There are plenty of watchmakers out there trying to muscle in on the automotive theme. Some through design, some through commercial partnerships like the one which Hublot recently signed with Formula One Management. But few can lay the claim as honestly as Chopard.
Not only does the centuries-old Swiss watchmaker – one of only a handful of manufactures that still make their movements in-house – sponsor the venerable Mille Miglia classics rally (and churn out an eminently desirable watch line as a result), but the company's owners actively participate in that and other racing events. What you see here is the latest fruit of their automotive enthusiasm: the L.U.C. Engine One Tourbillon.
Watch enthusiasts will recognize the Tourbillon as one of the most splendidly complicated complications ever devised for timekeeping. Essentially, the entire movement rotates inside the case once per minute, itself acting as the second hand and counteracting the mitigating forces of gravity. We've reported on automotive applications like the Jaeger-LeCoultre for Aston Martin, Girard-Perregaux for Pininfarina and Parmigiani Fleuerier for Bugatti. And the Engine One Tourbillon certainly ranks high among them.
Inspired, as you can plainly see, by a car's engine, the manual movement is rubber-mounted on three lever arms to keep it running smoothly and isolating it from shock and vibration. The face also features a 60-hour power reserve meter that looks like a fuel gauge. And to keep everything uncluttered, Chopard has etched the hour markers into the sapphire crystal instead of on the face. The whole thing is encased in titanium and fixed to a hand-sewn alligator strap with a titanium buckle. We like it, but we'll try not to like it too much, as only 150 examples will be built and sold at prices anticipated to exceed $100,000 apiece.