Escapement Watch Review: The Chopard LUC Tourbillon QF Fairmined

Earlier in 2014, Chopard announced that, for the first time, the company had used ‘Fairmined’ gold to create the Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined. In this article from the online magazine Escapement, I review the cheap Omega replica watches, which also bears the symbol of the Fleurier Quality Foundation.

As a watch journalist, I often casually handle timepieces with six-figure price tags only to then pause in a moment of realization and dwell on the value of the item in my hands. For the majority of the world’s citizens, myself included, this strata of luxury is merely the subject of dreams. It is perhaps the elusive nature of a luxury which that makes individuals crave it more.

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I have discussed the ethics of luxury with friends and understand that some are troubled by the apparent excess of wealth possessed by a relative few. However, I have always believed that it is the demand for luxury goods that perpetuates the craftsmanship and skills I hold in great esteem. Indeed, with an absence of wealthy clients, the talents of exceptional watchmakers and artisans could disappear from view. Moreover, the luxury industry employs many thousands of people who derive income from the sale of these goods.

The world of luxury has become increasingly aware of its responsibilities to society as a whole. Several companies have implemented environmental strategies to mitigate their impact on the planet. In addition, the much-publicized sale of “conflict diamonds” has led to companies sourcing gems from ethical sources.

Earlier in 2014, Chopard announced that, for the first time, the company had used “Fairmined” gold to create the Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined. The gold is used for the case, bezel and caseback of the watch.

In some cases the working conditions of miners working in the gold industry has lacked due consideration of health and safety. Indeed, some of these miners have even been exposed to mercury in the pursuit of gold. Moreover, workers have not always received fair financial reward in exchange for their labor.

Chopard has entered a long-term partnership with a South American organization called the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM). Working with miners and experts from the gold industry, ARM has established a certification standard for the “Fairmined” gold, ensuring fair treatment for miners.

The Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined represents a new chapter in watchmaking, but the question on the lips of many watch enthusiasts is whether this replica Rolex watches sale offers more than a clear conscience.

The Dial

The sunray, satin-brushed ruthenium gold dial exudes a sumptuous character and wonderfully contrasts with the rose gold of the case.

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Chopard has employed many of the familiar design codes synonymous with its L.U.C collection, including dauphine fusée hour and minute hands, together with applied Roman numerals denoting the hours. A power-reserve indicator, positioned at noon, bears a resemblance to the display of the L.U.C Quattro.

Positioned at the base of the dial is the freely disclosed tourbillon carriage, visible through a circular aperture. A small seconds display, featuring a neat rose-gold hand, floats above the dial, interfacing with crisp white markings encircling the aperture.

The tourbillon bridge, anchored by four screws, consists of two parallel bars spanning the aperture. Rather than presenting the bridge in a highly polished finish, Chopard has exercised judicious restraint, matching the bridge to the surrounding dial canvas. The result is a sense of understated horological deportment which befits the overall styling of the timepiece.

A detail that I find particularly attractive is the minute track encircling the dial. With its readily visible white markings, it offers functionality by aiding the interpretation of time and provides delightful delineation between the main dial area and the case.

The Case

Measuring 43 mm in diameter, the watch nestled comfortably on my wrist. Indeed, a sad consequence of merely writing about watches is that you are aware that at some stage the watch has to be returned.

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The caseback is attached with eight silver-colored screws and includes a sapphire crystal center stage. The profile of the caseback is relatively flat and the lugs are gently curved.

The strap is constructed of black alligator leather on the outer surface, with a contrasting brown alligator lining. The Swiss replica watches online store affixes to the arm with the aid of a rose-gold pin buckle.

The Monochrome Team Reviews the Omega Speedmaster Lunar Dust

We at offical Monochrome Watches were all so excited with the idea of the re-edition of the Seamaster 300 that we actually didn’t expect a new version of the Speedmaster at Baselworld 2014. Last year, Omega went the extra mile: playing the vintage card with the Seamaster 300 and the Speedmaster Mark II and also being innovative with the introduction the first fully antimagnetic movement and the spreading of the co-axial escapement to all collections.

New materials are also in the current scope: after the introduction of a full-black ceramic Speedmaster last year, the Omega Dark Side of the Moon, this year Omega presented a gray version, again with a ceramic case, nicknamed the Lunar Dust.

Monochromatic watches have been one of the major trends in the watchmaking industry in recent years, especially with the use of black-DLC coated cases, with sometimes questionable results. Although we’re not the biggest fans of all-black watches, we have to admit that Omega’s use of the look on the Speedmaster was interesting. First of all, the color scheme works great on the Dark Side of the Moon, and the concept of a ceramic fake Rolex watches for men has been pushed to the extreme: the case, crown, pushers, caseback, buckle and even the dial are made of that same material. And the new interpretation, a “declination of grey,” is a nice alternative for those who want a brighter color.

