Chopard L.U.C 1860 - Salmon Guilloché dial - 1997 - White gold
Chopard was founded in 1860 by watchmaker Louis-Ulysse Chopard in Sonvilier, based in the Swiss Jura. It did not take long before it became the epitome of elegance, offering an exclusive selection of watches and jewellery to the likes of Russian Tsars to renowned film stars today.
Besides having luxury interwoven in its DNA, the Maison has always been a family-run company. When Louis-Ulysse passed away in 1915, the company was taken over by Chopard’s son Paul-Louis and grandson Paul-André. The latter, having no children that wished to pursue in his footsteps, sold the company to Karl Scheufele III in 1963, a German goldsmith and watchmaker dreaming of stepping up his watch business and controlling the production of in-house movements.
As the story goes, the deal was closed in a mere 30 minutes. Following the founder’s tradition, Scheufele III brought in his children Caroline and Karl-Friedrich in the eighties: she is in charge of the ladies’ collection and high-end jewellery, he is taking care of developing the watch department. New endeavors soon followed, such as launching elegant sports watches.
Yet one of the most radical breaks with the past – while honouring its heritage to the greatest extent – was made official in 1996. It was then when Chopard’s first in-house caliber, calibre 1.96, named after its birth year, started beating. The caliber was crafted in a brand-new watch movement manufacture in the hills of Fleurier, in the Swiss Canton of Neuchâtel, being part of an inventive family of micro-rotor automatic movements.
Returning to its Jura roots – the company had moved earlier to Geneva, enabling Chopard to carry the Seal of Geneva, as a testimony to a high accolade of quality for their movements –the start of creating in-house movements repositioned Chopard as a worthy high-end watchmaker, with its in-house calibers marked by L.U.C. (a homage to the brand’s founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard).
Opening up a manufacture seemed a bold move, with the company still rebounding from the quartz crisis, but it turned out to be a merit. The team of eight that started working on the caliber 1.96 in 1994, multiplied to 150 skilled watchmakers today, working in 21 traditional horological crafts.
In 1997, another memorable event happened. The Calibre 1.96 made its debut in a finely crafted dress watch – the L.U.C. 1860, as a tribute to the brand’s owner and Chopard’s founding year. It soon was internationally recognised as ‘Watch of the year’.
Chopard intended to produce ref. 16/1860/2 in a total of 1860 timepieces for each metal, but it is believed that not all watches were produced. The yellow and rose gold versions are estimated at 500-600 pieces per metal. The white gold production is estimated at 400, while the platinum version is estimated at 300 units. Each metal was fitted with different coloured dials. The white gold edition with salmon dial here at hand is known to be among the Maison’s rarest creations.
This rare Chopard L.U.C. 16/1860/2, crafted in 1997 as a homage to Louis-Ulysse Chopard, beats heritage on the wrist in the most graceful manner. Measuring a traditional 36,5 mm it is infused with vintage style references yet remains elegantly contemporary.
Its white gold case – with the special gold alloy melted in Geneva by Chopard before being shaped in-house into the case blank, as only a handful manufactures do – matches the eye-catching salmon dial harmoniously. The simple yet stylish color palette makes up for a highly legible dress watch featuring a finely stepped bezel, applied arrow-shaped hour markers and Dauphine hands.
The dial is further enhanced by a railway minute track, a phenomenal guilloché center with a recessed small seconds sub-dial and a ton sur ton date aperture – making its watch face infinitely interesting to glance at.
The Chopard L.U.C. 16/1860 houses the renowned mechanical 1.96 movement, eminent for its platinum bi-directional micro-rotor, that makes up for its exceptional thinness (measuring only 3,3mm). The development of this self-winding movement dates back to the early nineties and started off as a secret project, the ASP94, between Chopard and Parmigiani. Yet Chopard fully took over the engineering after 10 prototypes that were jointly developed.
Calibre 1.96, has a frequency of 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 65 hours. It features a Swan neck fine regulator with Breguet overcoil, hinting to tradition while improving precision, a Kif shock protection system, escapement stone lever and Yoke winding system.
The movement bears the Seal of Geneva, underlining the watchmaking élan with which it has been crafted, with its bridges and plates exquisitely finished and angled by hand.
This discontinued and rare white gold Chopard L.U.C. 1860, homage to Louis-Ulysse Chopard, first generation timepiece from 1997 is in very good condition and has perfect mechanical functioning. The timepieces comes with its original box, service papers, extract from archives, chopard strap, original pin buckle, and closed caseback. The watch is fitted with a Mr Watchley Saffiano Navy Blue strap.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium
No stock kept on site
|Mr Watchley Saffiano Navy Blue
|Extract from archive