Chopard Jewelry: Where ethics meet beauty

Chopard, Sapphire Imperiale Ref. 4239, c. 2015. Sold for HKD235,000 via Bonhams (December 2021).

Today, Chopard jewelry is highly sought after on the primary and secondary markets. Chopard is known as a trusted heritage watch and jewelry brand, with each piece beautifully designed and carefully crafted in Switzerland to stand the test of time. The firm, established at the end of the 19th century, caters to a gamut of tastes with its products that range from stainless steel sports watches to its signature Happy Diamonds line of timepieces, in which loose diamonds playfully move around the watch face as the wrist moves. The Chopard brand values long-standing collaborations, such as with supermodel Petra Nemcova, sustainability campaigner Livia Firth and with actress Julia Roberts, whose sunny disposition and glamour reflect Chopard’s own design philosophy.

The Chopard story 

In 1860, Louis-Ulysse Chopard set up L.U.C., a high-precision watch workshop in the Swiss village of Sonvilier. His slim pocket timepieces were precise and reliable and his reputation spread as far afield as Russia’s royal court and across Scandinavia.

When Chopard died in 1915, his son Paul-Louis took over the family business and moved the firm to Geneva, the capital of Swiss watch manufacturing. But by the 1940s the business was in decline, and by the time Paul-Louis passed the company on to his son, Paul-André, in 1943, he decided to sell it to German goldsmith and watchmaker Karl Scheufele, who was on the look-out for a Swiss movement maker. The Scheufele family has been running the firm ever since, having lifted it out of the doldrums to create a watch and jewelry empire.

Chopard has remained a family-run firm to this day. It is now in the hands of Karl’s children, co-directors Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. But time hasn’t stood still at Chopard: Caroline has developed its jewelry line, overseeing every design from beginning to end, while Karl-Friedrich, who manages the men’s collections, brought sport watches to the market during the 1980s and opened an haute horology facility in Fleurier (in Switzerland) to exclusively produce high-precision mechanical L.U.C. movements. 

Key products

Chopard Happy Diamonds

1976 saw a more playful side to Chopard emerge with the launch of the Happy Diamonds watch collection, with loose diamonds that slide freely between two panes of sapphire crystal. The design has since evolved into a line of earrings, necklaces and rings. It has even lent the iconic look to a sports collection called the Happy Sports, which uses stainless steel.

Chopard Mille Miglia

Launched in 1988, the Mille Miglia time pieces are inspired by the classic Italian car race of the same name that dates back to the 1920s. Chopard became its sponsor and its eponymous collection has gone from strength to strength. 

Chopard L.U.C.

In 1996, Chopard went back to its roots as a high-precision movement manufacturer and set up L.U.C. (named after its founder), a workshop that now creates some of the highest-quality watches to come out of Switzerland. The delicate L.U.C. movements boast hand finishing, attentive assembly and meticulous testing. 

Chopard Happy Clown

At just 16, Caroline Scheufele created the Happy Clown. With a tummy full of roving diamonds and coloured precious stones, the Happy Clown became the brand’s mascot and marked the birth of Chopard jewelry.

Chopard Happy Hearts

Thanks to Caroline Scheufele, Chopard jewelry now has a vital place in the business. Although the firm debuts many of its high jewelry pieces on the red carpet at Cannes, customers come to Chopard for its easy-to-wear Happy Hearts collection, which also often features dancing diamonds.  

Chopard Ice Cube

The contemporary Ice Cube collection was first released in 1999, aimed at a younger, edgier market. It is sleek, modern and deeply cool, and is simple enough to be worn every day. Since 2017, each Ice Cube creation has been made with 100 per cent ethical gold. 

Chopard has also left its mark on the red carpet – it partners with the Cannes Film Festival, for which Caroline, in her role as Chopard’s artistic director, redesigned the Palme d’Or trophy.

Chopard going green

Areas of the jewelry industry has been known to suffer from murky ethics around its supply chains but the maison is at the forefront of change. Chopard has embraced the concept of “sustainable luxury” and now uses exclusively ethically produced gold in all its workshops. The same care is taken when sourcing diamonds: all suppliers are required to refrain from buying or selling conflict diamonds and diamonds from suspect or unknown sources.

In 2013 Chopard launched its Green Carpet Collection in collaboration with Eco-Age and its founder Livia Firth, who initiated the Green Carpet Challenge. The collection is crafted using Fairmined gold from South American mines and sustainably sourced diamonds and showcased on the red carpet at Cannes.

Chopard is also known for its far-reaching philanthropy. In 1996, the company launched the José Carreras watch collection in support of the famous tenor’s foundation that works towards developing a cure for leukaemia. In 2009, the firm began working with Petra Nemcova to support the non-profit All Hands and Hearts, which helps communities impacted by natural disasters. To assist, Caroline Scheufele created a special 18-carat rose gold bangle, featuring a red heart and a heart with a dancing diamond. The proceeds help the charity build safe, resilient schools. 

Taking care of your Chopard Watch

Due to its complex internal mechanism, avoid placing your watch near any object that gives off a magnetic field, such as TVs or speakers, as this may affect its precision. Always rinse your Chopard watch after being exposed to sea water and keep in mind that not all Chopard watches are waterproof. The firm recommends contacting an official retailer as only Chopard service centres should perform repairs to your watch. To streamline its repairs service, the company has opened a dedicated facility in Miami, which features the latest technology as well as advanced automatic winding and generation timing machines to support all repairs.