Introducing the Chopard L.U.C QF — The Rake & Revolution Edition
Our third collaboration with Chopard L.U.C takes the QF Jubilee’s appeal up a notch with a luminous sector track and Arabic numerals.
The new 25-piece L.U.C QF Jubilee — The Rake & Revolution Edition steel watch, with a luminous “scientific” or sector dial, represents The Rake & Revolution's third collaboration with one of the greatest horological manufactures on the planet. That is, of course, Chopard L.U.C and the individual behind it is my friend, co-president of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, a man I have immense respect for. That’s because from the very first movement he created, the extraordinary caliber 1.96, the world’s first bidirectional winding micro-rotor movement as well as the first to beat at 4Hz, all the way to his GPHG Aiguille d’Or winning Full Strike, the world’s first minute repeater featuring sapphire crystal gongs, Scheufele has constantly brought a new level of authentic horological performance to each and every watch he’s made. And he’s achieved all this with the understated elegance that makes him, to me, the consummate gentleman. Our maiden collaboration was a homage to the Chopard L.U.C 1860, the very first wristwatch he created, a 36.5mm by 7.2mm beauty featuring a massive gold guilloché main dial which has been become the object of cult collectibility, especially in the salmon dial white gold configuration that we relaunched in a 10-piece limited edition in 2018. Our next partnership was to me the stuff of dreams. Using the same 1860 case and increasing its thickness by a mere 1mm to 8.2mm, we were able to place L.U.C’s amazing micro-rotor driven, COSC-certified, Geneva Seal flying tourbillon with stop seconds function into the watch. The absolute dazzling technical powerhouse of 2021’s Chopard L.U.C Flying T Special was made in five examples and, to this day, represents the single loftiest achievement in our collaborative editions. I now have the pleasure of unveiling our third partnership, a 39mm steel Qualité Fleurier luminous scientific dial timepiece that I absolutely love. What is Qualité Fleurier, you ask? It is only the most challenging series of tests for quality and accuracy ever created by the Swiss watch industry, which means our new limited edition has been put through the most grueling paces as an assurance of performance before it lands on your wrist.
I recall being fascinated by a machine during a launch event for Qualité Fleurier (QF). At the time, QF certification represented the most challenging and complete battery of tests to certify the quality, shock resistance and accuracy of Swiss wristwatches. It was also the first and, back then, the only process that tested complete watches and not just movements. The machine in question was a robotic arm created specifically for the QF, and it would become a device notorious for torturing a multitude of horological finery. I would learn that this cybernetic appendage struck terror into all that had crossed its path. As I observed it twisting one way, then jerking itself in the opposite direction so violently that it threatened to break the space time continuum, I noticed a calm Karl-Friedrich Scheufele beside me. He smiled and remarked, “Impressive, isn’t it?” Clearly, he was the only one with absolute confidence in the reliability of the L.U.C calibers, which were experiencing the equivalent g-force of a Mercury astronaut shot into space. Chopard and Qualité Fleurier Qualité Fleurier was originally created in 2004 (check first watch was launched) by Chopard L.U.C, Parmigiani Fleurier and Bovet with the goal of elevating the objective testing of finished luxury Swiss watches to the highest level imaginable. The first Chopard L.U.C watch to receive QF certification was the Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier model in 2005. Even by today’s standards, with the adoption of METAS certification by several of the industry’s best brands, the criteria for Qualité Fleurier is arguably still the most challenging in the world. Here’s why: First, the watch head (the bracelet and clasp are excluded) has to be 100-percent manufactured in Switzerland. Also, all the final stages of assembly after the final transformation of materials has to take place in Switzerland. That means every aspect of the decoration, assembly, regulation and final control process needs to be carried out within Swiss borders. Second, every watch must have already received COSC certification. This means that movements are each tested to be within tolerances of -4/+6 seconds a day by the famous Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. Movements are tested in five positions and at 8, 23 and 38 degrees Celsius, and they need to run for 15 days where they are re-tested daily. It is of note that from the very first Chopard L.U.C movement, each and every caliber (except one without a seconds hand, making it impossible to test) has been the recipient of COSC certification, demonstrating Scheufele’s absolute commitment to the objective demonstration of their accuracy.
After this, watches are then subjected to the infamous Chronofiable test, which features the aforementioned robotic arm. This features multiple procedures to simulate aging cycles to the watches, from pushing and pulling the stem and pushers, to turning the bezel. All this before watches are subjected to the magnetic field tests, water resistance tests and the dreaded mouton pendule shock resistance test where a giant hammer is sent slamming into the side of the watch, sending it flying. Then the watches are inspected to ensure they meet the finishing criteria — no parts made of plastic are allowed, and only traditional, precious or avant-garde materials (e.g. silicon) are permitted. Finally, the Fleuritest machine simulates wear in all possible positions over the course of 24 hours. Cut to 17 years later, and the project has long since been abandoned by Parmigiani Fleurier and Bovet. Which is not to cast any negative connotation on them, because what is clear is that this borderline insane level of testing also comes at a very high price. But Scheufele is very open to continuing the initiative. He explains, “To me, it is important that Qualité Fleurier continues because it still remains the highest level of objective testing in Swiss watchmaking.” Since 2005, a total of 10 Qualité Fleurier models have been released by Chopard L.U.C. These are (in chronological order):
- L.U.C Qualité Fleurier (2005)
- L.U.C Qualité Fleurier (2006)
- L.U.C Tech Qualité Fleurier (2009)
- L.U.C Tourbillon Triple Certification (2011)
- L.U.C Qualité Fleurier (2012)
- L.U.C Quattro Tourbillon QF Fairmined (2014)
- L.U.C Qualité Fleurier (2014)
- L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined (2017)
- L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined (2019)
- L.U.C QF Jubilee (2021)