March 18, 2012
With its L.U.C 8HF watch, Chopard is the latest to join the likes of Breguet (10Hz), De Bethune (Resonique), TAG Heuer and others with an ultra high-frequency escapement. Ultra high-frequency escapements are slowing gaining ground, led by advancements in precision technology; there is no doubt that many elite watchmakers are dabbling in this area. The primary value of high frequency in watchmaking applications lies in a significant improvement in the precision timekeeping properties of a calibre, particularly in terms of rate resumption and stability. A higher number of vibrations of the balance means less sensitivity to disturbances — at least in theory. Though the long term reliability of high frequency movements is often questioned, Chopard and its L.U.C 01.06-L caliber can at least lay claim to the first 8Hz escapement to obtain COSC certification. The 8Hz (57,600 bph) is double the speed of most movements (28,800 bph). Of note with this caliber are its 60 hour power reserve derived from a single barrel, as well as the use of silicon for certain pieces of the escapement (see photo at bottom).
Chopard’s L.U.C 8HF has a 42 mm-diameter case made of titanium, further distinguished by its crown at 4 o’clock (also titanium). The date appears in a pointer-type display at 5:30, while the red small seconds hand at 6 o’clock travels far more smoothly than on ordinary watches thanks to the high-frequency escapement and its 57,600 vibrations per hour. A magnifying glass built into the half-closed case-back is positioned just above the high-frequency escapement, providing a chance to appreciate its finer details. The L.U.C 8HF is fitted onto a hand-sewn matte black alligator leather strap with a cognac-coloured alligator lining, with matching titanium pin buckle. A little funky and somewhat futuristic looking, but I suppose that is the point. Limited edition of 100 pieces.
words by Kyle Stults