Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chopard LUC - Qualite Fleurier

Chopard to me has always been about jewelry - so I when I signed up at the Sincere Watch Academy for a watch colloquium, I was pleasantly surprised by what was in store.

L.U.C - Louis-Ulysse Chopard is the range for the high end in-house developed range of watches from Chopard. So called L.U.C. as it makes reference to the founder of their brand and all L.U.C. watches comes with an in-house calibre finished to the highest standard one can expect from the brand. In the earlier years, Chopard released some affordable classic timepieces and I was lucky enough to acquire one - the L.U.C. QUALITÉ FLEURIER.
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The Chronometer certified timepiece meets the Fleurier Quality Foundation (FQF) standards which does not only meet the COSC standard for watch movements but also that of the Geneva seal in decoration. The FQF was set up by three brands Bovet, Chopard and Parmigiani. For more information about the quality standards in the Swiss Industry, please check out the post by my friend SJX.
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I believe one of the feature of the FQF standard is the need to test the watch after it is encased. Additionally, the unseen parts of the watches must also be finished to the highest standards. I was once informed by a Chopard executive that all parts of the movement including the undersides that remain hidden from view are decorated.
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The finishing on the watch is exquisite for a watch at this price level. The dial is elegant. And the case back… well that is another wonderful revelation.
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The first edition of this Limited Edition timepiece came with a closed case back. Limited to 250 pieces, the case back is engraved. This is where it gets even more interesting. The Qualite Fleurier standard is clearly engraved at the bottom of the case back just below the Limited Edition numbering. Later versions came with an exhibition case back.
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Then comes the entire logo. The early Chopard family were bee keepers hence the logo. The case back are hand engraved and the bees around the bee hives are individually engraved. No two bee hives are alike - number of bees may range between 43 to 45 (I think) but even with the same number of bees, the positioning is not all identical.

Chopard and the L.U.C. range has come a long way - many firsts and several to-die-for timepieces like the Lunar One Perpetual and the L.U.C. Engine One Tourbillon. And I will find time to honor those.