Baselworld 2013: Chopard L.U.C Engine One H

Chopard took the LUC Engine One tourbillon, flipped it lengthwise to create the new LUC Engine One H. Not especially creative but it works, the new Engine One H looks much more attractive and original than its predecessor which resembled a cross between a Daniel Roth and Richard Mille.

Inside is essentially the same calibre as the original Engine One, but with cosmetic improvements. The L.U.C 04.02-L movement is styled with the groves on the bridges and base plate inspired by cylinder heads. At nine of clock is the power reserve display which reads like a fuel gauge with “Full” and “Empty”, and across is the tourbillon with the inhouse Variner (VARiable INERtia) balance wheel.

The case is titanium and 44.5 mm wide and 35 mm long, and will look far more striking on the wrist than the Engine One. This is a limited edition of 100 pieces. Chopard LUC watches have always represented top quality finishing (the LUC 1.96 is one of the best finished automatic movements out there) as well as tremendous value for money. What is lacking is coherent and appealing designs. I am glad to say that is changing gradually, and LUC aesthetics are getting better, as the Engine One H demonstrates. – SJX

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Hands-on with the Piaget Emperador Coussin Minute Repeater – the world’s thinnest minute repeater (with live photos and price)

Piaget's flagship of its SIHH 2013 collection is the Emperador Coussin Minute Repeater, the brand's first in-house minute repeater. It also has the distinction of being the thinnest self-winding repeater on the market, standing just 9.4 mm high.

Piaget is of course well known for its ultra-thin calibres, and this repeater is based on the 1200P movement. With the minute repeater integrated into the movement – the 1200P was constructed to allow for complications – the calibre becomes the 1290P.

At just 4.8 mm high the 1290P is remarkably thin by any standard, let alone a repeater. Despite its slimness, the watch is water-resistant to 30 m, and also has a 40 hour power reserve.

Though it is thin, the watch is not small. It is 48 mm wide, but still elegantly shaped. Most of the inside of the case is hollowed out, so as to maximise resonance. The movement is also attached to the case at four points, instead of the usual two, so as to ensure full transmission of the sound waves through the case.

Piaget stock photo

The result is a striking mechanism that is loud. At 64 decibels, it is comparable to the repeaters from Cartier and JLC. And it also sounds good, with excellent tone and pitch, though not quite as sweet as the legendary minute repeaters from Patek Philippe. And this repeater from Piaget also excels in finishing. It exhibits a truly excellent level of movement decoration, particularly through the open dial which reveals the repeater mechanism.

All of this comes at the price of about CHF250,000, which is a lot of money, but in the high-end minute repeater segment, this Piaget is a worthy entrant.  More photos of the movement details below. – SJX


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