The relationship between fine cars and fine watches has manifested itself as a curious borrowing of traits, where both items have equally borrowed from one another. Cars perhaps have taken the polished good looks and legibility of watch dials, while watches have borrowed “performance feel” from automobiles in terms of design and character. At the same time, each want to borrow personality traits from one another, resulting in cars and watches that feel to the consumers as they have been looking over each other’s shoulders for decades on the design bench.
Wrist watch movements are quite possibly the original high performance machine. Compared to automobile engines, watch movements are much more efficient and reliable. Even mechanical watches that keep moderate accuracy to within about 10 to 20 seconds a day still operate at well over 99.99 percent accuracy. Plus, they can do that operating 24 hours a day for years. Can you think of a single automobile engine that can boast that? I think not. Still, automobiles have the benefit of being emotionally enhancing vehicles,that can provide the thrill of speed, something wrist watches cannot offer. As a testament to going fast, Chopard created the limited edition L.U.C Engine One Tourbillon watch, designed to look much like a performance engine block.
Its case design is very clever. Exterior dimensions make it a rectangle at 35.4-mm wide by 44-mm high, though bulging ends give the dial a much more round appearance — a style quite similar to the classic case made famous by Daniel Roth. Here in all titanium, the watch has polished surfaces on the top and bottom, with satin finished middle sections. It is an amazingly light case, which a presence that mere pictures simply cannot convey properly. The case is matched to a custom, tapered hand-sewn black alligator strap.
The movement doubles as the dial, and has two textured vertical strips appearing like the top of an engine in a luxury car as seen if ones pops open the hood. The L.U.C 1TRM movement is manually wound, and in-house made and designed by Chopard. It has 60 hours of power reserve, complete with a power reserve indicator meant to look like fuel gauge. It is also among a rare breed of COSC Chronometer certified tourbillon movements — making it more than simply appear like a high performance machine. Chopard further design the movement engine to sit on special shock absorbing blocks.
Being included in the L.U.C family of watches, the Engine One Tourbillon has the signature L.U.C style hands (which are beautifully legible). The tourbillon doubles as a seconds indicator with a built-in hand for this purpose. Hour indicators are placed on the bottom of the sapphire crystal, in-line with the style of other Chopard motor sports and automobile themed timepieces. Wearing the watch gives the owner a distinctly proud feeling, as though it communicates their love of sports cars and watches at the same time. Though, the Engine One Tourbillon is a more playful timepiece in comparison to many other L.U.C timepieces that are more ‘classic’ in demeanor.
With an offering of only 150 pieces, the watch further serves as (another) reminder of Chopard’s 150th anniversary. The limited edition set has a high-luxury price that will clearly appeal to well-off gear heads. Those who enjoy multiple cars may opt for this Chopard in lieu of another automobile — given the price — as their next purchase. But if they wait too long, there won’t be any left. Priced at $74,400. www.chopard.com
1. All titanium case with double sapphire crystals.
2. 60 hour power reserve indictor for movement.
3. Tourbillon escapement window.
4. Dial designed to look like top of automobile engine block.
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.