Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Día De Los Muertos: A Watch To Die For
by Martin Green
Whimsical watches with a serious theme are among the most difficult to design. The designer must strike just the right note to get the desired effect, especially if the watch is for a high-end brand with a reputation on the line.
While Chopard can get very creative, particularly with its métiers d’art pieces, the brand usually stays away from whimsical. The closest in recent years was the Happy Fish launched in 2018, which lights up in the dark thanks to copious Super-LumiNova.
Now comes another exception to Chopard’s paucity of whimsical pieces: the L.U.C Full Strike Día De Los Muertos, dedicated to the Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead – as it is celebrated in Mexico. Listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the Día de los Muertos holiday is also becoming more and more popular in the rest of the world, where it’s often associated with the Catholic All Souls’ Day (and therefore Halloween).
What sounds kind of morbid is in fact a day to remember the departed and celebrate life itself. And as to be expected there is a lot of symbolism associated with this day, which we also see in this Chopard masterpiece.
Día de los Muertos: a complicated altar
On Día de los Muertos, Mexican families visit the graves of their deceased loved ones and create altars for them. We can see this Chopard also as an altar of some kind, a constant reminder that time is passing and death is imminent.
It‘s worth noting that in the past, Chopard always challenged itself when it came to Día de los Muertos timepieces, for example in 2019 launching the L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of la Santa Muerte.
Housed in a lavishly engraved case, Chopard incorporated the perpetual calendar functions in a most ingenious way into the design. Now the brand is doing precisely the same by using one of its most complex and celebrated models as a base: the L.U.C Full Strike.
Launched in 2016, the Full Strike stood out by featuring gongs made of sapphire crystal providing a vibrant, clear sound unlike other minute repeaters of the time.
The Full Strike also comes with clever features like a disengagement system preventing the strike work from being activated again when it is already running to avoid any damage.
This repeater also has a mainspring barrel of its own so that it powers the complicated functionality without interfering with the regulator’s amplitude, and therefore the precision of the timekeeping. No wonder that in 2017 the Full Strike was crowned with the highest honor a wristwatch can hope to obtain by winning the Aiguille d’Or at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
A formidable watch, it comes with quite a few challenges for the designers as a lot of the mechanisms that makes this watch so unique are very visible from the front.
Details never mattered more
I don’t know how much sleep was lost, but the way Chopard blended the symbolism of Día de los Muertos into the L.U.C Full Strike is remarkable. Like the previous editions dedicated to this holiday, the dial is dominated by a charismatic skull created in blue lacquer using the champlevé technique.
The L.U.C Full Strike Día de los Muertos gets even more character from its teeth made of mother-of-pearl, some of which are set with brilliant-cut diamonds. The challenge with the L.U.C Full Strike is in showing the hammers as well as incorporating the two power reserve indicators, one for the movement and the other for the strike train into the design. By allowing these to take over the role of eyes, form and function become one.
It also gives the skull a vibe reminiscent of the Borg from Star Trek, humanoid lifeforms enhanced by mechanical parts. Fortunately, here it has an almost happy vibe to it.
While creating a watch like the L.U.C Full Strike Día de los Muertos is walking a thin line, this watch also perfectly demonstrates how whimsical haute horlogerie can become. It is the eye for detail and the execution of those details that make the difference.
Here we see the eye for detail both in the way that Chopard created the skull and also in the rest of the watch. The bezel of the 42.5 mm case crafted in ethical white gold is set with baguette-cut sapphires in an invisible setting to continue the blue theme. The sides of the case feature stunning engravings along the theme of Día de los Muertos, making it more a work of art than a wristwatch.
This probably also explains why Chopard is only making a single piece of this stunning watch. While Día de los Muertos was never part of my European, non-Catholic upbringing, I find this L.U.C Full Strike very captivating. It shows that when you are serious about not being too serious, marvelous things can happen.
I hope that Chopard considers using this approach on other themes as I suspect that the designers would excel in those as well.
For more information, please visit www.chopard.com/intl/l-u-c-full-strike.
Quick Facts Chopard L.U.C Full Strike
Case: 42.5 x 11.55 mm, 18-karat ethical white gold, bezel set with baguette-cut blue sapphires, engraved with Día de los Muertos motif
Movement: manual winding Caliber 08.01-L with 60-hour power reserve and sapphire crystal gongs; officially certified C.O.S.C. chronometer; Geneva Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; minute repeater, power reserve, minute repeater power reserve
Limitation: unique piece