Omega Speedmaster Lunar Dust

The Omega Speedmaster Lunar Dust shares its 44.25-mm case and technical specifications with the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. The case is made from a solid block of white ceramic that is treated with a plasma technology. We’re not talking about a surface coating here, but a deep treatment that tints the entire ceramic: if you cut the case in half, you’ll see that the gray tone goes all the way through. What that means is no risk of fading colors or of seeing traces of white after the case has been scratched (something that will probably never happen anyway, because ceramic is nearly scratch-proof). On the photo below, you can see the different steps of manufacturing.

The color obtained through the process is a metallic gray, darker than stainless steel or titanium, reminding us of the color of a moon stone. The difference between the entirely black “Dark Side of the Moon” and the new “Lunar Dust” is that the dial on the latter is made of a solid piece of platinum that is finely textured and is a bit iridescent. The bezel, crown, pushers, caseback and pin buckle on both models are made of ceramics. The hands and indices, with the classical Speedmaster Professional design, are black colored and filed with Super-LumiNova. Even the engraved tachymeter on the bezel is filled with Super-LumiNova.

Omega Speedmaster Lunar Dust

The Lunar Dust features Omega’s in-house Caliber 9300, a self-winding movement that is also used in the Moonwatch Chronograph and the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph that we reviewed for you here. It features:

  • an integrated chronograph function (meaning that all the levers and gears are not in a module on top of a base movement, but are fully integrated into the movement’s construction)
  • a silicon balance spring that is antimagnetic
  • the co-axial escapement that allows very good chronometric performance and the COSC chronometer certification
  • two mainspring barrels that deliver more than 60 hours of power reserve
  • a column wheel and a vertical clutch system to engage the chronograph

The movement, visible through the caseback with boxed sapphire crystal, is finished with elegant arabesque Geneva waves. Like the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic we reviewed a few weeks ago, it’s a two-register chronograph that indicates the elapsed minutes and hours on a single subdial. It’s not very easy to see in these photos, but there are two hands (one for the elapsed hours, one for the elapsed minutes) in the subdial at 3 o’clock.

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This movement has not yet benefited from the new antimagnetic technologies, like those used in eight new Master Co-Axial calibers, which are able to resist to magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss.

The Omega Speedmaster Lunar Dust comes with a matching gray alligator strap. The case is larger than the classical Breitling replica watches Professional, as it measures 44.25 mm in diameter vs. 42 mm for the older, more iconic version, but has the exact same design. On the wrist however, it wears smaller than expected, probably due to the short lugs. It also feels very light, obviously owing to the use of ceramics. The gray case, dial and strap create a very monochromatic — and very original — color scheme. The Lunar Dust makes a great alternative to the all-black Dark Side of the Moon; which do you prefer?

omega speedmaster dark side of the moon lunar dust - 9The Lunar Dust is priced at 10,500 Swiss francs (about $11,720, currently) before taxes, approximately 500 francs more than the black version.

Women’s timepieces prevail at Watches&Wonders

Women were at the heart of the 2014 edition of the Haute Horlogerie exhibition in Asia. And what better way to appeal to their sense of beauty than to combine the métiers d’art with mechanical art. An alliance that might almost have overshadowed the collections for men.

Is Watches&Wonders guilty of sexism? Were men not welcome at this second edition of the fair? Was this a ladies-only event? A slight exaggeration perhaps, but only to be expected: wherever visitors turned, displays were overflowing with timepieces for women’s wrists. Had brands come to some prior agreement, or was this symptomatic of a space waiting to be filled? A space, but no longer a gaping hole as the mechanical 2015 Newest Omega Replica Watches continues to score points among female admirers of fine timepieces. Or perhaps we can put it down to efforts made by watch brands these past few years in their sudden awareness that there is a substantial “new” audience out there.

Mechanical magic

Whatever the reason, the results are plain to see. Roger Dubuis‘ Velvet line, introduced in 2013, already accounts for 30% of sales, and this without any real promotional campaign to back the launch. These timepieces are now hot property, says Alvaro Maggini, Creative Director of the brand. So much so, in fact, that Roger Dubuis has decided to give the line its full attention, with new designs and a new campaign fronted by Stephanie Seymour. The fact remains that Roger Dubuis has to work harder in Asia than in Europe to win women’s hearts. Granted, the fairer sex in China or Korea have learned to appreciate the ticking of a mechanical watch, but still less so than their German or Italian counterparts. That said, Roger Dubuis has permanently banished quartz from its timepieces, all of which are Poinçon de Genève certified.

