When Karl-Friedrich Scheufele set out to bring the Chopard name back to haute horlogerie in 1996, with the creation of a new manufacture for the L.U.C line in Fleurier, the horological world was a very different place.

Technical innovation might have existed in some quarters here and there, but it was not to the scale that we know of and see today. Scheufele, however, was driven by a passion for watchmaking that could not be denied, and with a fervent wish to honor the watchmaking genius of the brand’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the ambitious project to build this new collection from scratch was begun.

The first-ever watch that signaled the scale of his ambition would come with technical features not seen together before, combining a long power reserve, a micro-rotor for the aesthetics it allowed in showcasing movement finishing, and a stability that would make it COSC-certifiable. The genius move that allowed these features to come together in the first in-house caliber 96.01-L of the L.U.C line was the stacking of twin barrels, which at a stroke solved the problem of space for a micro-rotor and allowed capacity for the long power reserve that was required.

This movement was placed in the very first L.U.C watch — the L.U.C 1860 — the foundational model that would herald 20 years of technical achievements in watchmaking in the ever-expanding L.U.C line.

Against the backdrop of such a history, therefore, it is easy to see why the XPS 1860, a re-edition of the original watch but in a modern size with an ultra-thin case, is our choice for Men’s Watch of the year.

It has everything a man needs in a watch, with the added gravitas of a legendary movement within still fit for purpose and competitive in the industry even after so many years.

Available in two versions, the rose-gold one comes with the caliber 96.01-L, which bears the prestigious Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal). However, it is the stainless-steel version that showcases the generous side of Chopard, being a lower-priced alternative with the same, albeit less decorated, movement, allowing watch lovers of all stripes to celebrate the technical achievement that this watch represents, without the barrier of price.

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