Inspired by watchmaker and founding father Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the L.U.C collection bearing his initials has been home to arguably some of Chopard’s finest contemporary work. Well, that collection just got a new flagship wth the Geneva Seal-certified Chopard L.U.C Lunar One – a dashing perpetual calendar watch with a moon phase indicator, cased in platinum. Introduced in 2005, the Lunar One gets a fresh dial design and a platinum case this year. No surprise here, but the watch looks beautiful and is yet another object of lust for all but 100 people who will get to call one of these their own.
The new dial introduces applied Roman numerals, a trio of subdials at 3, 6, and 9 for the moon phase and calendar complications, along with the “big date” aperture, which carries through from earlier variants. But even in all that activity, the deep blue sunray dial is probably the best possible canvas to contrast all the polished elements and indicators delineating the information on each register. Note that the sunray texture ratdiates not from the center, but from the Chopard L.U.C Lunar One logo. The Lunar One’s alternating brushed and polished platinum case measures a very full 43mm wide, and squeezing this watch in a case any smaller would be nearly impossible. The fact that the watch is 11.47mm thick will likely keep it from appearing too big on the wrist for those who might be inclined towards a smaller case.
The subdials do appear to me to be squeezing the numerals around them. It gives me the same feeling as when I’m unfortunate enough to have the middle seat on a plane, packed between two people too wide for their own seats. The feeling of these subdials being a little “bloated” definitely makes the idea of the watch being even one millimeter narrower seem like a balloon-popping proposition.
The Calibre 96.13-L beating within is considered to be Chopard’s crown jewel, hardly a small accomplishment in a stable of pretty interesting calibers at both ends of the complication spectrum. Requiring adjustment only once every 122 years (hypothetically speaking), the perpetual calendar nicely complements the moon phase indicator, but it is no typical moon phase indicator with a stationary aperture displaying the current shape of the moon. This one is an “astronomical moon phase” complication that orbits the 6:00 register in accordance with its proper phase and astronomical positioning in the nighttime sky.
From a finishing standpoint, the movement – visible through the sapphire crystal caseback – dazzles with its generous Côtes de Genève stripes, contrasting circular-grained and beveled movement bridges, and a 22-carat gold micro-rotor – something of a rarity amongst automatic perpetual calendars. The 96.13-L operates at 28,800vph and has a substantial power reserve of 65 hours.
It bears mentioning that the Chopard Lunar One is a COSC-certified chronometer – a somewhat redundant distinction, considering that this watch also bears the Geneva Seal. Also called the Hallmark of Geneva or the Poinçon de Genève, depending on the translation, this ultra-exclusive independent certification of excellence governs the hand finishing, assembly, movement casing, and adjustment of the watch, and is usually reserved for the very best of the best (learn all about the Geneva Seal in-depth here). That distinction also comes with a certain exclusivity,