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Chopard Chiming Watches where acoustics meet aesthetics

Chopard Chiming Watches where acoustics meet aesthetics

Born to music-loving parents, award-winning musicians Gautier & Renaud Capuçon must have struck all the right cords at a concert they performed at in 2018, probably the Verbier Festival; an event so remarkable. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard decided they had to be a part of the re-making of Chopard’s L.U.C Strike One watch.

The L.U.C Strike One, just like all other L.U.C Full Strike watch models was a celebration of complexity, and harmony in complexity; it was in fact a celebration of horological essentialism. But Karl Friedrich wanted more.

The acoustic train for Strike One is identical in materials and general principles to that of the Full Strike, but unlike the Full Strike and its variants, it is a simple hour-striker. Exactly as the minute hand reaches 12:00, the single gong chimes a single note on a single gong. The Strike One is also smaller than the Full Strike models, at 40mm x 9.86mm.

However, since Strike One only strikes once, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele wanted to make sure the sound was as prolonged, clear, and rich as possible and for that reason, he enlisted the assistance of the two Capuçon brothers, Renaud being a violinist and Gautier being a cellist. These brilliant performers worked not only on the L.U.C Strike One, but also on the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire and L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon watch models instilling their sensitivity and emotion into the acoustic adjustments of these watches.

Scheufele asked that the two brothers worked with scientist Romain Boulandet, who is head of the Applied Acoustics lab at an engineering school in Geneva, and together the trio was able to devise a method of analysis that let them evaluate how the sound of the chime would sound to a listener. The results of this evaluation led to further improvements in sound, upgrading the Strike One to a pretty good sounding watch.

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Since 1996, Chopard Manufacture has been reflecting the inspired vision of the Maison’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, and it was no different with these new models. In 2016, a decade after the launch of the first L.U.C Strike One model launched in 2006, Chopard presented the L.U.C Full Strike model, the first minute repeater watch to the world. The result of more than six years’ work totalling 17,000 hours of development, this chiming watch equipped with a monobloc sapphire gong/crystal system was acclaimed the following year by the “Aiguille d’Or” best-in-show award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Striking the hours, quarters and minutes on sapphire gongs, this standout model was in a league of its own thanks to its original construction, the excellence of its Poinçon de Genève finishing, and above all its extraordinary sound. This refined and easy-wear model epitomised the best of the Chopard Manufacture expertise, inventiveness and quality.

And then, at Watches & Wonders 2022, the world was overjoyed to see the three updates emerge to the L.U.C Full Strike timepiece, with the Full-Strike Tourbillon combining a tourbillon under a sapphire bridge with the Full Strike repeater; the Full-Strike Sapphire, which is a version of the Full Strike in a sapphire case, and the Strike One, which is an hour striker that chimes en passant (in passing) with a single gong every hour.

With the Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire, Chopard created a peerless transparent luxury watch for men, 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 L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire new watch 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.

The original Full Strike was all about visuals but this Sapphire version very much takes the notion to its logical conclusion. Not only is the entire dial open, so that every one of the striking components in the repeating mechanism is visible; the entire case is transparent, including the flanks, lugs, and of course, the caseback.

In keeping with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s uncompromising vision, the L.U.C Haute Horlogerie collection is enriched with a prodigious new technical feat. Endorsed by virtuoso brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, the acoustic richness of the L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon watch thus achieves an exceptional level of quality, while its perfect homogeneity makes it an unparalleled tourbillon watch combining a stunning conceptual challenge with supremely accomplished execution.

Opening to reveal the two complications, the dial with its base plate in ethical 18-carat rose gold features a ruthenium grey-coloured hand-guilloché floral pattern. The first cut-out between 9 and 11 o’clock highlights the two mirror-polished steel hammers whose striking generates the chime. The other, at 6 o’clock, reveals the tourbillon of the L.U.C 08.02-L calibre. A cross-through sapphire crystal tourbillon bridge is a nod to the patented monobloc sapphire technology inherent in the full strike series.

The L.U.C Full Strike is an exceptional watch that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes on transparent crystal gongs. These sapphire rings are an integral part of the watch glass, which creates a perfect loudspeaker faithfully to diffuse the chimes of the hammers striking the sapphire. This is a unique technical solution which is visible at 10 o’clock and results in a tone of matchless purity that is rich and full, powerful and resonant. The traditional metaphorical description of a sound as “crystal-clear” takes on a very literal meaning here. The L.U.C Full Strike chimes as a silver knife were delicately tapping a Bohemian crystal glass placed on the table of a gourmet restaurant.