Chopard is a Swiss watchmaker that has locations in Geneva, Neuchâtel, and Fleurier. It first gained a reputation for precision railway timepieces, for which it produced both watches and movements when it was formed in 1860.
It is now known for its polished L.U.C. range of timepieces as well as its Mille Miglia that has concepts of motorsports. The company develops both as ébauche movements for other watchmakers and its watches, thanks to its multiple factories. It has its Fleurier Ébauches and L.U.C. movements, respectively.
The company is putting knowledge in gem-setting and goldsmithing because it is also a jeweler. Some watch models feature diamonds, and the company’s Geneva factory can process and manufacture gold casings in-house. Chopard is proud of its vertically integrated manufacturing, or its ability to produce the majority of watch parts in-house.
This enables the brand to adhere to ethical diamond and gold sourcing guidelines. Watches with in-house Fleurier or L.U.C. movements, as well as completed Valjoux or ETA calibers, are available. The company’s selections are varied, with some rather odd mechanisms.
Beginnings of a Family Business
In his hometown of Sonvilier, Switzerland, Louis-Ulysse Chopard began the Chopard company in 1860. During this time, the company largely produced railway watches, both the finished timepieces and the movements. After Louis-death, Ulysses family’s activities would transfer many times to metropolitan areas owing to the company’s rising growth.
Paul-Louis, Louis-son, and Ulysses transferred the plant from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Geneva. As a result, the company was able to produce Geneva Seal timepieces.
The enterprise had been in the family for three generations by 1963, but Ulysses’ grandson, Paul-André, was childless. As a result, he looked for a buyer for the business and found one in Karl Scheufele. The Scheufele family has been in charge of the premium watch company since then.
Chopard And The Scheufelen Enter A New Era
The company began making jewelry with watches since the Scheufele family had a heritage in fine jewelry. However, like in 1976’s legendary Happy Diamonds series, these two interests frequently collided. The Happy Diamonds concept stays the same, even though it began as a men’s watch and is now a women’s line. Diamonds in a ring-shaped gold setting glide and spin freely beneath the watch crystal in this series.
The brand’s long-lasting automotive-themed sports watch series debuted in the following decade. The Italian endurance rally, the Mille Miglia, is named after the Mille Miglia collection, which features historic automobiles from before 1957.
When the company’s connection with the race formally began in 1988, it provided Mille Miglia watches for the first time. As a result, the watches’ style reflects this collaboration, with an appearance that resembles rubber bracelets with tire tread patterns and dashboard instruments.
Other Projects: The Chopard Group
Chopard’s offers as an independent watch manufacturer cover a wide variety of markets, therefore these different collections are created by several divisions and facilities. This brand is the company’s principal section, and it makes the majority of the completed timepieces and jewelry. Chopard Manufacture is the company’s oldest movement-making branch, and it produces conventional L.U.C. movements.
Fleurier Ebauches, the company’s movement-making division, was founded in 2008 to supersede off-the-shelf calibers in lower-midrange collections like Mille Miglia. The Fleurier Ébauches plant is highly automated, allowing it to produce high-quality motions at a lesser cost.
Lastly, Ferdinand Berthoud, the latest, debuted in 2013 as a high-end complexity watch spinoff. Ferdinand Berthoud watches, like L.U.C, include top-class, classic mechanics and finishes, but with a distinct feel and look. The name stems from the legendary genius who, at the age of 26, rose through the ranks of Louis XV’s court to become Master Watchmaker. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele created this brand, which takes inspiration and guidance from Berthoud’s words and creations.
Many of the timepieces are inspired by marine chronometers, and every watch under this company is a COSC-certified chronometer. Most versions feature separate dials for hours, minutes, and seconds since they use regulator displays.
Ethical Gold Sourcing
Chopard joined the Responsible Jewelry Council in 2010 and has subsequently taken several efforts to ensure that luxury materials are sourced ethically. The watchmaker identifies itself in the gold it utilizes, which is typical in the company’s premium offers. The business has been more involved with and supportive of ethical gold programs and initiatives around the world, including the Fairmined.
These projects are currently small-scale, and as a result, they do not meet the entire demand of the organization. Chopard employs Fairmined-certified mines for the majority of its needs and gold with a verifiable Chain of Custody for the balance. The company claimed in July 2018 that all the gold in its latest products is ethically sourced. Despite complaints of existing ethical gold standards, Chopard aims to adhere to the most severe gold standards possible.
In A Nutshell
This watchmaking house has evolved into an autonomous behemoth with an ever-expanding array of brands since its founding. Chopard currently has more material and creative freedom because it has moved most of its production in-house during the last few decades.