Before the annual Baselworld fair for watches and jewellery from 21 – 26 March 2019, we are pleased to peek at a brace of nostalgic “novelties” from the House of Chopard: His & Hers Re-interepretations of Nostalgic watches.
L.U.C XPS Twist QF
First up is the gloriously named L.U.C XPS Twist QF for a certain class of gentleman from the Louis Ulysse Chopard Collection, the ‘haute horlogerie’ division of Chopard. XPS stands for Extra Plat Seconds or extra-flat with seconds display. The ‘Twist’ refers to the eccentric offset such that the crown is at 4 o’clock and the seconds counter is at 7 o’clock on the dial; surely a timepiece for the non-conformist!
To top it all, the watch has been through the toughest Swiss certification of ‘aesthetic authenticity’, ‘chronometric competence’ and ‘reliability’: the Qualite Fleurier, which destroys 5% of the watches submitted for testing. Not even Rolex, Patek Philippe or Omega dare be tested. Only three brands have ever attempted the QF and Chopard currently wins more than 90% of the certificates.
Top: Old version Bottom: New version
If we look at a previous L.U.C XPS Twist QF in rose gold, we can see a plethora of words on the dial attesting ‘Chronometer’, ‘Qualite Fleurier’ and ‘Fairmined’ gold as well as the brand logo. The new L.U.C XPS Twist QF has a clearer minimalist dial with only the brand and QF.
Why is this?
The reasons are that all L.U.C gold is now Fairmined and chronometry testing (COSC) is a primary requirement of the QF certificate. Thus, there is no need to state the obvious on the dial – Bravo!
It looks like L.U.C
It is usual within the L.U.C collection for dial textures to radiate from the L.U.Chopard logo at 12 o’clock but in this 250-piece limited edition, the focal point has been moved to the small seconds at 7 o’clock with a circular satin-brushed motif radiating out from the subdial to the rest of the blue-grey dial surface of the L.U.C XPS Twist QF.
It is also interesting that this is the only model in the L.U.C collection without Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock, which is replaced with a double facetted hour-marker.
Fleurier Quality Foundation Criteria
The Fleurier Quality Foundation has the most demanding criteria of watch certification and currently the hardest to achieve in the Swiss watch industry. It involves passing five tests of five key qualities. Precision as tested by the COSC®. Durability and reliability with the Chronofiable® tests. Precision in actual wear by spending 24 hours on the Fleuritest® simulator. Fine craftsmanship by meeting the finishing criteria of Haute Horlogerie. And finally, manufacturing 100% done in Switzerland.
L.U.C XPS Twist QF limited edition uses Calibre 96.26-L, which is a variant of the usual XPS Calibre 96.01-L offset by 30 degrees. Otherwise, it has the same dimensions like the ultraslim 3.3 mm height for an extra flat 7.2mm height case. The Twin-stacked mainspring barrels allows 65 hours of power reserve, which is remarkable for thin watches. Needless to say, the finishing is extra fine too.
The L.U.C XPS Twist QF 40mm diameter case is crafted from ethically certified “Fairmined” gold. It is responsibly sourced from artisanal mining cooperatives, where both the environment and miners are treated correctly, and to which Chopard pays a premium to be reinvested in community projects. Chopard is currently the main global purchaser of “Fairmined” gold, which the Manufacture reserves for the production of its Grand Complication watch creations – such as the L.U.C XPS Twist QF timepiece – as well as some of its Haute Joaillerie models. Since July 2018, Chopard has used 100% Ethical gold for the production of all its watches and jewellery.
We estimate that the L.U.C XPS Twist QF Ref. 161945-1001 in 18K “Fairmined” white gold should cost USD 20,400 when available only from Chopard boutiques. This contemporary, non-conformist Gent’s timepiece brings back the nostalgic elegance of the Golden Age of Horology.
Happy Sport Oval
Chopard re-issues the original bracelet of an iconic watch
The spirit of nostalgia is not only for men as Chopard recalls the original “galet” bracelet from 1993, when it launched the original Happy Sport watch. Back then, it caused a bit of a stir because it was the first time that a Chopard ladies’ watch with diamonds was issued in steel. They didn’t have the phrase “Gone viral!” then, but essentially that is what it did to make the family fortune.
Chic and affordable, it took a lot of convincing for Papa Scheufele to agree to his precious diamonds being set in a steel ladies’ watch. Caroline Scheufele – now Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard – won that argument and the whole family won at the bank; clearly a contemporary classic for the self-confident woman. Now, they even make them in gold!
Fashions changed over the decades and the Happy Sport has been seen on alligator leather and rubber straps as well as various metal bracelets.
The Happy Oval variant is revived in 2019 with the very feminine original “galet” bracelet. keeping up with the times, it is powered not by a quartz movement but a fine, self-winding, mechanical engine (Caliber 09.01-C), developed and manufactured in-house in Fleurier has 42 hours of power reserve. The Happy Sport Oval watch comes in 18-carat rose gold or in stainless steel with a diamond-set bezel.
The “galet” bracelet, made of metal and yet as flexible as knitted mesh, is available in 18K rose gold or stainless steel. Artfully sculptured, this elegant bracelet follows the curves of the wrist to accentuate its slenderness with sophistication and sportiness. Finely interwoven, highly polished pebbles and links lend the Happy Sport Oval an elegance tinged with vintage charm.
Last year, the mathematically inclined will have figured out, was the 25th anniversary of Happy Sport and the Oval was given reinvented proportions, measuring 31.31 x 29 mm in diameter and only 10.77 mm height. The bezel with its calligraphy-like curve “was not an egg; it was a bird”. The signature Happy Diamonds still twirl across its dial freely between two sapphire crystals.
The two versions are:
Ref. 275362-5004 – in 18-carat rose gold with polished bezel with “Galet” bracelet (i.e. pebble bracelet) and folding clasp in 18-carat rose gold.
Ref. 278602-3004 – in stainless steel with a diamond-set bezel with “Galet” bracelet (i.e. pebble bracelet) and folding clasp in stainless steel.
Prices to be announced but we estimate
Happy Oval Galet Steel $15,200
Happy Oval Galet Rosegold $27,300
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Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web magazine. He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).