Jaeger-LeCoultre‘s experience is no less telling. Barely three years after launching Rendez-Vous, this eminently feminine collection has cornered 40% of sales in quantity. Not that the brand has spared any effort. Having already equipped its Rendez-Vous with a tourbillon, followed by a Perpetual Calendar and a moving star chart, Jaeger-LeCoultre came to Hong Kong with a Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater, driven by the new 942A calibre. “When we introduced the first Rendez-Vous, we proposed the steel models in two versions, one with a quartz movement and the other mechanical,” explained Chief Executive Daniel Riedo. “However, we quickly realised that our women customers were buying the quartz models because the mechanical versions had sold out. We therefore ceased production of the electronic version. In a way, this confirmed our choices for this collection.”

Destination métiers d’art

As for the choice of when and where to preview their workshops’ latest creations for women, numerous brands opted for the Hong Kong fair. Baume & Mercier took the opportunity to show off Promesse, a collection that takes inspiration from the brand’s archives and a design first seen in the 1970s. Montblanc, meanwhile, put on a sparkling display with an original collection by the name of Bohème, spearhead of the brand in Hong Kong much as the Meisterstück Heritage had been in Geneva, but in a masculine vein. All that remained was for IWC to warm the atmosphere with a hint of la dolce vita, as the watchmaker returned to its favourite Italian resort for the launch of the Portofino Midsize, its gift to women who aren’t immune to a hint of Latin charm on their wrist.

This horological red carpet laid out before the ladies visiting the fair could only lead to one place: the workshops where the brands’ craftsmen and women explore the métiers d’art in which these Maisons excel. Piaget gave one of the most convincing demonstrations. A consummate master of extra-thin timepieces whose achievements include a double record for the thinnest watch in the world (Altiplano 900P – 3.65 mm) and the thinnest self-winding calibre ever (1208P – 2.35 mm), the brand has added a new string to its bow in the form of skeletonwork. The two together have opened up a whole new playground for Piaget, which naturally didn’t come to Watches&Wonders empty-handed. It presented two new versions of the Altiplano Skeleton Automatic, driven by the 1200S calibre which set its own record in 2012. On one, both sides of the movement are engraved; on the other, bridges and plate are enamelled. An achievement made all the more impressive by the wafer-thinness of the parts, some a mere 0.7mm high.

Diamonds and dragons

Similarly dizzying heights were achieved at Cartier, where the five one-off Les Heures Joaillières  Fake Rolex Watches, along with the Pasha 42mm Skeleton Dragon Decor and its diamond-set, engraved 9617 MC calibre, left no doubt as to the brand’s brilliant mastery of the métiers d’art. Chinese mythology represents the dragon as a force of nature, and this creature of legend certainly wasn’t going to miss an event of this calibre on Asian soil. Richard Mille proposed a meticulously crafted dragon in the form of its Tourbillon RM 57-01 Phoenix and Dragon – Jackie Chan. Its movement is inhabited by the two legendary creatures, carved from rose gold then engraved and incised by hand. In the brand’s own words, “miniature tools had to be made specifically to achieve the desired artistic rendering of the two creatures. There then followed a long and painstaking process of micro-painting to ensure absolute realism, even on parts that will not be visible.” More dragons were on view at Vacheron Constantin. Its extraordinary Empreinte du Dragon houses astronomical complications inside a case whose surface is completely covered in “dragon scales”. They are the work of one of the most experienced master hand-engravers of his generation.

Having contemplated this masterpiece, visitors could then marvel at the other major production which Vacheron Constantin took to Hong Kong: the Maître Cabinotier Astronomica. This pièce de résistance brings together a full fifteen complications inside the new, hand-wound 2755-B1 calibre. Among the other rarities on show at Watches&Wonders were Van Cleef & Arpels’ Midnight Planetarium, a wrist-sized replica of the solar system, unveiled to the public earlier in the year, and two Watches&Wonders exclusivities, namely the Roger Dubuis Hommage Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic and the Montblanc Metamorphosis II, whose face transforms from a simple hours, minutes and date configuration to a monopusher chronograph by means of a mechanism that substitutes one dial for another. As for A. Lange & Söhne, it turned the spotlight on the Langematik Perpetual, the Glashütte firm’s first ever automatic Top Omega Replica  Watches with perpetual calendar and oversized date, presented in white gold with a black dial. Watches&Wonders couldn’t have hoped for more for its second edition. Nor could the 16,000 visitors, women and men!