Chopard Introduces the L.U.C Perpetual Twin CronotempVs Edition

A striking execution of an excellent watch.

Unveiled five years ago, the L.U.C Perpetual Twin is Chopard’s most affordable perpetual calendar, but finely executed as is typical of L.U.C, the brand’s line of mechanical watches powered by top-class in-house movements.

Featuring details absent in similarly-priced peers, such a micro-rotor movement and oversized date, the Perpetual Twin has since been iterated into several versions, but the winner is now clear: the L.U.C Perpetual Twin CronotempVs Edition, a collaboration between the watchmaker and eponymous collectors club based in Spain.

The CronotempVs edition has a striking palette: dial with an uncommon, grained-gold finish with black sub-dials and indices, giving it a strong, high-contrast look that suits the largish steel case.

Initial thoughts

Chopard’s prowess in watchmaking is indisputable – its top-of-the-line creations rival even the work put out by best independent watchmakers – but the brand is often overlooked, especially since prevailing fads mean most turn to bigger names or “safer” choices. And it doesn’t help that Chopard generates most of its revenue from cheerful ladies’ watches and jewellery.

The L.U.C line stands out for its movements with sophisticated construction and finishing, even for the simplest, entry-level models – demonstrated by the double-chronometer wristwatch unveiled earlier this year. But it still receives a lukewarm reception from the broader market. That’s in part due to the designs, which are often satisfactory but not impressive. The CronotempVs edition manages to be different, in a great way.

The collaboration results in refreshing look that’s eye catching; the rich, golden dial contrasts with the bold hour markers and sub-dials. It’s instantly differentiated from earlier versions of the same watch.

My only gripe is a personal one – the 43 mm case is big. Though it might be the ideal for larger wrists, the size still leaves the movement looking small in comparison. That’s evident from the back, but also the dial with the “floating” small seconds at six o’clock.

At €27,200 including the approximate 20% local tax, the CronotempVs edition costs around 10% more than the production version, making it an easily worthwhile upgrade (and for those living outside the EU it would cost practically the same). Unfortunately, it’s only available to the club members, who have spoken for all available watches.

The 22k gold micro-rotor of the cal. L.96.22-L

CronotempVs Club

Founded in 2009, CronotempVs is a watch club that’s based in Madrid, though its members hail from around the world. In an age where social media has made everything open to one and all, CronotempVs is notable as membership requires a sponsor.

Would-be joiners have to be proposed by a known individual, either a current member, watchmaker, or watch-brand executive. Club founder Dario Fernandez de Villavicencio states that passion for the hobby is the criteria for evaluating prospective members, rather than background or purchasing power.

The club has collaborated with several brands on special editions, ranging from bigger brands like IWC and Montblanc to independent watchmakers like Habringand D. Dornblüth & Sohn. In fact, the new Perpetual Twin is the club’s second outing with Chopard, with the first being the L.U.C Tech Twist launched a decade ago.

The silver hour marker at five o’clock is a nod to the club’s notation of complication, of which calendar is donated as type five

While its colours and finish are unique, the CronotempVs edition retains the attractive details of the standard Perpetual Twin. One is the layered dial in different textures, from the concentric guilloche on the railway minute track that contrasts with the granular centre, as well as a bevelled cut-out for the big date.

The movement is equally attractive, most notably in the form of the bridges, which have flowing, organic outlines – a trait not often found in contemporary movements.

That said, being an entry-level L.U.C movement, the finishing is slightly simpler than that found on the highest-end L.U.C calibres. The bridges, for instance, have stamped anglage, as opposed to bevelling polished by hand. But the parts are still carefully attended to, resulting in an attractive, neat appearance. Importantly, the overall finish is still better than most watches in the price range.

Though hidden, the perpetual calendar mechanism on the dial side is sophisticated and carefully finished

Key Facts and Price

Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Twin CronotempVs Edition
Ref. 168561-30043

Diameter: 43 mm
Height:  11.47 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L.U.C 96.22-L
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and perpetual calendar
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: Black alligator strap

Limited edition: Yes, over 20 pieces  
: Sold out
Price: €27,200 (including 21% VAT)

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Audemars Piguet Introduces Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked “Rainbow”

Now in 41 mm (and also 37 mm).

