Why Chopard’s LUC proves sophisticated simplicity is sometimes best
It’s not a matter of what the various complications in Chopard’s LUC (which stands for the founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard) strand do, it’s the way they do it.
The original LUC watch had a new movement (designed in part by the renowned Michel Parmigiani), described at the time as the most elegantly conceived and finished yet made. It set a high bar that Chopard has been careful to maintain.
Over the 20-plus years since then, the LUC collection has expanded to include everything from Grande Sonnerie minute repeaters to exquisite Urushi lacquered timepieces, but it’s with the simpler watches that Chopard’s ability to evolve LUC just fast enough to keep up with the times is most apparent. The LUC Quattro captures the flavour perfectly.
It is sophisticated within (the calibre 98.01-L has stacked mainspring barrels, which keep the watch running for over a week without winding), but not at the cost of its looks (the movement remains 3.7mm high). The finishing is flawless, but that’s simply what Chopard does with LUC.
Far more important is the subtly contemporary feel to the dial that comes through the combination of lume-filled blue-steel hands, silvered dial and rose-gold case – a dress watch that you might wear every day.
Panerai seems to be taking a more relaxed stance of late. While almost everything still descends from the templates established by classic designs from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, the newest have a more playful approach.
That’s most successfully seen in the two new Radiomir 1940 special editions – in black and ivory. The case is a little less heritage than usual, with more pronounced lugs (similar to the Luminor Due), but the interest is in the dial and hands, which take their inspiration from a pair of pendulum clocks that were a feature of the historic Panerai store in Florence – proof that heritage can inspire creativity.