Back in 2013, Chopard announced the launch of their Fairmined Project, an initiative that aims to utilize ethically sourced Fairmined Gold in partnership with the South American NGO Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to pioneer a new “Journey to Sustainable Luxury.” The first watch to use this type of gold was the Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Qualite Fleurier, which we covered back at Baselworld 2014. For Baselworld 2017, Chopard is introducing another Fairmined model to their growing L.U.C collection, the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined watch in a limited edition of 250 pieces. Let’s take a look at how it combines high-end finishing, interesting materials, and the attention to detail Chopard’s L.U.C line is known for.
Chopard explains that the Fairmined Project serves as an effort to help support miners who extract the raw materials used in these watches. This is also reflected in a few aesthetic touches like the dial texture, which is inspired by the raw composition of gold nuggets extracted from mines. Besides paying a fair, premium price for these raw materials, Chopard also ensures that resources are reinvested into community projects to improve living conditions within these small-scale mining communities. Additionally, small-scale operations such as these also help minimize the environmental impact that is often associated with larger, less environmentally conscious mining efforts. At the very least, these talking points give the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined watch an added shot of character and purpose.
The dial of the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined has a deep, slate gray color and a rather mesmerizing sunburst effect that’s even more striking in contrast to the rose gold hands and markers. The hour, minute, and seconds hands are also crafted out of the same Fairmined 18-carat rose gold and feature the fluid L.U.C signature shape that flows well with the indexes. Interestingly enough, Chopard also decided on incorporating an offset seconds subdial, which is a departure from the previous iteration of the L.U.C XPS Fairmined and several other models in the lineup. While it’s always hard to tell from press images alone, I am interested to see the color variation and texture the dial exhibits as it reacts to different angles and lighting situations.
The well-proportioned 40mm case exhibits the same kind of attention to detail and features a variety of polished and vertically brushed surfaces along the top and edges. Like the dial, I imagine this case really should be seen in person in order to appreciate the effect of the contrast finishing, as we expect Chopard to do a good job with that. At just 7.2mm thick, the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined should wear comfortably since the lugs also appear to have a well-curved, wrist-hugging shape to them.
An interesting touch Chopard also went for is an offset crown at 4 o’clock, which creates an intriguing kind of symmetry with the offset seconds subdial at 7 o’clock. Water-resistance is 30 meters and the watch is, of course, fitted with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal up front and an exhibition case back. Chopard also includes a hand-sewn alligator strap dyed with plant-based pigments and paired with a matching 18-carat rose gold pin buckle.
Even considering all of the interesting touches Chopard put into the case and dial, I find the movement and its finishing to be the most impressive aspect of the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined watch. Perhaps aided by my fondness for micro-rotors, I find the finishing on the COSC-certified L.U.C Calibre 96.09-L to be first-class in every way, and that’s coming from someone who normally isn’t overly fussy about the minutiae of movement finishing. It’s Fleurier Quality Foundation-certified, delivers 65 hours of power reserve, and operates at 28,800vph (4Hz). The gold tones are echoed in the movement as well, and the bridges are adorned with a deep Côtes de Genève motif that results in a rather striking look for a watch that follows such understated design language.
Seeing Chopard put so much thought and care into what is a functionally very simple watch is something that I find exciting in many ways. While the design is “minimalist,” everything from the case finishing to the dial texture renders the final product anything but plain. Chopard’s commitment to expanding the Fairmined Project while raising awareness for sustainable mining practices, fair worker wages, and environmental responsibility further provides the wearer with a feel-good story to go with a nice-looking watch. Price for the 250-piece limited Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined watch is $18,480. chopard.com