Platinum has grown on me due to its emotional value. To begin with, you never really forget you are wearing a platinum watch. Its weight makes it much more “old school” as a luxury merchandise when weight helped one measure the value of something. Thus, compared to a steel watch, you really know that something different is on your wrist when wearing platinum (and there’s value in being reminded of this). Paradoxically, these days watchmakers are equally as interested in making watches lighter in weight (perhaps more interested) than making hefty gold or platinum watches.Platinum is even more discreet than yellow gold, or the majority of other alloys of gold. This implies that while you as the wearer understand you have something precious, that reality is much less obvious for those viewing the watch on you. Therefore, people who are more interested in using a “personal” relationship with their luxury toys, and sporting them for private versus public pleasure, will appreciate platinum. Wearing it means you want to be able to manage it, but in addition, it means you are not yelling that reality to the world. Note that while the situation is gold, the crown is generated from 18k white gold. That is probably because platinum is a harder-to-machine substance, and the particulars in the crown probably make it easier to create in gold.
The Chopard L.U.C line of high-end mechanical timepieces is well stocked with dress watches and complications, but skimpy on sporty, functional types. That gap is now filled by the new L.U.C GMT One and Time Traveler One, a pair of COSC chronometer-certified travel watches starting at just under US$10,000.
A watch showing two time zones simultaneously, the L.U.C GMT One is a straightforward travel watch and the more affordable of the pair. The crown at two o’clock sets the date and local time (shown on the main hour and minute hands), while the crown at four o’clock advances the arrow-tipped GMT hand and 24-hour outer scale on the dial.
The GMT One is equipped with the Chopard L.U.C 01.10-L, an in-house automatic movement with a 60-hour power reserve. Finished in a clean, appealing manner, the movement has admirable detailing and is amongst the best in its price range. That’s an accomplishment common to many L.U.C watches, all of which are powered by top class, in-house movements.
While L.U.C movements are undeniably excellent, the watch designs err on the side of caution, tending to the conservative. The new travel watches are modern by L.U.C standards, with a vaguely sporty style, but still traditional in appearance.
Available in rose gold with a brown dial or steel with a black dial, the GMT One is 42mm in diameter and stands 11.71mm high. While modestly sized it is not a small watch, but the case looks and feels smaller than it is, likely due to the dial design.
Though difficult to discern at a distance the dial has several different surface finishes. While different in colour, both versions have metallic, sun ray brushed dials, with the brushed finish centred on the Chopard logo at 12 o’clock for a novel but subtle effect. The hour track has a concentric stamping while the outermost 24-hour scale is circular grained.
Equipped with a more elaborate version of the same movement, the L.U.C Time Traveler One goes a step further. In addition to twin time zones, the Time Traveler One also offers a world time function, simultaneously showing the time in all 24 of the world’s time zones.
Like on the GMT One, the local time is set via the crown at two, while the world time function is controlled by the crown at four o’clock.
The multiple time zones are read from the 24-hour scale and adjacent cities disc, with each city representing one time zone. This extra function is accompanied by a significantly more complex dial, though it swiftly becomes easily legible once the basic mechanics are grasped.
A arrow-shaped skeleton hand in the centre points to the date, which is shown on the innermost scale of the dial.
The L.U.C 01.05-L movement inside is similar to the calibre of GMT One, but slightly thicker to accommodate the world time mechanism. This means the Time Traveler One has the same 42mm diameter, but is imperceptibly thicker at 12.09mm high. And like the GMT One, the Time Traveler One feels smaller than it actually is.
Three versions of the Time Traveler One are available, starting with the top of the line in platinum. A surprisingly hefty (and very expensive) wristwatch, the platinum model is fitted with a metallic grey-blue dial.
The rose gold version is fitted with a conventional looking silver dial with red and blue accents, while the steel model is in black and orange.
Price and availability
The L.U.C travel watches are available from Chopard retailers and boutiques, with prices as follows, in US dollars and Singapore dollars:
L.U.C GMT One in stainless steel (ref. 168579-3001) – US$9500 or S$13,630
L.U.C GMT One in rose gold (ref. 161943-5001) – US$19,200 or S$27,540
L.U.C Time Traveler One in stainless steel (ref. 168574-3001) – US$12,800 or S$18,360
L.U.C Time Traveler One in rose gold (ref. 161942-5001) – US$22,500 or S$32,270
L.U.C Time Traveler One in platinum (ref. 161942-9001) – US$35,200 or S$50,480