Most people start the New Year with New Year’s Resolutions. Apparently there is something magical about the start of a new year that inspires people to set goals like losing weight. In the watch world obtaining a slimmer profile is a challenge that they face year round. Many brands embarked on endeavours of making dress watches as slim as possible. Why? Because while creating an ultra slim movement might not be considered a complication, it is extremely complicated to achieve! Space is already a very limited commodity within a watch movement and when you voluntarily also want to limit the height, you are setting yourself up for quite the challenge!
It is challenges like these that make most watchmakers thrive. And the results of their endeavours often power some of the world’s most stunning dress watches. Watches that don’t scream out how special they are, but rather communicate this with soft leathers, precious metals, superb details, and a top notch finish. All working together for the sake of creating what might be the ultimate understatement. In this series of articles we are going to focus on these understated beauties, both old and new, and the complexity that lies under their surface, starting with Chopard’s LUC XP.
The LUC XP represents the essence of a dress watch: simple dial and two hands housed in an elegant yet not too overt gold case with for today’s trends a modest diameter of 39.5mm. It is this relative simplicity that gives the watch its power looks. This is even more amplified by its slender physique with a height of only 6.98mm. Deduct from this the 3.30mm that’s the movement and you are left with only 3.68mm of room for the sapphire crystal, hands, dial and exhibition fitted with a sapphire crystal. This also indicates that it is not only about making the movement as thin as possible, but that in order to show this off also great demands are placed on the other components, making it even more challenging to create a ultra slim dress watch.
Chopard is a full blown manufacture which makes the movements for its LUC-collection, of which this XP is a part, completely in house. By addressing all its in-house movements with the initials of the brands founder; Louis-Ulysse Chopard, they do set a certain standard and work hard to live up to it. In many ways they are a classical brand and that also shows in their movements. The LUC XP is powered by calibre L.U.C 96.17-L, which shows a beautiful combination of Cotes de Genève and circular graining. Added to this classic appeal is a 22 karat gold micro-rotor, which really is the shining star of the movement. It is also this micro-rotor that makes an important contribution to keeping the movement as slim as possible, since it measures only 3.30mm. For an automatic movement that is indeed ultra slim!
But don’t be fooled by the apparent classical looks of this movement; Chopard has hidden some very modern secrets within. For quite some time now they have been on the forefront of creating watches with very long power reserves without significantly increasing the height or size of a movement. The LUC XP is fitted with a movement that benefits from Chopard’s Twin Technology, where two stacked main spring barrels result in a power reserve of 65 hours. This is about 50% more then what is common, and is even more impressive when you take into consideration the height of the movement.
The beauty off ultra slim dress watches like the Chopard LUC XP, is that they age very gracefully, making them prime candidates to build a collection on. Even decades after their creation are still very contemporary, a result from the mere fact that they were classics by birth.