To mark the 25th anniversary of its L.U.C collection, Chopard has created a peerless transparent timepiece, as well as revolutionising the minute repeater for the second time in five years. In addition to the gongs of the L.U.C 08.01-L chronometer-certified calibre, the entire case, crown and dial of this new L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire model are cut from blocks of sapphire. Measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and totally transparent, it offers a 360-degree view of a movement with exceptional finishes.
This entire horological prodigy bears the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, a first for a non-metallic timepiece. Endorsed by virtuoso brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, its acoustic richness achieves an exceptional level of quality, while perfect homogeneity makes it an unparalleled timepiece combining a stunning conceptual challenge with supremely accomplished execution.
With the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire, the L.U.C collection takes a further step into the
crystal age. In 2016, the first L.U.C Full Strike model heralded a new watchmaking
paradigm, a novel way of generating and propagating the sound of a minute
repeater. By using solid sapphire gongs and having the sapphire crystal serve as a
resonator, as well as by making these two components into a single monobloc entity,
Chopard Manufacture broke the glass ceiling. The result is incomparable tonal
richness and acoustic intensity, qualities that previously earned the first L.U.C Full
Strike model in rose gold the ultimate “Aiguille d’Or” award at the 2017 Grand Prix
d’Horlogerie de Genève.
The L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire timepiece is the first minute repeater watch whose
case is made entirely of corundum crystal, better known as sapphire. By merging
container and content, musical expression and transparency, Chopard has created a
veritable horological musical instrument. Thanks to the homogeneity of the material –
which is present throughout the sound propagation chain – this five-piece limited
series gets the very best from sapphire.
Above and beyond its aesthetic prowess, the choice of lab-created sapphire is
justified by its technical properties: derived from synthetic corundum, this material is
one of the most resistant to scratches and has an estimated hardness of nine on the
Mohs scale, almost as hard as diamond. Moreover, although producing a sapphire
case entails considerable machining difficulties, it has the advantage of remaining
unalterable over time.
A sapphire body
The 42.5 mm diameter case is 11.55 mm thick, with well-balanced proportions
identical to previous versions of the L.U.C Full Strike, and which contribute to the
characteristic elegance of the L.U.C collection. The bezel, caseband, crown, case-
back and rear glass are all made of sapphire crystal. This rare model, whose
absolute transparency enables the wearer to become one with the timepiece, has
been created by specialised artisans mastering all the requirements of sapphire
technology, from powder to finished component. The manufacturing process follows
strict sustainable development rules, from the energy consumed in the production of
corundum crystal through to transport.
In addition, the dial too is made of sapphire. Its distinctively cut shape enhances the
indication elements essential for reading. Absolute transparency can in fact have the
effect of blurring the view and Chopard has remedied this by creating a railway-type
minutes track engraved on the sapphire crystal and painted. It complements a
chapter ring punctuated with rhodium-plated herringbone-shaped applied hour-
markers, and black transferred counterparts. The sapphire ring is interrupted by
three elements. The first is the off-centre seconds counter. The second is an applied
white gold plate bearing the "L.U.CHOPARD" logo. The third is the concentric power-reserve indicator in which two hands respectively indicate the energy remaining in
the barrel that drives the movement as well as in the other powering the minute
The L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is the first non-metallic timepiece to bear the
prestigious Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, covering both the design and
finishing of the movement and the case. In addition, the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire
watch inherits the latest advances with which the L.U.C 08.01-L movement is
endowed. Its patented resonant sapphire structure is complemented by several
innovative technical systems, four of which are patented.
In a minute repeater mechanism, the energy required by the strikework is provided
each time the winding lever is activated. Here, the energy comes from a separate,
dedicated barrel wound directly by the crown. It enables the L.U.C Full Strike
Sapphire to chime the most complex and energy-intensive time of day (or night) –
namely 12 hours and 59 minutes – up to 12 times. This exceptional autonomy is due
to several factors. It benefits from the contribution of a patented clutch-lever
mechanism that ensures that the strikework going train is blocked, to avoid losing
power reserve during the information capture that controls the minute repeater.
This autonomy is moreover also the result of Chopard Manufacture's experience in
multiple barrels. The founding movement of the L.U.C collection – L.U.C Calibre
96.01-L launched 25 years ago – in fact already featured Chopard Twin technology,
whose two superimposed barrels deliver long-lasting and reliable force. Since it has
an autonomous energy source, the strikework systematically respects the defined
rhythm, whatever the time that is chimed and however many times it chimes.
Keen to preserve the user-friendliness of the minute repeater and to make its
operation as secure as possible, Chopard Manufacture has introduced a number of
innovative systems. Thus, if the barrel no longer has sufficient force to power the
minute repeater, a safety mechanism blocks its release. In addition, Chopard has
filed a patent for a new strikework-activation device. As soon as it is activated, the
pusher is disengaged, thereby making it impossible to disturb the running of the
minute repeater or to damage it.
So as to optimise and perpetuate the acoustic richness of the monobloc sapphire
crystal/gong system derived from the L.U.C Full Strike, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has
initiated a new approach. In 2018, while attending a concert given by violinist
Renaud Capuçon, he realised that a minute repeater watch should be designed as a
musical instrument and should deliver something more – namely emotion.
Renaud Capuçon is a virtuoso of his time as well as a specialist in acoustics and
sound – just like his brother, cellist Gautier Capuçon. Both play instruments that are
several hundred years old and which embody a perfection and uniqueness that have
stood the test of time. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele decided to call upon the two soloists
to join forces with Professor Romain Boulandet – head of the Applied Acoustics
Laboratory at Geneva’s HEPIA engineering school – whose work in an anechoic
Together, these experts have combined their skill and knowledge to conduct an
analysis that goes beyond the purely measurable criteria of acoustics to enter
another dimension: that of sound as perceived by the listener. The L.U.C Full Strike
Sapphire timepiece benefits from their analysis and their contribution, both scientific
and emotional. Thanks to Chopard's unalterable sapphire gongs, the sound of the
L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is unchanging, stemming from the orchestration of
complementary talents: Karl-Friedrich Scheufele for watchmaking precision; Renaud
and Gautier Capuçon for artistic and emotional endorsement; and Romain Boulandet
for scientific expertise.
A blend of heritage and modernity: 25 years of the L.U.C collection
Since 1996, Chopard Manufacture has been reflecting the inspired vision of the
Maison’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Twenty-five years after presenting
its first movement, the Manufacture has acquired a degree of maturity enabling it to
provide a range encompassing the entire spectrum of horological complications – all
in-house crafted through an alliance of tradition and innovation.
From movement development to adjustment and quality control, along with finished
product design, the stamping and machining of cases as well as movement
components, engraving and traditional hand-crafted finishes, gemsetting, surface
treatments, polishing and assembly: its workshops in Geneva and Fleurier enable
Chopard to master the entire production process involved in each creation
composing the L.U.C collection. The work of experienced artisans, these timepieces
with their simple and design express a high degree of mechanical