Chopard’s L.U.C Perpetual Twin is a new take on the brand’s first in-house perpetual calendar watch launched in 2016 with the in-house caliber 96.22-L. It was at the time, and remains, the only chronometer-certified perpetual calendar in stainless steel currently on the market, according to Chopard. The 2020 steel model has a new blue dial, and Chopard has added an 18-karat rose gold version with a gray dial to the collection. The design has also been refined slightly. The chunky Roman numerals of the 2016 version have been replaced by sleek, applied hour markers, but it retains the big date, the focal point of the layout. The subdial layout and font are also the same, with day of the week at 9 o’clock, small seconds at 6 o’clock and month at 3 o’clock, with a little leap year ring that leaps out of the month subdial.
The movement, L.U.C. 96.22-L, is the same in-house, COSC-rated chronometer that debuted in the 2016 launch, with a 22-karat gold micro-rotor and dual mainspring barrels (hence the “Twin” in the name), for a 65-hour power reserve. The case is 43 mm, priced at $24,700 for the steel model and $49,800 for red gold.
The new Happy Sport Joaillerie is another example of Chopard’s ability to make pieces that are differentiated by proprietary in-house expertise. In this case, the gem-setting is what makes it special. Variations on prong settings are an emerging trend in watches, and companies like Chopard, which started out as a jewelry company, are uniquely positioned to think outside the box. The diamonds on the bezel and those that float between sapphire crystals over the dial of the Happy Sport Joaillerie are prong set with metal claws, rather than surrounded by metal. In gem-setting, the less metal around the diamond, the better. The idea is to allow as much light as possible to pass through the sides of the diamond so that it can be absorbed and then reflected off the internal facets. This light return is what gives a diamond brilliance and sparkle. Like miniature spotlights, the seven diamonds move around over the dial with the movement of the wrist for an effect that is even more dazzling. The case sides and lugs are also set with diamonds for a total of 11.59 carats, plus .35 carat total for the seven mobile diamonds. The 36 mm watch comes in 18-karat white or rose gold with mother-of-pearl dials with diamond hour markers and a guilloched inner circle surrounded by diamonds. The movement is the ultra-thin automatic 96.17, with a 65-hour power reserve. It is priced at $88,300.
For its sportier offering, Chopard has released two new Mille Miglia watches. The famous Italian car race from which they take their inspiration is an annual 1,000-mile trek through Italy. The new watches mark the 32nd year the brand has sponsored the race. Normally it takes place in May, but this year it has been postponed to October, but the new timepieces are ready to roll. Chopard awards “racing” editions of its Mille Miglia to the winners, and since the 1990s has also released limited edition commemorative watches to the public.
The two 2020 editions, the GTS Azzurro Power Control and the GTS Azzurro Chrono are named for the azure-blue color used on racing cars and for GTS (“Gran Turismo Racing”). The Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control is an automatic time and date model in stainless steel with 18-karat rose gold bezel, hands and marker rims. It contains the in-house, COSC-certified automatic caliber 01.08-C, with a 60-hour power reserve. Like all Mille Miglia editions, it is limited and numbered, in this case, to 500 pieces priced at $9,690.
The dial of the Mille Miglia GTS Azzuro Chrono is inspired by a classic car instrument panel, while the Power Control has a power reserve indicator designed like a fuel gauge. Both have the 1000 Migia direction arrow around the date window and lugs sloped like the curvature of hand-crafted coachwork. The crowns recall the chunky cap of a race-style fuel filler. The chronograph push-pieces are engraved to mimic the anti-slip pattern applied to the control pedals of competition cars, and straps are made of the perforated leather favored by drivers of the 1950s and ’60s with a rubber lining that replicates the tread pattern of a Dunlop racing tire. The chronograph version, in a limited edition of 750 pieces, is priced at $7,400 in steel and contains a COSC-certified automatic with a 48-hour power reserve.