— In the mid-1990s, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, decided to develop the company’s first in-house movement. In 1996 the Chopard Manufacture, which today designs and develops the company’s L.U.C movements, was duly set up in Fleurier.
The history of Chopard Manufacture began two decades ago, at the initiative of Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Scheufele’s mission was to revive the watchmaking heritage of the company’s founder, Louis Ulysse Chopard, and restore the company’s watchmaking legitimacy. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele decided that the manufacture should be based in Fleurier, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking. Over a three-year period, a handful of watchmakers worked assiduously to produce the first in-house calibre. They achieved their goal in autumn 1996, when the L.U.C 96.01-L calibre, an automatic bi-directional movement with a 22K gold micro-rotor providing a 65-hour power reserve, was unveiled. COSC-certified and Geneva hallmarked, this calibre was the engine that drove the first L.U.C watches replica: the L.U.C 1860. Over the subsequent 20 years Chopard Manufacture was to develop no fewer than 11 base movements, with 87 variations.
From the early days of the manufacture Chopard chose to take the certification route, and today it can boast quadruple certification. The first quality assurance Karl-Friedrich Scheufele secured was the Swiss Chronometer Certification. At the time, Chopard was the only independent manufacture to subject its timepieces to this rigorous test. Because the COSC only certifies the chronometric precision of a movement, the house then turned to the Geneva Hallmark, which guarantees an exceptional finish and impeccable workmanship. In 2004 the company founded the Qualité Fleurier label. The extremely demanding Fleuritest incorporates COSC certification, but it adds a further four tests. Ten years later, Chopard launched its first gold timepiece with Fairmined assurance, which guarantees that the gold used in the watches has been ethically extracted and processed. Eventually, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele hopes to produce the entire L.U.C collection using ethically sourced gold.
Four pieces dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Chopard Manufacture were presented at Baselworld 2016. There are three watches for men: the elegant L.U.C XPS 1860 ultra slim, a tribute to the very first L.U.C produced by the company, equipped with the famous L.U.C 96.01-L movement; the more modern L.U.C Perpetual Twin, whose steel case encloses a perpetual calendar chronometer; and the original L.U.C Perpetual Chrono, which combines a chronograph and perpetual calendar in a Fairmined white gold case. For women, there is the delicate L.U.C XP 35 mm Esprit de Fleurier Peony, a métiers d’art watch decorated with floral engravings.
Rumour has it that more surprises await over the coming year…