The world of Chopard
The renowned Swiss manufacturer of timepieces and jewellery has many distinctive features: remarkable quality, creativity and a successful blend of innovative design, modern technology and traditional craftsmanship.
The House of Chopard was founded 1860 in Sonvillier, in the Swiss Jura, by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. In the Nineteen sixties, his grandson Paul-André Chopard, was obliged to face the incontrovertible fact: none of his sons wanted to take over the family business. At the same time, Karl Scheufele, a young goldsmith and watchmaker in third generation from Pforzheim on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany and owner of "Karl Scheufele Ltd" was on the lookout for a potential acquisition of a Swiss watch manufacture. The two men soon realized that each one had exactly the right profile to suit the other. In 1963, nearly 100 years after the foundation of the watch manufacture Chopard, Paul-André Chopard sold out to Karl Scheufele. The young Scheufele modernised the company and laid the groundwork for a successful luxury business. Paul-André Chopard continued to work in the company until he passed away in 1968.
A family business par excellence
Chopard remains a completely independent family business in a rather globalized industry. Under the management of Karl and his wife Karin Scheufele and their two children Karl-Friedrich and Caroline, the actual co-presidents, the internationally renowned company has achieved breathtaking development and has become one of the leading names in high end watches and jewellery. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele is responsible for "Haute Joaillerie", design and creation of jewels and ladies timepieces, and also for the fragrances and elegant accessories divisions.
Moreover, she's overseeing the international retail business. Her elder brother, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, is in charge of the manufacture in Fleurier where mechanical L.U.C watch movements are entirely developed and produced. He is also responsible for the whole men's watch division and for all business management aspects. The family council meets regularly to discuss all corporate matters, ranging from strategy to new designs and products.
A lively and fruitful exchange of views takes place; sometimes surprises are in store, as on the occasion when Caroline turned up at the meeting with a little bag of pink diamonds. "At the time", she recalls, "I had an opportunity to buy these rare gemstones at a very favourable price. I had no idea how to use them in our collection of watches and jewellery. But when the bill turned up on my father's desk, I owed him an explanation". The pink brilliants were used to make the "La Vie en Rose" line, one of Chopard's most successful and unusual collections. In the modern production facilities of Pforzheim (Germany), Meyrin/Geneva and Fleurier (Switzerland) - all in constant expansion - many different skilled crafts are represented, including designers, watchmakers, goldsmiths, polishers, turners, toolmakers, jewellery setters and steel engravers. They work on jewellery pieces and watches with a great love of detail and the utmost precision.
"We have direct personal contacts with our staff members", Karl-Friedrich Scheufele points out, "and we are always available to discuss with them".
Quality, Creativity, Innovation Chopard - a vertically integrated company
As a long-established watch-maker Chopard has an integral respect for the traditions of its past as well as a deep understanding of the need for forward-thinking and innovation in the modern world. Central to its philosophy is the coupling of expert craftsmanship with unparalleled aesthetic appeal and as such it boasts an expert team from across forty-five professional disciplines in the Fleurier, Meyrin, and Pforzheim workshops.
Chopard's watchmakers, goldsmiths and jewelers are experts in their fields and accordingly from conception to creation each Chopard timepiece is the product of unique in-house know-how, painstaking attention to detail and an unyielding passion for watch-making. The end result is not only the creation of watches and jewels of an inimitable quality but also an enforcement of the strong verticalisation of the company itself, ensuring that Chopard's future will continue in the same spirit of creative individuality and independence for which it has become so well known. " Luxury is man-made"
Everything begins with an idea. A group of designer recruited from different fields (architecture, fashion, automotive) transfers the ideas of both co-presidents onto paper by hand: jewellery and high jewellery pieces, movements and watches. A great amount of know-how, creativity and sensibility are needed. Exact and often highly artistic sketches testify a masterful draftsman ship. The sketches serve as a basis for the management's decision about which items will be transformed intro three-dimensional reality. All new models are designed in-house.
Research and development - from computer drawing to prototypes
This department develops and conceives watch movements, cases and bracelets for new products. Highly specialised technicians, tracers and IT specialists create three-dimensional images. "Chopard Technologies" in Fleurier, a watchmaking laboratory, is an independent research and development entity of the Chopard Group and with own resources and staff members.
Preparation of raw materials - Gold melting
Chopard has its own gold melt, unlike most of the companies in the sector, and prepares alloys for white, yellow and rose gold. The entire preparation of raw materials takes place in the Chopard premises in Meyrin. Chopard only uses 18-carat gold.
Production of watch cases and bracelets
This domain includes the following professions: precision engineers, stamp makers, case engineers, watch case polishers, to name just a few.
Skilled watchmakers can typically manufacture many different parts of a watch. Four years of training are required to learn this highly specialised craft. Chopard has a 'complications» department and many of its mechanical timepieces feature the 'Poinçon de Genève», a reliable guarantee for quality and excellence as well as the COSC chronometer certificate.
Distinctive workshop and birthplace of one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces composed around stones of exceptional cut and quality such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies or emeralds. Characterised by a perfect blend of elegance, beauty, know-how and originality, the creations are among the most sophisticated and spectacular in the field of Haute Joaillerie. In much the same way as Haute Couture, the Chopard High Jewellery collections are distinguished by the extreme creativity and care that have governed the crafting of each model.
With all the above activities under one roof, Chopard bears the prestigious title of a "manufacture". Besides absolute product integrity, perfect quality and product diversity, Chopard gives a very special attention to in-house staff training on all levels and to the international after-sales service, an operational entity of its own.