The tones of Big Ben, the sinister sound of a clock sounding midnight in a scary movie and of course the recent tolling of bells worldwide to mark the new year; timepieces that sound to mark the full hour are memorable and all around us, yet are very rarely incorporated in a wristwatch.

Repeaters can tell you the time with sound, but only when you tell it to by sliding a lever or pushing a button. Of course there is the Sonnerie, that strikes at every full hour, but some for every quarter hour, and then there is the Chopard LUC “Strike One”.

DSCF2552The letters L.U.C are enough to get most watch enthusiasts excited. Standing for nothing less than the best from Chopard, the presence of these three letters indicates the inclusion of one of their stunning manufacture movements in a watch.

The Strike One is no exception, being fitted with caliber 96SH. Furthermore, what makes this movement so stunning is that the bridges are organically shaped, and cup the gold micro-rotor that powers the movement. Geneva stripping and hand chamfered edges round off the presentation of exceptional finish.

However, design, execution and finish are not the only things that make this movement so stunning.  The technically savvy among us will find more than enough to enjoy; Caliber 96SH is after all Chronometer-certified, a rarity among watches that can sound the time. Also this movement features Chopard’s Twin Technology, where two stacked barrels, each with their own mainspring, give this watch an impressive power reserve of 65 hours.

DSCF2558The star of the show however, and the raison d’être of this watch is the hour strike complication. Raising the level of pleasure and appreciation that the owner can enjoy, Chopard positioned the hammer at the 12 o’clock position on the dial to give an unhindered view of the gong being struck on the hour.

The design of the rest of the watch is typical Chopard, contemporary looking watches with some classical influences that induce a timeless feel. The Strike One is a beautiful example of this design code, with a prominent sunburst pattern on the center of the dial, combined with a golden grid that marks the hours, and a rather refreshing seconds display at six o’clock.

DSCF2555Want to turn off the musical chimes in situations where you need the watch to be quiet? Well, the dial also features an indicator to inform you of when the hour strike function is turned on or off. A musical note, or the lack of one in the designated window is the whimsical touch that tells you this. Controlled by a pusher located at ten o’clock, the optimum position ensures ease of access when you want to use it, yet does not interfere with the wearing comfort of the watch.

While a version with a closed dial exists, this model is certainly the more visually exciting due to the display of the hour strike mechanism. There is a lot to look at, and although the watch comes alive only once every hour, the superb finish and fit and feel of the watch is no less worthy a distraction.

DSCF2572For a watch with such a rare complication, the addition of the date-function shows Chopard’s intention to create an eminently practical daily wearer, rather than a safe-queen. Combined with its classical looks, it is a seamless match with any business environment, helped by it’s shirt-cuff friendly profile of only10,6mm. This will ensure that it remains a discrete and reliable companion, until the hour strikes!

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics 

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