Twenty-five years ago, under the guidance of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard gave birth to the L.U.C. collection, coincidentally with the opening of a state-of-the-art manufacture. The inauguration of the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier opened up the possibilities to explore new territories, through in-house movements, as well as restoring traditional techniques. One of the best examples of this savoir-faire is perhaps the Chopard L.U.C. XP Skeletec. Ultra-thin and beautifully proportioned, the brand has just introduced a new design for this watch, and we go hands-on with it.
The first L.U.C. XP Skeletec was introduced in 2012 and was an ultra-thin, self-winding watch measuring only 7.2mm in height. As such, it portrayed perfectly the traits of the Chopard L.U.C. family. Technical, beautifully finished, compact and elegant. New for this year is a reinterpretation of the XP Skeletec concept, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the L.U.C. collection. We’ve recently seen the stainless steel QF Jubilee, and this new edition of the L.U.C. XP Skeletec is the second watch dedicated to this celebratory year.
The 40mm diameter case of the Chopard L.U.C. XP Skeletec is made of ethically-mined 18k white gold, something the brand has been doing for a several years now. Indeed, since 2018 and with the idea of a responsible approach to its entire production chain, Chopard has expressed its commitment to using 100% ethical gold in its watch and jewellery creations. The case, with its classic design and slender profile of 7.2mm, has vertical satin-brushed sides and its bezel and lugs are polished. On the reverse side of the watch, the polished caseback features a sapphire crystal, which allows for a full view of the automatic movement.
For this new L.U.C. XP Skeletec, Chopard has enlarged the central opening to further highlight the movement underneath. The slate grey-coloured surrounding chapter ring also has a more dynamic and contemporary look, with a new white minute track and redesigned Chevron-style hour markers that extend over the movement. The bold, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands offer decent contrast against the fully skeletonized movement, thanks to their facetted profile – something that is always tricky with openworked watches.
The Calibre 96.17-S is the openworked version of L.U.C’s first-ever movement, the famed ultra-thin Calibre 96 with its micro-rotor architecture, Chopard’s Twin Technology and a 3.3mm profile. Here, the movement has been entirely skeletonized by hand to show as much of the working parts as possible, however with a contemporary execution. On the dial side, bridges and plates are decorated with Côtes de Genève. The back reveals black rhodium-plated bridges with a matte surface, as well as a multitude of internal angles, nicely contrasting with the ethically-mined 22k gold rotor and the gilded gear wheels.
This Calibre 96.17-S displays only the hours and minutes. It runs at a frequency of 4Hz and, despite its slenderness, it boasts a comfortable 65-hour power reserve, thanks to the twin coaxial barrels. It thus has enough energy to keep the watch running over the weekend if needed.
A slate grey handmade calfskin leather strap, closed by an 18k gold pin-buckle, brings a nice and slightly casual touch. The new edition of the Chopard L.U.C. XP Skeletec is a limited edition of 50 pieces. It will be priced at EUR 25,400.
More information and orders at Chopard.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.