Chopard: A History of High Quality Jewels and Jeweled Watches

Founded by watchmakers

Chopard Family
Source: Chopard

Chopard is internationally renowned for its high quality jewels and jeweled watches. Established in 1860, Louis-Ulysse Chopard created a watchmaking factory, in Sonvillier, Switzerland, at the age of 24, encouraged by his father, a farmer, Lucien Chopard.

Louis-Ulysse Chopard combined unique designs and precision watches. He soon presented his collections to international clients, visiting countries like Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands in 1912 and earned immediate recognition.

Karl Scheufele
Karl Scheufele, source: Chopard

In 1937, Chopard relocated to the heart of Haute Horlogerie quarters in Geneva. In 1943, Louis-Ulysse’s grandson, Paul André took over the company. Twenty years later, at the age of 70, Louis André Chopard was keen to sell his company. At the same time, Karl Scheufele III, descendant of German watchmakers and jewelers from Pforzheim, Germany, made it public he wished to purchase a Swiss manufacturing company. The decision to buy Chopard happened very quickly, “After half an hour of conversation, I knew it was the right choice “says Scheufele. As an independently owned company, Chopard has continued to grow as an international jeweler and watchmaking leader.

In 1974, when Chopard relocated to the Meyrin-Geneva site, on the outskirts of Geneva, its effort focused on women’s jewelry and watches.

The corporate woman
Working Girl
Working Girl

The 1980s saw big changes for women in their social and professional roles. This was the time of big hair, big shoulder pads and big money. After the Art Déco period- when women came out of men’s shadow following the First World War- the women’s empowerment movement culminated in the 1980s. Women were now well respected in the workplace and taking on roles traditionally held by men. Naturalistic and flowy dresses gave way to tailored jackets, blazers and shoulder pads. While remaining feminine and glamourous, outfits were masculine, structured and uncomplicated.

Madonna, Material Girl
Madonna, Material Girl

Madonna said it in her 1984 album: it was a decade of accessories for the Material Girl.
Chopard, enclosed between two sapphire crystals, loose diamonds are free to move around the dial
Source: Chopard, enclosed between two sapphire crystals, loose diamonds are free to move around the dial

The busy executive woman no longer had time to waste with long sautoirs of the 1970s.

A seed pearl, ruby and diamond sautoir, Bulgari, circa 1970
Source: Sotheby’s, A seed pearl, ruby and diamond sautoir, Bulgari, circa 1970, sold for CHF 50,000, 13th May 2014

Jewels had to be functional, practical but elegant and synonymous of power and wealth. Chopard embraced this choice of luxury jewelry and watches. It was then that Ronald Kurowski created a new line of jeweled watches, the “Happy Diamond” collection.

As diamonds move freely, sparkling and reflecting light, accurate timekeeping is ensured by Chopard’s tradition of excellence in watchmaking.

chopard jewellerychopard pendantchopard brooch
Source: Chopard

As the collection became more and more successful, Chopard designers further developed it and adapted it to jewelry such as rings, pendants and brooches.

chopard Happy Sport watch
Source: Chopard

In 1993, the luxury functionality of the “Happy Diamonds” was taken one step further with the creation of the “Happy Sport” collection. The same principle applied: loose diamonds within a watch’s dial but modified slightly to give it a sporty powerful edge. Rubber strap for example is one of the materials used in this collection.

Global Expansion, Innovation and Recognition

In 1983, Chopard opened its first store in Asia, in Hong Kong and three years later, in Geneva.

With an established international recognition and clientele, Chopard returned to the Jura area of Switzerland in 1996 and was dedicated to refining the “L.U.C” (Louis-Ulysse Chopard) movements. A year later they were awarded the “Watch of the Year” by Swiss magazine Montres Passion.

Chopard. Discover the making of the Palme d’Or
Source: Chopard. Discover the making of the Palme d’Or on

In 1998, Chopard became the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival, designing the Palme d’Or, which every film director hopes to win one day. Caroline Scheufele was asked to redesign the Palme: the golden stalk now ended with a heart-shape – one of the company’s symbol – and the palm rests on an emerald-cut crystal echoing a diamond.

Julia Roberts wearing a chopard emerald and diamond pendant necklace

Julia Roberts at the 2016 Cannes festival wearing no shoes but a Chopard emerald and diamond pendant necklace.

Following last year’s outrage that women in flat shoes were turned away from the Red carpet, Julia Robert’s decision to wear Chopard seemed to be the clear choice. Chopard embraced women’s empowerment in the 1980s and has once again been the preferred jeweler of influential women.

Chopard is no stranger to the motion picture awards. Since 2004, 13 Oscar winners have worn Chopard jewels such as:

Charlize Theron wearing chopard jewellery
Charlize Theron, 2004

Helen Mirren with her chopard jewellery
Helen Mirren, 2007

2004 – Charlize Theron, Best Actress, Monster
2005 – Hilary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby
2006 – Rachel Weisz, Best Supporting Actress, The Constant Gardener
2007 – Helen Mirren, Best Actress, The Queen
2008 – Marion Cotillard, Best Actress, La Vie en Rose
2009 – Kate Winslet, Best Actress, The Reader
2009 – Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2010 – Mo’Nique, Best Supporting Actress, Precious
2011 – Colin Firth, Best Actor, The King’s Speech
2012 – Michel Hazanavicius, Best Director, The Artist
2013 – Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook
2014 – Cate Blanchett, Best Actress, Blue Jasmine
2014 – Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club
2015 – Julianne Moore, Best Actress, Still Alice
2015 – Eddie Redmayne, Best Actor, The Theory of Everything

With over 150 years of experience in luxury watchmaking and fine jewelry, Chopard has adapted and innovated, creating daring combinations of jewelry and watches which have become their signature pieces and most popular designs. Over the decades, Chopard has been able to reinvent itself always with the same elegant style without ever neglecting quality and refinement. To perpetuate this unique know-how, Chopard trains 25 apprentices in the art of watchmaking each year.

Related Posts

Mauboussin: Defining Art Deco Jewellery

Luxury Watches and Women

Patek Philippe – Highlights of Watch-Making Excellence

About the Author:

Aurelia writes about jewelry trends for Borro Private Finance.