INTRODUCING: The Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T, Special RevolutionZach Blass
Bold proclamation from the outset. If this watch had been launched during Watches & Wonders this year it would have been my pick of the fair. But let’s take a step back. In 2018, our friends at Revolution made a stellar limited-edition collaboration with Chopard L.U.C: the L.U.C 1860 x The Rake x Revolution. The time and date 18K white-gold watch was 36.5mm in diameter, 7.2mm thick, and had a gorgeous partly guilloched salmon-toned dial formed from solid gold. The limited run of 10 watches were stunning, and unsurprisingly all were sold. Today Chopard and Revolution introduce a sequel to the 2018 collaboration: the Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution. The watch largely shares the same stellar aesthetic, but with a cool and complicated twist. The Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution is both the world’s smallest automatic flying tourbillon and the world’s only Geneva Seal and COSC-certified 3.5 Hz automatic flying tourbillon timepiece.
I am all for classic diameters, and not just because my wrist is on the smaller side. There is a timeless elegance to 34-36mm watches, they evoke designs of the past and bring a heightened sophistication to the offering. The Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution shares the same diameter as the 2018 collaboration at 36.5mm, but miraculously is only 1mm thicker at 8.2mm.
Again, this is an automatic flying tourbillon and its under 10mm thick – very, very impressive. The 30 metre water-resistant case is made of ethically sourced 18K white gold, but whereas the previous 2018 L.U.C 1860 had contrasting finishes, the Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution has a case entirely mirror-polished. Considering the price and level of complication, the full polish makes sense and really fits the design.
In the press assets for this watch, Revolution founder Wei Koh alludes to the idea that this Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution is “the watch that Philippe Dufour would’ve made had he embarked on a tourbillon version of the Simplicity”. Bold words. But as you learn more about the watch you’ll find it is quite justified. Take the dial for example. The solid gold copper-coloured dial is achieved through galvanic treatment and is produced by Metalem – the very same renowned dial manufacturer Dufour enlisted for his coveted Simplicity watches. The dial layout also has Dufourian flair, while also being a distinct Chopard L.U.C creation.
There is really neat texture and depth at play here. The outer minutes track is stepped (ever so slightly) above the central dial with a sunburst brush finish that extends past the hour markers until you reach the break to the central medallion. Here you will notice another small step down into the centre of the dial, introducing new contrasting yet harmonious texture. The hand-guilloched central medallion recalls the motif of the first L.U.C 1860 watch, an elegant pattern that draws the eye to centre and as it narrows towards the pinion where the rhodium-plated Dauphine hands are set it creates the illusion of a vortex (the dial getting deeper and deeper).
The rhodium-plated applied hour markers have a Dauphine feel to their aesthetic but are cropped in a manner that makes them look like the tip of a spear. The 5′ and 7′ hour markers are stud shaped, and the 6′ hour index removed entirely, to make way for the flying tourbillon complication. The cut out is bordered with 60 notches, reminiscent of coining, to serve as a seconds scale that corresponds to the small white triangle-shaped hand affixed to the flying tourbillon carriage. Considering the COSC certification the caliber has achieved, it would be a bit of a waste not to be able to read the running seconds. It’s incorporation is subtle enough to not interrupt the aesthetic, while legible enough for the wearer to discern.
The Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution is paired with a matte brown alligator strap that has a buckle made of case matching ethically sourced 18K white gold. I personally like the warm pairing, and I think the colours of the strap and dial compliment each other well. But it is nice to know the strap has a common width of 18mm/16mm, so whether from Chopard or other manufacturers it will be quite easy for owners to explore various strap pairings.
Beneath the exhibition caseback you will find the Poinçon de Genève and COSC-certified in-house caliber 96.24-L. It is exquisitely embellished with Côtes de Genève and each of the bridges have well-executed chamfers that glisten as the light hits the curved and angular bevels. The movement layout and finish rivals the venerated caliber 240 from Patek Philippe, and horology lovers will appreciate just how much of the gear train you are able to see. The engraved 22K gold micro-rotor is attractively finished, and provides the best of both worlds: the ability to self-wind the caliber without obstructing the view of the movement as a whole. Thanks to Chopard’s Twin Technology, the two stacked barrels provide 65 hours of power reserve. It is adjusted in five positions, and as mentioned earlier is the world’s first COSC-certified 3.5Hz automatic flying tourbillon movement. So not only is it highly attractive, but highly accurate as well.
To be honest, I have found the notion of a tourbillon silly at times because it was originally a pocket watch complication meant to counter the effects of gravity. Pocket watches were typically situated in one orientation in the owners pocket, but a wristwatch moves with your arm. As Dufour has expressed, your wrist is the tourbillon. That being said, considering the complication revolves around the notion of accuracy I appreciate the length Chopard has gone to in regard to upholding that crucial facet of the complication. Its certification proves it is not just complication for complication’s sake, but rather an actual development that works toward greater performance, timekeeping, and chronometric merit.
I have to say, as soon as I saw the watch I immediately (jokingly) messaged Andrew asking for an advance. While the watch is quite out of my league in terms of capital, if I had the expendable income the wire transfer would have been sent right as embargo lifted. If I had to rate this watch on a scale of 1-10, I would give it an 11. I love the size, the dial tone, texture, and aesthetic, and last but not least its attractive flying tourbillon caliber that draws me in – even though I am not typically partial to tourbillon watches.
Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution pricing & availability:
The Chopard L.U.C 1860 Flying T Special Revolution will be a limited run of five numbered pieces, available via the Revolution Watch shop.
Price: $121,000 USD