Elegance is understanding, manipulating, and playing with boundaries. Chopard has carved a firm place for itself in the watch industry by employing this philosophy into their craft. Recognized globally as a luxury brand, Chopard watches and jewelry are appreciated by both artists and engineers. The brand has quickly garnered horological celebrity since its creation in 1860 and is highly-coveted by all types of consumers.
Founded in Sonvilier, Switzerland byLouis-UlysseChopard, the brand’s deep historical roots are evident through its approach to invention. With notable figures such as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia Chopard, the artisanal company has maintained an elite clientele and haute cachet within its industry. With their headquarters located in Geneva, Chopard considers each timepiece as more than a series of mechanical movements. When Louis-Ulysse’s died in 1915, his son Paul-Louis and grandson Paul-André took over the company. As they primarily made pocket watches and ladies’ wristwatches, Paul-Louis moved the company operations to a larger town in Neuchâtel in 1921 to expand production. The company was sold to the Scheufele’s in 1963 and has been owned by the German family since.
The company had 150 employees in 1937, and this growth caused them to relocate again, this time to Geneva. This certified Chopard’s movements with the Geneva Seal, only applicable to watch movements made in the Canton of Geneva. In 1943, Paul-André took over and ran the company for the next 20 years until 1963. Without children to pass the company to, Paul-André Chopard sold it to Karl Scheufele III, a German goldsmith and watchmaker, who was aptly seeking a movement manufacturer for his own watch business.
Quality never falters with Chopard, and their prestigious reputation is a result of this. The brand’s notability travelled throughout Europe and its beautiful ingenuity ranged from precise pocket watches to impeccable wristwatches, always for daily use. The company seeks to ignite a sense of opulence in the most redundant of notions, time. Their design process dances alongside the confines of identity and Chopard’s dedication to integrity is what makes them iconic.
With over 100 boutiques on some of the most recognizable shopping streets, Chopard watches are donned on the wrists of those who appreciate distinctive artistry. In 1976, under the Scheufele family’s ownership, Chopard launched their signature Happy Diamonds collection, which featured free-floating diamonds behind the sapphire glass. This style became quintessential with the brand and the simplicity of this statement quickly became lusted after.
This commercial success came from Chopard designer Ronald Kurowski, who was inspired by a hike through the Black Forest and the sparkle of water droplets refracting the sun’s light off a waterfall. These “dancing diamonds” are what inspired him to embellish a watch with countless loose diamonds, without settings and freely moving between dial, bezel, and sapphire crystal..Kurowski didn’t want the restriction of fixed gem settings as he wanted to “liberate the diamonds”.
Chopard understands that the simplicity of nature is truly complex when truly enjoyed. These observations were intended as an entry into the annual Golden Rose of Baden Baden, a German jewelers competition organized by the Society of Friends of Precious Stones. The company never planned for its regular production but its success was seen through its ‘International Diamond Award’ and ‘Golden Rose’ prizes, the latter being the highest distinction for watch design in the 1970s.Kurowski’s vision faced some difficulty as Chopard’s craftsmen attempted to bring it into actuality. As diamonds are rated at the max. 10 on Moh’s Hardness Scale, the other external components of the watch (dial, bezel and sapphire glass) are softer. This meant that the free-flowing diamonds would scratch everything they touched.
A brand that seeks problem-solving as an opportunity to think outside the boundaries, they surrounded each diamond with a handmade white gold sheath thin enough to go unnoticed. The sheath encased the diamond’s surface to allow the soft, rounded edges to glide against the underside without scratching the crystal. Craftsmen have encased up to thirty “Happy Diamonds” with custom-fit sheaths when it was re-released. They later updated the original flat-bottomed sheath to a single-point sheath with a downward curve that made the diamonds easier to twirl. A faint finger tap on the case causes the diamonds to rotate,now the definitive way of testing authentic “Happy Diamonds”.
In 1980, Chopard also introduced their steel sports watch, the St. Moritz, to the fashion world. This was the first model created by Karl-Friedrich Scheufeleat the young age of 22, who after much persuasion convinced his father to launch the new collection. Made to be shock and water-resistant, this timepiece was named after the French resort town of Chopard’s flagship boutique. Categorized as “sporty chic”, the St. Moritz became Chopard’s first steel watchwith gold and two-tone options, as well as various complications and diamonds. Apart from its iconic exposed screws and an octagonal bezel, this watch was made for both men and women. The St. Moritz was eventually discontinued for 40 years until son and grandson Karl-Fritz Scheufele, decided to rebirth this watches design.
He too, persuaded the idea to rebirth the sport-watch icon. Karl-Fritz alongside his father and grandfather, designed a prototype that maintained the watches functionality and second-skin wearability without adulterating its original appeal. Renamed the “Alpine Eagle”, the collection marks the first time in watchmaking history where 3 generations directly collaborated on the design and production of a timepiece. This accomplishment showcases well the value system of Chopard; one highly influenced by a strong sense of Family.
Chopard captures the duality in both their design and execution. Each timepiece is a reminder of our human need for putting beauty into the utilitarian. We seek to invent based on need, we seek to beautify based on desire. Louis-UlysseChopard demonstrated this human objective by fulfilling the “desires” of accuracy and reliability with intent, tact, and purpose. As we attempt personal improvement, we attempt to not overlook the modest pleasures, as it usually in thesenuances that the ultimate complexities exist. We’ve indoctrinated this concept in our daily practices, as has Chopard in its engineering, which is why we see our best selves in all of its timepieces. As your watch is part of your extension, Chopard glamourizes the passing of timebased on its historically rich company culture.