When last summer I visited the Classic Remise in Düsseldorf, the sight of the classic asphalt rollers simply blew my mind – for all the good reasons you must visit this particular city and whenever you’re there this programme is a must! The cars that I used to play with on cards with fellow primary school friends came alive in the hall! This excitement is even further heightened when these beauties race at the Mille Miglia along the winding Italian roads.
The contest starts in Brescia and via Padova, San Marino, Roma and Bologna it curves back to where it kicked off. It is not a speed race – precision and endurance is the measure of success. The Mille Miglia has Time Controls under which drivers must complete a section, Passage Controls that ensure they do not use shortcuts and, which is unlikely in other automotive competitions, so called Regularity Stages, each being a section of the route that must be completed at a strict target pace. For example a 3 km stage at 3 minutes and 36 seconds – every hundredth of a second over the target triggers a penalty just as every hundredth of a second below the target! Of course, every car and driver completing the 1000 miles are winners.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Chopard is at the start of the race every year, sometimes with a Ferrari, other times with a Porsche, but always wearing the company’s Mille Miglia edition of the year. Chopard has been partnering with the veteran car race since 1988 and just as previously a new timepiece was created for the occasion.
This year’s timepiece is not in the same bloodline with the one presented in 2013. While that had a more technical look with the black-red combination and the Dunlop strap, the 2014 edition is rather more classical. The tip of the hands race on their Italian race-track made of red and green concentric circles passing the marks of numerals with the typology of the ‘20s. The brown leather strap is inspired by the bonnet straps of the veteran cars. To make sure you can match the target times at the Regularity Stages with absolute precision, a chronometer movement certified by COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) is at your service.
Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Chopard has also been partnering with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, the bi-annual vintage car race of the prestigious Monaco F1 circuit since 2002. In the framework of this cooperation the brand released a completely new collection at Baselworld consisting of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Power Control and the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono models. The aggressive combination of yellow-black colours and the strap with the three holes each side immediately pump up the adrenalin. However, the triumph of the designers could not be complete without the less useful (being an automatic watch) but terrific looking power indicator on the Power Control inspired by petrol gauges.
Every year Chopard introduces new pieces in the L.U.C collection that bears the initials of Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the founder of the Maison. In 2014 six new models were born sharing the collection’s DNA.
L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined and L.U.C Qualité Fleurier
L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined is the first haute horlogerie product that was made of fair-mined gold.
Launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 by Chopard, the Journey to Sustainable Luxury is an important step towards a more environmentally and socially conscious luxury industry. Under the aegis of the multi-year programme, the House in partnership ARM (Alliance for Responsible Mining) is committing itself to sourcing raw gold directly from mining communities. Creations made of such gold entirely are marked as “Fairmined”.
The 43mm rose-gold timepiece has a grey sunburst dial with its centre set in the middle of the power reserve indicator located at 12 o’clock. The 25 limited edition timepieces are certified by the Fleurier Quality Foundation just as the L.U.C Qualité Fleurier model.
“The goals of the Fleurier Quality Foundation are thus to establish criteria for technical and aesthetic watch construction; to issue an attestation of quality in the form of a written certificate and a logo placed on the timepiece; and to contribute, as far as its means permit, to training in the field of haute horlogerie.
The procedure for obtaining this certification, conducted in an objective manner by the Technical Committee, which is independent of the participating brands, is subject to precise conditions:
- Manufactured 100% in Switzerland
- The movement must be COSC-certified
- The movement must have passed the CHRONOFIABLE test
- The movement must attain an exclusive aesthetic quality of finish
- The rating of the finished watch must be vouched for by the FLEURITEST machine”
(source: Fleurier Quality)
L.U.C Lunar Big Date
Having spent a considerable amount of time in the Middle East I learnt how important it is to read the Moon. The L.U.C Lunar Big Date is a reliable instrument to measure the lunar cycle up to the precision of 1 lunar day difference per 122 years. The timepiece first revealed in 2009 now received the characteristic design of L.U.C.
L.U.C 1963 commemorates the last 50 years of Chopard’s history written by the pen of the Scheufele family. The clear aesthetics with the Roman numerals and the railway circling around are marks of those sophisticated times when Karl Scheufele took over the company.
L.U.C 8HF Power Control
The macho-looking L.U.C 8HF Power Control is a high frequency (8 Hz) COSC certified chronometer with a black technical outfit. The case, housing the L.U.C 01.09-L HF movement, is made of ceramic. I particularly like asymmetry, which is the layout theme of the dial: the power reserve indicator as well as the seconds sub-dial pushes out the inner circle of the dial, while one half of the date aperture is hidden behind the seconds gauge.
Haute Joaillerie pieces
Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie
Staying with watches, Chopard presented four high jewellery timepieces at Baselworld. The Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie is a diamond paved version of the Happy Sport series with gemstones of various size, cut and setting all over. The case, lugs, the crown, the tourbillon bridge and bezel are all set with diamonds. The snow setting of the dial makes the blued hand appear even stronger. The large 42mm case actually hides an L.U.C movement, the L.U.C 02.16-L featuring a tourbillon.
Animal World collection
The Animal World collection that Chopard launched at their 150th anniversary in 2010 received two new species, a chimpanzee and a snail, both are timepieces. The little animals are covered with precious stones, such as emeralds, tsavorites, reddish orange sapphires, and brown and cognac-coloured diamonds.
Green Carpet collection
The Green Carpet collection established last year within the framework of The Journey to Sustainable Luxury programme, has welcomed the first wrist watch in the family. Accompanying the timepiece a new ring and two pairs of earrings complete the line of jewels this year. The gold for the pieces in the Green Carpet collection are “Fairmined” certified, while all diamonds come from the IGC Group, a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.
Red Carpet collection
Cannes will be occupied again by the artists, producers and enthusiasts of cinematics between 14-25 May. The highly anticipated 67th Festival de Cannes will again be associated with Chopard as the official partner of the event. Two of the 67 new pieces of the Red Carpet collection have also been shown at Baselworld. Emeralds and diamond briolettes adorn the first, while amethysts complement the diamonds on the second.
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