The peony flower has been a long-term inspiration for Chopard’s creativity. Since 2014, it has taken a starring role in the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony series, a collection of breath-taking, limited edition Fine Watchmaking timepieces celebrating the variety of artistic crafts at the heart of Maison’s creative approach.
For the new edition in ethical 18-carat rose gold limited to eight pieces, Chopard is marking the addition of the art of Grand Feu Enamel to its pool of in-house Métiers d’Art practices. In a design inspired by the antique decorative pocket watches found in the L.U.CEUM, Chopard’s museum in Fleurier, Chopard’s enamelling artisan has created a vibrant image of pink peonies blooming on a light green background.
Visible through an open case back, the L.U.C 96.23-L mechanical self-winding movement is also beautifully decorated with Fleurisanne, an engraving technique perfectly mastered by an in-house talented artisan.
The favourite flower of Chopard’s Co-President Caroline Scheufele, the fragile but fulsome peony is the traditional floral symbol of China, where it embodies prosperity and honour and is considered the queen of flowers. Regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage, and hence a regular feature of wedding bouquets and wedding gifts, the peony’s beauty and mystique has been celebrated by Chopard with a multitude of dazzling metiers in the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony series, including mother-of-pearl, gold engraving and paper cutting.
A decorative technique practiced since the 17th century, Grand Feu enamel, one of Swiss watchmaking’s most prestigious traditional craft forms, is today perpetuated by Chopard and a handful of master artisans. The enamelling process involves the mixing of silica and crushed oxides to form coloured powders that are dissolved in water, before being delicately applied to the dial in minute layers.
Between each application of a layer, the dial is fired in the oven at high temperatures to precise timings – a process in which the true intuition and experience of the artisan is crucial, as the rich colours emerge in the heat. Deploying skills passed on from artist to artist across the generations, it takes the enamelling artisan an entire week of work to complete each dial for one of the eight L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony watches.
As with previous L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony timepieces, the flower’s blooms are not simply confined to the dial but are exhibited in a virtuosic display of floral engraving on the gold bridges of calibre L.U.C 96.23-L – a slim Fine Watchmaking movement with an ethical 22-carat gold micro-rotor and two superposed barrels enabling the 65-hour power reserve linked to the Chopard Twin technology.
The engravers employ the Fleurisanne engraving technique that emerged in Chopard’s hometown of Fleurier during the 18th century. The technique requires removing metal from the surface to reveal a floral relief motif twisting its way across the surface. The background is individually dotted to create a grained surface that is rhodium-plated to contrast it with the gold pattern, creating an enticing two-tone effect. Each movement takes the engraving artisan a week and a half to complete.
Model; L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony
Ref. 131944-5005 – in ethical 18-carat rose gold
Limited and numbered eight-piece edition – Boutique exclusive
Ethical 18-carat rose gold
Total diameter 35 mm
Thickness 7.70 mm
Water resistance 30 metres
Ethical 18-carat rose gold crown with L.U.C logo 5.00 mm
Upper crystal with anti-glare and anti-UV treatment
Diamond-set bezel, sides, lugs and case middle
Polished exhibition back
Hand-engraved case-back surround
Mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.23-L
Number of parts 168
Total diameter 27.40 mm
Thickness 3.50 mm
Number of jewels 29
Frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve 65 hours
Winding by an ethical 22-carat gold micro-rotor
Two-tone ethical 18-carat rose gold movement – rhodium-plated after engraving
Hand-crafted Fleurisanne engravings – peony motif
Two barrels – Chopard Twin technology
Balance spring with flat terminal curve
Dial and hands
Dial adorned with a peony motif crafted by Chopard Manufacture enamelling artisan using the Grand Feu enamel technique
Gilded Dauphine fusée-type hours and minutes hands
Central display of the hours and minutes
Strap and buckle
Green alligator leather strap
Pin buckle in diamond-set polished ethical 18-carat rose gold