• 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

repeater.


Innovative heart

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

sophistication.


www.chopard.com

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