Chopard – From Swiss village idyll to world-class watch manufacturing
Founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the company has developed over the years into one of the world’s largest watch and jewellery manufacturers.
However, Chopard’s history began very contemplatively in the Swiss farming village of Sonvilier, where Chopard was born in 1836 and learned the traditional watchmaking trade upon his father’s advice. He developed a considerable competence, so that his reputation quickly preceded him. At the age of only 24, he founded his company in the tranquil Jura village, which was soon able to count personalities such as Tsar Nicholas II among its clientele.
Several years went by and it was only a matter of time before Louis-Ulysse left the company to his son Paul-Louis. In a clever move, he prompted the company to move to Geneva, the international epicentre of high watchmaking art, in order to be closer to the clientele. Following the leadership of Louis-Ulysse and Paul-Louis, the 3rd generation, Paul-André, took over the company’s heritage. However, since none of his sons wanted to take over the company, he was looking for a worthy successor. He finally found this in the German entrepreneur Karl Scheufele, also an experienced entrepreneur and jewellery expert, who wanted to integrate Swiss quality into his own company anyway. As a result, Chopard became Scheufeles’ property in 1963, almost 100 years after the company was founded.
Although Chopard had already built up an excellent reputation, the takeover brought a breath of fresh air to the company structures. In the meantime, Scheufele had already integrated his children Karl-Friedrich and Caroline into the company in leading positions. In the end, it was Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s merit that, almost 30 years later in 1996, the company founded its own watch manufactory L.U.C in Fleurier. The experienced watchmaker Michel Parmigiani, who set up his own watch manufactory in the same year, was instrumental in setting up the company. The name was deliberately chosen because it contains the initials of the founder and thus represents a direct homage to him.
The result was a fine manufacture that only produces COSC-certified chronometer movements that also meet the strict requirements of the FQF seal. Ultimately, it is thanks to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele that the brand can enjoy its excellent reputation today. Thanks to an enormous production depth, Chopard watches stand for affordable luxury and the finest “Swiss made” watches.
Chopards most important collections
Chopard has been an official Mille Miglia timekeeper since 1988. This means that a new watch must be designed for each annual race, which the participants can then proudly put on. One characteristic feature of these watches is the ribbed rubber strap, which is reminiscent of a car tire profile.
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Since 1996, outstanding watches have been produced under the name L.U.C., which pay tribute to the founder of Chopard by their name. These watches offer everything that Haute Horlogerie has to offer. In addition, all movements that are carefully crafted meet the strict COSC chronometer requirements.
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Watches in the Classic collection are understatement par excellence. As the name suggests, these models are very classic and convince with timeless and minimalist designs. Award-winning calibers perform their work under the dial.
In 1976 the Happy Diamonds collection was presented to the world for the first time. As a result, it became a bestseller for decades to come and is now an integral part of the Chopard portfolio.
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Watches from the Imperiale collection are aimed at the modern woman. As a result, there are many watches with diamonds or that are elaborately decorated. Chopard is one of the few companies to celebrate great success with an exclusive women’s collection.
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Why buy a Chopard?
Chopard watches have always been distinguished by their outstanding quality. Louis-Ulysse Chopard already founded his company according to the credo “Quality over Quantity” and this leitmotif has been running through Chopard’s history for over 150 years now. Mass production has been categorically rejected since day one, but the highest level of craftsmanship has taken centre stage.
In addition, there is an enormous vertical integration, which makes this possible. This enables the company to ensure that all the components used in the watches only meet the very highest quality standards, which is reflected both technically and visually at the end of the day in a watch of the absolute top class.
Chopard in numbers
1860: Founded in 1860
Chopard can now look back on more than 150 years of company history.
400: Nearly 400 participants at Mille Miglia
Every year, several hundred participants compete in this iconic race that regularly tempts Chopard to create new watches.
280: 280 square meters
To mark its 150th anniversary, Chopard opened a flagship store in New York’s Madison Avenue, which also happened to be the brand’s 100th boutique.
130: 130 countries strong sales network
There are now official Chopard boutiques in over 130 countries on all continents.
24: 24 years when the company was founded
L.U. Chopard was extraordinary in every way. In addition to his considerable talent for watchmaking, he founded a company at the age of only 24 that is now one of the world’s largest watch and jewelry manufacturers.
1860: Foundation in Switzerland by Louis-Ulysse Chopard.
1915: Paul-Louis Chopard takes over the operational management after his father’s death.
1937: Chopard moves to Geneva and is thus significantly closer to its international clientele.
1943: After Paul-Louis, his son Paul-André succeeds him at the helm of the company.
1963: The German entrepreneur Karl Scheufele takes over the management of the company after the third Chopard generation.
1974: Relocation to the Geneva suburb of Meyrin, today’s company headquarters.
1976: The first Happy Diamonds watch is on sale, a real novelty with its freely movable diamonds.
1983: The first branch in Hong Kong opens its doors.
1984: Only one year later followed the Luna D’Oro collection.
1988: Chopard becomes annual Mille Miglia timekeeper in Italy.
1996: Establishment of the company’s own watch manufactory L.U.C, including the launch of the “96.01-L” calibre, which earned the L.U.C 1860 watch the title “Watch of the Year” in 1997.
1998: Chopard becomes a partner of the Cannes International Film Festival.
2003: The Jacky Ickx collection is born.
2010: A big milestone follows with the 150th company anniversary.
2013: With “The Journey” Chopard launches a project for sustainable luxury.
2018: 30 years of Mille Miglia led Chopard to the “Racing Colours” new edition of a historic collection.
Chopard is very close to motorsport. This is illustrated by the “Mille Miglia” collection, which pays tribute to the legendary eponymous vintage car race in Italy. The reason for this is no coincidence: Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard’s boss, is a passionate vintage car collector himself and takes part in the race every year. Since 1988 Chopard has been the official timekeeper of this race and regularly dedicates limited edition watches to him.
Chopard has also been a partner at the Cannes Film Festival since 1998, producing the much sought-after Golden Palms for the winners. However, the stars of the Red Carpet are also equipped with Chopard jewellery, so that world stars such as Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore or Penélope Cruz regularly strut across the carpet in Chopard pieces.