Chopard: Traditionalist and Innovator
When one considers the companies that have made an indelible imprint on contemporary jewelry and watches, Chopard naturally comes to mind. Renowned among many things for its creativity, quality, high level of vertical integration and celebrated heritage, Chopard is one of the leading names in the industry today.

Founded in 1860 in Sonvilier, Switzerland, by talented craftsman Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the company’s watches quickly gained an outstanding worldwide reputation by virtue of their precision and reliability. Under the impetus of the Scheufele family, who bought the company in 1963, Chopard spectacularly advanced its stature with an additional focus on high-end jewelry and watches for ladies, as well as on multiple groundbreaking concepts such as Happy Diamonds and the L.U.C watch movements.

Further underscoring its passion for excellence, Chopard partnered with events such as the legendary Mille Miglia and Grand Prix de Monaco Historique car races, for which it is the official timekeeper, and the Cannes International Film Festival, for which it redesigned the Palme d’Or.

Chopard is also well known for its philanthropic efforts, providing exclusive product and financial support to such noble causes as the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Happy Hearts Fund, José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation and Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.

Chopard is also a proud member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), a nonprofit organization that reinforces consumer confidence in the jewelry industry by promoting responsible environmental, ethical, human rights and social practices throughout the supply chain. Firmly committed to the cause, Chopard has also recently declared its aspiration to become the premier sustainable luxury brand. “We consider it our responsibility to protect the natural world that provides the materials we rely on for our own success and to ensure the well being of the people and communities that are essential parts of our supply chain,” the brand has stated. As such, it presented at this year’s Cannes Film Festival the latest of five masterpieces crafted from Fairmined gold—gold that has been mined safely, cleanly and legitimately to receive Fairmined ceritification—and diamonds sourced from the IGC Group, one of the world’s oldest diamond firms and a RJC member.

At this year’s Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewelry show held annually each spring in Switzerland, Chopard once again amazed and delighted with several new wonders. As with each creation over its 154-year history, these new collections or variations on existing models beautifully exemplify the tradition and innovative spirit of the house.

In 1976, Ronald Kurowski, a talented Chopard designer, became fascinated with the sparkle of unset diamonds. He dreamed of creating a watch where diamonds could enjoy total freedom of movement. That dream became a reality with Happy Diamonds, an innovative concept that allows diamonds to slide and spin freely around a watch movement thanks to a dial inserted between two transparent sapphire crystals.

Happy Diamonds soon became a signature collection for the brand, and countless variations have offered fresh expressions of its lively, versatile nature. This spring, Happy Diamonds meets butterflies for a graceful and eminently feminine encounter.

The Happy Diamonds Butterflies watch showcases two butterflies in relief, entirely set with blue sapphires and brown diamonds, perched on the case. The round case and dial within, each outlined with diamonds, echo each other’s curves, while seven mobile diamonds dance lightly between them. In the center of the dial, the profile of a butterfly in colorless and brown diamonds rests on a purple mother-of-pearl background.

The Happy Diamonds Butterflies jewelry collection, meanwhile, composed of earrings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets and rings, features the simple outline of a butterfly crafted in polished 18-karat white or rose gold, either partially or entirely set with diamonds or pastel blue or pink sapphires. Within each of four wings floats a diamond, free of all settings, to echo the butterfly’s airy spirit.

According to Chopard, the Happy Diamonds Butterflies collection, with its perfect proportions and the ethereal nature of its lines, together with the strength of its symbolism, has the making of a great new classic.

In 1993, Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s co-president responsible for the ladies’ and high-jewelry collections, imagined a sports watch for women based on a brand-new and explosive combination: steel and diamonds, or rather, Happy Diamonds. The Happy Sport watch was born, setting the horological world on its heels with a casual elegance that could be worn to embellish jeans or to light up an evening gown. The Happy Sport watch quickly became an icon of the Geneva-based manufacturer and of feminine watchmaking in general.

In 2013, Chopard celebrated the 20th anniversary of this watch with a mechanical model—the Happy Sport Medium Automatic—of which the lines and volumes were given a fresh interpretation.

Today, Chopard introduces variations of this self-winding movement, including a new two-tone backdrop. The Happy Sport Medium Automatic Two Tone has a case and bracelet in stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold framing a silver-toned dial with a central guilloché motif and seven merrily dancing diamonds. On the back, a sapphire crystal gives a chance to admire the movement, which is adorned with a straight Côtes de Genève motif also known as Geneva stripes. The watch also offers a date function, 42-hour power reserve, water-resistance to 30 meters and matching bracelet. An alternate version has a diamond-set bezel and black alligator leather strap.

Another variation is the Happy Sport Medium Automatic Joaillerie, which emphasizes the strong lines of its predecessor with a bezel, crown and hour markers set with rubies, sapphires or emeralds. The alligator leather strap picks up the same vibrant color. The 18-karat white or rose gold case with open caseback is set with diamonds, while the mother-of-pearl dial displays a central guilloché motif encircled with brilliant-cut diamonds. And of course, we have the Happy Diamonds concept, this time interpreted with the addition of rubies, sapphires and emeralds twirling around the dial. The watch also offers a 42-hour power reserve and water-resistance to 30 meters.

The Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie, meanwhile, presents a radiant reflection of the hallmarks of Chopard, embodying the skilled perfection of haute joaillerie and the technical virtuosity of haute horlogerie. Here we have a hand-wound L.U.C 02.16-L tourbillon movement, especially designed by Chopard to match the style of the Happy Sport case, showcased on a dial embellished with the “snow setting,” one of the most delicate gem-setting techniques, which carpets its entire surface with micro-pavé-set diamonds. The 18-karat white or rose gold case is also set with diamonds, as are the bezel, crown and tourbillon itself. Last but not least, we have seven Happy Diamonds spinning between two sapphire crystals. The watch also offers a 42 mm case, making this the largest model in the collection, a 216-hour (9 day) power reserve, water-resistance to 30 meters and a white hand-sewn alligator leather strap. Also important to note: the Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie is a COSC-certified chronometer, which means it has been certified for accuracy and precision by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute), and bears the Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal) quality hallmark, a prestigious certification reserved for Geneva-made watch movements that exemplify the highest quality in finishing and decoration.

Launched in the 1990s and completely redesigned in 2010, the Imperiale watch is part of yet another iconic collection from Chopard. This assortment blends contemporary elegance with such grand touches as an arabesque motif that resembles the embroidery of the hangings and cushions on which monarchs would place their insignia.

Two new models equipped with Chopard’s mechanical self-winding 01.01-C movement now join the collection. The Imperiale 40mm Black & White watches remain true to imperial classicism while offering a radically new approach: timeless chic expressed in black and white. The dials now appear in black or white lacquer with a shiny black or white Imperiale motif, while the straps, also bearing the motif, are in padded black or white Barenia calfskin. The polished bezel and crown, set with either an onyx or moonstone, lend the ultimate touch of sophistication to the timepiece’s unique spirit. The watches also offer a date function, 60-hour power reserve and water-resistance to 30 meters.

The legendary Mille Miglia car race has been held annually from 1927–1957 in Italy, and then revived in 1977, taking its competitors over a distance of 1,000 miles through magnificent Italian countryside from Brescia to Rome and back again. Participation is limited to cars produced no later than 1957 that had attended the original race.

Passionate about vintage cars, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Caroline’s brother and co-president of the company responsible for the men’s collections and the Chopard manufacture in Fleurier, Switzerland, has been playing an active part in the race since 1988, when Chopard supported this event as a main sponsor and official timekeeper for the first time.

To mark the partnership, Chopard created the Mille Miglia sports watch collection, debuting a new, special-edition timepiece each year. The Mille Miglia 2014 edition is a COSC-certified self-winding chronograph with a vintage, sophisticated and distinctively Italian design that pays tribute to the oldest cars taking part in the race, particularly those dating from the 1920s–1930s. As such, it features a red tachometric scale and hands, white dial and green minute circle to honor the colors of the Italian flag, slender, cursive dial fonts inspired by the 1920s and soldered rather than screwed-in lugs holding the strap, which complicates producing and polishing the case. The usual rubber strap with its 1960s Dunlop racing-tire-tread motif, meanwhile, has been replaced here with an overstitched brown Barenia calfskin strap reminiscent of the bonnet straps on the most venerable participants in the race. The watch also offers a date function, 42-hour power reserve and water-resistance to 50 meters and is available in steel for a limited edition of 2,014 pieces and in 18-karat rose gold for a limited edition of 250 pieces.

Launched in 1997, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (Historic Grand Prix of Monaco) takes place every two years on the same circuit as the Formula 1 Grand Prix but with racing cars dating from the 1920s–1985. As official timekeeper and sponsor of the race since 2002, Chopard creates a limited-edition chronograph for each competition equipped with a COSC-certified movement.

This year, for the first time, Chopard created a complete range of watches for the event featuring functions as varied as the three main types of car engines: V6, V8 and V12. The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic has a COSC-certified self-winding movement very much like a V6 engine that guarantees chronometric performance to match the demands of drivers. Playing the role of a V8 engine, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Power Control, also with a COSC-certified self-winding movement, features a power-reserve indicator at 6 o’clock with a design inspired by oil gauges. The V12 of the family is the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono, a COSC-certified self-winding chronograph that’s the driver’s watch par excellence.

The three models stem from the same new design: a 44.5 mm titanium case chosen for its slightness, hardness and compatibility, a grooved and snailed dial representing constant movement that’s suggestive of both high-speed racing cars and chicane kerbs, redesigned lugs to enhance comfort and yellow detailing to showcase one of the basic colors in the racing vocabulary. The watches also offer a date function, 46-hour power reserve and water-resistance to 100 meters.

In 1996, Chopard returned to its roots by opening a watch manufacture in Fleurier dedicated to the production of mechanical L.U.C movements, named for company founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard. The manufacture lives up to the highest horological requirements, creating watches with unique character that ensure time-keeping precision.

