Chopard has loosened up its strictly formal, ultra-thin dress watch with recent launches like the collaboration with tailor Kiton. Launched during Mexican watch fair Salón Internacional Alta Relojería México (SIAR), the L.U.C Skull One continues the theme – a slim, black-coated case and the dial decorated with a motif inspired by Día de Muertos, the Mexican festival that celebrates the dearly departed.
The Skull One is not the first Chopard dressed in a calavera, a decorated depiction of the skull used during Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Two years ago, once again for SIAR, Chopard decked out its top-of-the-line L.U.C perpetual calendar with tourbillon in Day of the Dead decor that was hand engraved on the dial and case.
But compared to that one-off creation (and also the similarly-themed De Bethune DW5), the Skull One is most pared back in style and also in price. Priced just shy of US$10,000, the Skull One is well priced for a wristwatch powered by a sophisticated, in-house movement that has an elaborately printed dial.
And just as importantly, the watch is well designed – the skull motif works well with everything else. The look is coherently put together, with most of the elements done in shades of black and grey – even the case back crystal is tinted grey – but accented with rose gold markers and hands.
Simple yet effective
While obvious at a glance, the dial is thoughtful in its details. The motif is set apart from the background in texture – the dial base is radially brushed, while the skull motif is printed in glossy lacquer. And the skull is composed of whimsical elements – the eyes are flowers and it wears a moustache – in the typical style of the calavera, because the Day of the Dead is an occasion to celebrate.
The skull is surrounded by radial striping for striking visual effect, but isn’t particularly practical for reading the time. Even though the lines are properly segmented, they are not easily legible.
The dark-colour theme continues seamlessly from the dial to the case that’s sandblasted and coated in black diamond-like carbon (DLC), and also on the back, which has a tinted crystal.
And under the crystal is the L.U.C 96.53-L, a variant of Chopard’s longstanding in-house movement that is well regarded for its refined construction and excellent finishing. Although this variant of the movement does not have the highest-end finishing (which is reserved for the movements bearing the Poincon de Geneve or Qualite Fleurier), it is still decorated to a level that exceeds most of the competition at this price point.
Boasting a micro rotor and rocker mechanism for winding, the movement is just 3.3 mm thick but manages twin barrels that give it a 58-hour running time. The thinness of the movement allows the case to be just 7.2 mm high, making it both classically sized and easily wearable.
Key Facts and Price
Chopard L.U.C Skull One
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 7.2 mm
Material: DLC-coated steel
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: L.U.C 96.53-L
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 58 hours
Strap: Brown calfskin strap
Limited edition: 100 pieces
Availability: At Chopard retailers and boutiques
Price: US$9,780; or 13,500 Singapore dollars
For more information, visit Chopard.com.
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