The relationship between fine cars and fine watches has manifested itself as a curious borrowing of traits, where both items have equally borrowed from one another. Cars have taken the polished good looks and legibility of watch dials, while watches have borrowed “performance feel” from automobiles in terms of design and character. As a result, cars and watches seem like they have been looking over each other’s shoulders for decades on the design bench.
Wristwatch movements are quite possibly the original high performance machines. Compared to automobile engines, watches are much more efficient and reliable. Even mechanical watches that keep moderate accuracy to within 10 to 20 seconds a day still operate at about 99.99 percent accuracy for 24 hours a day for years. Can you think of a single automobile engine that can boast that? I think not. Still, automobiles have the benefit of being emotionally enhancing and can provide the thrill of speed, something wristwatches cannot offer. As a testament to speed, Chopard created the limited edition L.U.C Engine One Tourbillon watch, designed to look much like a performance engine block.
The Tourbillon’s case design is very clever. Its exterior dimensions are 35.4-mm wide by 44-mm high, though bulging ends give the dial a much more round appearance—a style quite similar to the classic case made famous by Daniel Roth. Here in all titanium, the watch has polished surfaces with satin-finished midsections. It is an amazingly light case that pictures cannot convey properly. The case is matched to a custom, tapered handsewn black alligator strap.
The movement doubles as the dial, and has two textured vertical strips like the top of a luxury car engine if one pops open the hood. The L.U.C 1TRM movement is manually wound, and is made and designed in-house by Chopard. The watch has 60 hours of power reserve, complete with a power reserve indicator meant to look like fuel gauge. It is also among a rare breed of COSC Chronometer-certified Tourbillon movements — making it more than simply appear like a high performance machine. Chopard further designed the movement engine to sit on special shock absorbing blocks.
The Engine One Tourbillon has the signature L.U.C style hands, (which are beautifully legible). The Tourbillon doubles as a seconds indicator with a built-in hand for this purpose. Hour indicators are placed on the bottom of the sapphire crystal, in lined with the style of other Chopard motorsports- and automobile-themed timepieces. Owners of the watch are proud to wear it, as if it communicates a love of sports cars and watches at the same time. However, the Engine One Tourbillon is a more playful timepiece in comparison to many other L.U.C timepieces that are more classic in demeanor.
With only 150 pieces manufactured, the watch serves as (another) reminder of Chopard’s 150th anniversary. The limited edition set has a high-luxury price that will clearly appeal to well-off gear heads. Those who enjoy multiple cars may opt for this Chopard in lieu of another automobile—given the price—a their next purchase. But if they wait too long, there won’t be any left.
$74,400 | Limited to just 88 pieces and available only in the U.S.