Undoubtedly the most technically interesting movement in a time-only Royal Oak, the skeletonised cal. 3132 with twin balance wheels made its debut in a discreet package in 2016. It got fancier attire more recently with a gem-set “rainbow” bezel and hammered case finish, but only with the smaller, 37 mm case.

Now “rainbow” meets mechanics in the 41 mm case for the first time – in all three colours of gold no less. Extravagant but surprisingly not that exorbitant in price, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked 41 mm combines the largest-sized case with a multicoloured bezel, and most importantly, the twin-oscillator movement.

Initial thoughts

A unique combination of bling and technical credentials is precisely the appeal of the new Double Balance. Currently fashionable and maybe too common, the multi-coloured gemstone bezel is over the top but it is cool. The movement, on the other hand, is smart.

The calibre relies on twin balance wheels, each with its own hairspring, to average out positional errors and improve stability, making for better timekeeping over the long run.

This mix of sparkly excess and mechanical achievement is rare, which sets the watch apart from its peers. So if you’re someone who likes “rainbow” watches, this is one of the few that has strong technical merit.

And it’s priced at about US$120,000, which is definitely a square deal for such a watch. The only downside is the pronounced lack of availability, which means a massive premium-to-retail on the secondary market.

Assuming you can land one, the white or yellow gold versions are the most appealing. Both colours go well with the rainbow bezel – the white has greater contrast – while the pink gold model is overly pink.

From left: The 41 mm version in yellow, white, and pink gold

Frosting and rainbows

The octagonal bezel is set with 32 baguette-cut gemstones of 12 different variations, including ruby, emerald, and sapphires in a range of colours.

The bright colours and finish of the bezel contrast against the granular, “diamond dust” case finish. It was inspired by a traditional hammered technique used by the city’s craftsmen, where a diamond-tipped graver removes tiny amounts of gold to create minuscule pivots on the case surface.

Developed together with a Florentine jeweller and debuted in 2016 on a ladies’ Royal Oak, the “Frosted” finish is now employed across the Royal Oak line, but mostly for ladies’ watches, making this 41 mm uncommon (though it’s couched as a unisex watch).

The calibre within is the cal. 3132, which is based on the workhorse cal. 3120. Its key feature is the double balance wheel secured by a full bridge visible at eight o’clock on the dial.

Both the balance bridge and wheels are plated to match the case colour, while the rest of the movement has been skeletonised in a geometric fashion and finished in the clean, precise style typical of AP.

Installing the double balances into the cal. 3132

The cal. 3132

Movement livery

The cal. 3132 in the 41 mm model is coated in NAC, giving it a dark grey finish that contrasts with the case and bezel. On the other hand, the movement in the 37 mm versions is plated in the same colour of gold as the case.

The tone-on-tone movement leaves the technical aesthetics less apparent, and instead makes the rainbow bezel the key visual element – an outcome that makes sense given that the smaller model will likely be a jewellery watch for ladies.

The two new 37 mm additions in pink and yellow gold join the white gold model that has already been in the catalogue for several years.

The 37 mm model in pink gold (left), and yellow gold

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked 41 mm
Ref. 15412OR.YG.1224OR.01-A (pink gold)
Ref. 15412BA.YG.1224BA.01-A (yellow gold)
Ref. 15412BC.YG.1224BC.03-A (white gold)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10 mm
Material: 18k pink, yellow or white gold with hammered finish
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 3132

Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Matching 18k gold bracelet

Availability: Starting October 2021 at boutiques only
Price: 118,500 Swiss francs before taxes

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked 37 mm
Ref. 15468OR.YG.1259OR.01-A (pink gold)
Ref. 15468BA.YG.1259BA.01-A (yellow gold)

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 10 mm
Material: 18k pink or yellow gold with hammered finish
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 3132
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Matching 18k gold bracelet

Availability: Starting October 2021 at boutiques only
Price: Unavailable

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