The dazzling story of Chopard’s world of Swiss luxury watches and jewellery
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Back in 1860, a Swiss watchmaker Louis-Ulysse Chopard created his manufacturing company at the age of 24, in Sonvilier, a small town between Saint-Imier and La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. Sonvilier is a watchmaking region, and Louis-Ulysse was determined to introduce new materials and movements. He produced pocket watches for men and women before branching out to other types of timepieces and jewellery.
In 1921, his son Paul-Louis Chopard moved the company to La Chaux-de-Fonds before relocating to Geneva, the hub of Haute Horlogerie, with an aim to make the brand more accessible. The brand’s original home in Sonvilier wasn’t exactly conducive to business. With Paul André, the third generation of Chopard, the brand faced a challenge — none of Paul-André’s sons were interested in continuing the business. Paul-André was looking for someone to purchase Chopard, when he met Karl Scheufele III, the owner of the Germany-based watch and jewellery company. As a descendant of a dynasty of watchmakers and jewellers, Karl Scheufele III fulfilled his father and grandfather’s wish of buying a Swiss manufacturing company by acquiring Chopard. The acquisition was a match made in heaven, and a new chapter for Chopard.
Chopard became more successful over the years thanks to its special techniques and new innovations. Karl and his wife Karin perfectly fused German precision and Swiss techniques, taking the brand to a new level of success. Their children Karl-Friedrich and Caroline played an active part in the company, turning Chopard into a global brand.
Chopard became more successful over the years thanks to its special techniques and new innovations
A-list celebrities wore Chopard jewellery to the Cannes Film Festival, and Chopard also designed the Palme d’Or Trophy used since 1998
That’s enough of history, and now let’s focus on the brand’s iconic design. Chopard Happy Diamonds watches are timeless as well as they are playful, with the moving diamonds gently dancing and twirling. In 1980, the famous Geneva timepiece brand introduced its first sports watch, St. Moritz, designed to appeal to men who love both adventure and luxury. In 1984, Chopard launched its first complicated wristwatch the Luna D’Oro, with a perpetual calendar featuring a retrograde display. In 1993, the Happy Sport collection was launched. Allowing an original association between steel and diamonds in an audacious and free-spirited way, the Happy Sport collection remained, since 1993, one of the watch industry’s enduring success stories. From timepieces, the brand also branched out to accessories, such as necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and rings, with signature moving diamonds.
1985 marked the birth of Chopard jewellery with a first sketch of a clown that propelled Caroline Scheufele into the world of design. In 2007, the first Haute Joaillerie Red Carpet collection dedicated to the Cannes Film Festival was presented. A-list celebrities wore Chopard jewellery to the Cannes Film Festival, and Chopard also designed the Palme d’Or Trophy used since 1998. Dressing celebrities made the brand even more famous and successful, with sales of CHF800m (US$915m) per year, 100 boutiques and retail points globally, and 3,000 employees.
Chopard is one of the few jewellery and timepiece brand which keeps it in the family yet manages to be as successful as major corporate brands.