In the nearly 40 years since Chopard first began to develop its complicated timepieces, one key design has persisted, and that is the perpetual calendar. The brand’s earliest models were developed with a brilliant perpetual calendar designer, Svend Andersen, and featured a retrograde date display over the other indicators.
But as the brand began to establish its in-house manufacturing chops, it formed a design language that it has held steady till this year. As it begins celebrations for its 160th anniversary, Chopard has given the perpetual calendar a little tweak.
The iconic L.U.C Lunar One, Chopard’s name for its perpetual calendar model, stems from the Luna d’Oro, which was its earliest example of the complication. With an orbital moonphase display that goes around the entire counter as it waxes and wanes with the passing of the lunar cycle, the Lunar One’s two calendar counters at nine and three o’clock display the day and AM/PM indications as well as month and leap year, respectively. And sitting under the maison’s logo is the big date display, which makes the date easily legible.
This watch dates to 2005, the earliest edition of the Lunar One, which bore diamond-shaped faceted hour markers along with Roman numerals over the dial display. The watch was based on the calibre 1.96 in-house manufacture movement, which has a micro-rotor that has kept the profile of the watch slim in spite of its complexity, and its 96.13 QP calibre has become a brand staple with regular updates to its design.
The Perpetual Twin
Over the last 15 years the perpetual calendar has gotten refinements and variations, but towards the end of 2016, Chopard released the L.U.C Perpetual Twin, a refinement of the Lunar One and similarly based on the calibre 1.96. The Perpetual Twin differs from the Lunar One in that it does away with the orbital moonphase display which doubled as a small seconds display.
Instead, the Perpetual Twin bears a circular-grained seconds display. It also has a separate leap-year indication to the side of the month display for easy legibility. Resting on a silver brushed dial, the watch is also housed in steel, the first time such a high complication is seen in a non-precious metal case for the watchmaker.
Four years later, the Perpetual Twin has an update as the leap year has come and gone. The new Perpetual Twin does away with the oversized hour markers of its predecessor and shows off its dashing good looks in a suit of blue with a touch of slate grey, with a variation in rose gold and an anthracite grey dial.
The “Twin” in the Perpetual Twin refers to the double barrels that run within the movement, giving the watch an extended power reserve of 65 hours. The calendar displays are fully instantaneous, and all jump at the stroke of midnight each day. The movement itself bears a COSC chronometer certification and, thanks to the micro-rotor, sits at just 6mm thin, with the watch at just under 11.5mm thick.
The movement is secured with bridges that bear Genevan stripe finishing, with correctors on either side of the case for the calendar adjustments. The dial itself has plenty of breathing space thanks to its refreshed design, making it a slim-fitted, razor-sharp piece of wrist gear for the dapper gent.
Self-winding L.U.C calibre 96.22-L; hours, minutes and small seconds; perpetual calendar with big date display; 65-hour power reserve
43mm; stainless steel or rose gold; blue sunray-finished dial (stainless-steel model) or ruthenium grey dial (rose-gold model); water-resistant to 30m
Hand-sewn blue or brown alligator leather with cognac alligator leather lining and pin buckle