Video: The history of the Chopard brand: From Monaco racing chronometers to diamonds for Cannes guests
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
The best watches in the world are made, of course, in Switzerland, and the best watches in Switzerland are Chopard! Throughout their long history, they have been the official suppliers of the Swiss Railways, the timekeepers of the Grand Prix of races in Monaco, they conquered the Russian emperor with their fantastically accurate watches … And today the Chopard masters create the Palm Branch of the Cannes Festival and shower diamonds on its guests, and the woman behind these innovations Is one of the most influential figures in the jewelry and watch industry.
1860, Switzerland, the village of Sonville. In those parts, men, women, old people and children, homeworkers all year round and peasants were busy assembling watches on long winter evenings. It is here that the twenty-four-year-old son of a farmer, Louis-Ulysses Chopard, opens his own watch workshop, which will one day become a huge and influential jewelry brand. The young master approached the engineering side of the matter with particular care. He was not afraid to introduce something new, he sat for hours on the mechanism in order to achieve maximum accuracy of its work - and quickly gained fame. The high quality of the chronometers created by his workshop soon allowed Chopard to become the main supplier of watches for the Swiss Railways and the Tir Fédéral. It was Chopard's impeccably precise movements that gave Switzerland its reputation as a "country of watches". The workshop quickly entered the international market, and half a century later, even the last Russian emperor Nicholas II was among Chopard's customers.
Louis-Ulysses' business was continued by his son. Active and energetic, he expanded production and moved it to Geneva, the world capital of watchmaking. In the post-war years, under the leadership of the founder's grandson - Paul-André Chopard - the company steadily survived the crisis. However, she still found herself on the verge of extinction, because the sons of Paul-André were not eager to continue his work. So the dynasty of Swiss watchmakers was destined to end, and the company … to flourish. In the end, you can be related by blood, or you can be related by views and aspirations. While Paul-André indulged in painful reflections on the fate of his business, somewhere in the German city of Pforzheim, jeweler Karl Scheufele III also did not find rest, pondering where to find the ideal mechanisms for his precious watches. He dreamed of continuing the work of his father and grandfather, creating something surpassing all their achievements … Undoubtedly, he should have gone to Geneva - after all, Swiss watches have no equal in the world! However, during a trip to Geneva, Karl did not find anyone who understood what he needed … until, just before leaving, he decided to visit the workshops of the Chopard company. The conversation with Paul-André lasted only a few minutes - and the deal went through.
Throughout his professional and creative career, Karl was assisted by his wife Karin - in addition, her father was a very successful entrepreneur and provided huge financial support to Chopard at the stage of Karl's formation as the head of the company. In the seventies, Karl and Karin created a bold collection of Art Nouveau jewelery watches with floral motifs - and revolutionized their field. They adorned watches with onyx, coral and malachite, they offered men watches studded with diamonds, and daring watches on a denim strap for women.
In 1976, designer Ronald Kurowski, who collaborated with the Scheufele couple, invented the “dancing” (or “floating”) diamonds that have become the hallmark of Chopard - usually gemstones are tightly attached to the watch case, but Kurowski developed a new fastening design that allowed diamonds to move freely. At the same time, in the wake of everyone's attention to Happy Diamonds watches, the company began to produce cute pendants in the shape of clowns and bears, also encrusted with diamonds. In the future, Chopard was destined to conquer the jewelry market.
Today Chopard is run by Karl and Karin Scheufele's children, Karl-Friedrich and daughter Caroline. Apparently, the similarity of names is also a family tradition. Roles in the company are clearly delineated, but all responsible decisions are made at a family meeting, where the older generation has a decisive voice. Caroline Scheufele is one of the most influential women in the jewelry industry, and it is her courage, her love of experimentation and her readiness for new things that are the driving force behind the company. Caroline is a big fan of cinema, and henceforth Chopard is the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival. Under Carolyn's guidance, a new Palm Branch was developed, more luxurious and sophisticated. Festival guests appear on the red carpet wearing Chopard's Red Carpet jewelry line. And one day, Carolyn incurred parental anger with the purchase of incredibly expensive diamonds of a stunning pink hue. "What a waste!" - Karl was indignant. However, the acquisition quickly paid off, becoming a part of the La Vie en Rose jewelry collection.
Caroline is married to jeweler Fawaz Gruosi, former chief designer of de Grisogono, now defunct despite strong support from Chopard. Gruosi designed the Ice Cube collection for Chopard - the watches he created are in the shape of a square and are literally covered with precious stones.
Caroline's brother, Karl-Friedrich, is in charge of the men's collection. He loves racing cars, especially vintage cars. And, as in the case of Carolyn's love of cinema, this passion has played an important role in the development of the company. Since 2002, Chopard has been the timekeeper of the Monaco Grand Prix races and has created a range of luxury watches dedicated to each of the races.
Today Chopard produces not only luxurious watches and no less luxurious jewelry, but also glasses, perfumes, accessories and tableware. And Chopard never stops perfecting their own watch movements - the son of a Swiss farmer, inventor and dreamer Louis-Ulysses Chopard, would be pleased if he knew about it.
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