The L.U.C collection, which showcases these movements, represents the ultimate expression of timepiece beauty and the peak of the watchmaking art. All L.U.C watches are equipped with movements chronometer-certified by the COSC. Some movements also earn the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, bearing witness to the exclusive movement finishing. Other models bear the Fondation Qualité Fleurier (Fleurier Quality Foundation) label, the only certification simultaneously vouching for accuracy, quality finishing and durability.

This year, Chopard debuted no less than six models in the collection. The L.U.C 1963 marks the 50th anniversary of the Scheufele family at the helm of Chopard. With its blend of precision and aesthetic purity, it’s a natural descendant of the chronometers Chopard was still producing in 1963, the year the Scheufele family acquired the Geneva-based company. It contains a large, 38 mm, mechanical hand-wound L.U.C 63.01-L movement bearing the Poinçon de Genève seal, but has a simple architecture due to the absence of complications. A direct consequence of the movement, the dial is also substantial, designed in porcelain-style white with a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, dauphine hands, black Roman numerals and a rail track minute circle—all direct references to the golden era of chronometers. It also offers a 60-hour power reserve, water-resistance to 50 meters and is available in platinum or 18-karat rose gold with an exhibition back and hand-sewn brown alligator leather strap for a limited edition of 50 pieces.

Presented in conjunction with the L.U.C 1963 is the L.U.C 1963 Chronograph. The two share similar features, however the L.U.C 1963 Chronograph has a slightly smaller case, satin-brushed silver-toned dial with sunburst pattern, date function and a mechanical hand-wound L.U.C 03.07-L movement bearing the Poinçon de Genève seal. The movement provides a flyback function that serves to perform successive timing operations without having to reset the counters to zero using the pusher at 4 o’clock. The watch is available only in 18-karat rose gold for a limited edition of 50 pieces.

The L.U.C 8HF Power Control, meanwhile, pushes the limits of mechanical horology with the self-winding L.U.C 01.09-L movement, which beats at a frequency of 8 Hz (compared with 4 Hz for ordinary mechanical movements), meaning 57,000 vibrations per hour. The primary value of high frequency is improved precision timekeeping, particularly in terms of rate resumption and stability. Chopard also decided to work with silicon for certain escapement components of the watch (impulse-pin, lever, escapement wheel) and developed a new patent-pending means of fixing the silicon on steel. The 42 mm case is composed of black ceramic and features a sapphire crystal on its partially closed back positioned just above the high-frequency escapement, providing a chance to appreciate its finer details. The satin-brushed black dial with sunburst pattern showcases a pointer-type date display as well as a power-reserve indicator. Generated by a single barrel, the 60-hour power reserve represents a real feat, since a high-frequency escapement naturally requires more energy and may thus imply a lower power reserve.

With the L.U.C XPS 35mm, Chopard presents not only a new timepiece for men but also the first L.U.C model for ladies. A takeoff on the company’s classic L.U.C XPS, the L.U.C XPS 35mm is smaller still, fitting a mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.12-L movement with two barrels and a 65-hour power reserve inside a 7.10 mm-thick case. Chopard accomplished this feat by means of a clever construction based on a micro-rotor and providing a view of the movement through the transparent case back. The men’s model contains a satin-brushed silver-toned dial with sunburst pattern surrounded by a polished 18-karat rose gold case, further enhanced by a hand-sewn brown alligator strap. The ladies’ model has a diamond-set 18-karat rose gold bezel framing a white mother-of-pearl dial with brilliant-cut diamond hour markers, teamed with a gray canvas strap.

First launched in 2009, the L.U.C Lunar Big Date now gets a whole new glow, adopting the full design codes of the new L.U.C aesthetic. Housing a mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.20-L movement, the watch provides a moon-phase indication so precise that the discrepancy between the mechanism and the real lunar cycle amounts to just one day in 122 years. The various moon phases are visible for both Northern and Southern hemispheres through a large aperture at 7 o’clock, ensuring easy readability. In addition, the northern part of the display features the Big Dipper constellation, while the southern part displays the Southern Cross. The watch also offers a large date display at 12 o’clock, 65-hour power reserve, water-resistance to 50 meters and is available in 18-karat white gold with an exhibition back and hand-sewn black alligator leather strap.

Finally, for the fourth time in its history, Chopard has created a watch worthy of the Fondation Qualité Fleurier label, undoubtedly the most demanding of all watch certifications. In fact, Chopard has certified more watches than any other brand since the creation of the certification 10 years ago. To meet the criteria for certification, the L.U.C Qualité Fleurier had to be manufactured 100 percent in Switzerland, contain a COSC-certified movement that passed the Chronofiable reliability test, display exclusive aesthetic quality on both visible and hidden areas and have the running of the finished watch pass the Fleuritest. The result is the very essence of haute horlogerie: a mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.09-L movement featuring Chopard’s “Twin” two-stacked-barrel technology ensuring a 65-hour power reserve, housed in an 18-karat rose gold case with a transparent back. The dial reveals original and refined technical details focused on readability: the satin-brushed ruthenium base with sunburst pattern strikes a remarkable contrast with gilded hour, minute and small seconds hands. And of course, the “Qualité Fleurier” and “Chronometer” inscriptions, along with the foundation logo, are clearly visible on the dial, a constant reminder of the long and arduous trials this watch has sailed through with flying colors.
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