In Pursuit of a Legacy: A Visit to The Chopard Factory
Free-spirited floating diamonds, exceptional jewellery designs, the racing legacy of Mille Miglia timepieces, and the innovative L.U.C watches—the universe of Chopard comprises countless intriguing facets. It is a world of watches and jewellery, one that marries scintillating design and craftsmanship, and is on full display at the Chopard production sites in Fleurier and Meyrin in Switzerland. A long drive from Geneva lies the picturesque village of Fleurier, surrounded by mountains and home to the production of the high-end L.U.C watches. Borne from an idea, the L.U.C series has acquired an identity that celebrates Chopard’s reputation as a watchmaker of haute horlogerie. A desire to present an original calibre saw him embark on a journey leading to not only the realisation of the Calibre L.U.C 96.01-L, but also the setup of an ultra-modern manufacturing unit in Fleurier. The transition from rented premises in 1996 to a company-owned and restored building in 2000 is evocative of Chopard’s inspiring 152-year legacy.
Founded by 24-year-old Louis-Ulysse Chopard in 1860, Chopard specialised in pocket watches and chronometers. Even as the company grew in production and clientele, another story was unfolding in Pforzheim, Germany. In 1904, Karl Gotthilf Scheufele founded the ‘Karl Scheufele’ brand and began distributing jewellery watches under the name Eszeha. By the 1930s, Chopard was employing around 150 people to make pocket watches and precision wristwatches. By 1942, Karl Scheufele II had succeeded his father, and Paul-André Chopard assumed the reins at Chopard.
The Start of Something Beautiful
“Even as a teenager, I enjoyed drawing jewellery models. Finally, in 1985 a first sketch of a clown with disarticulated legs, and a tummy full of diamonds and coloured stones, propelled me into the creative world and, Chopard, into the jewellery-making world! Seeing the success of this clown, I created the first Happy Diamonds jewellery line.” The rest is, of course, history.
(Read more in the July-August 2012 issue of Time 'n Style. On Stands Soon!)
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