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In 1860, a young craftsman named Louis-Ulysse Chopard opened a workshop in the Swiss village of Sonvilier. It was there that Chopard began to sell his handcrafted watches, which quickly gained a reputation for precision and reliability. Buyers from all over the world travelled to Chopard’s shop to buy his creations. Decades later, in 1921, Louise-Ulysse’s son Paul Louis would relocate the business to La Chaux-de-Fonds, and then to Geneva in 1937. This last move was made to establish the business in the world’s capital of fine watchmaking. Shortly thereafter, in 1943, Louis-Ulysse’s grandson Paul André took over the booming family business.
In 1963, Paul André met Karl Scheufele, a descendent of German watchmakers. Scheufele bought the company from Paul André and further developed the brand by modernizing the watch designs and adding a luxury jewelry component. In the mid-1970s, Chopard had added a line of luxury women’s timepieces, and by 1976 the brand’s Happy Diamond collection was released. This collection featured watches with diamonds that moved between sapphire crystals as part of the watch mechanism. And by the 1980s, Chopard released a line of sports watches with leather straps. This decade also saw the expansion of the business, with boutiques opening in Vienna and Hong Kong.
In 1985, Karl Scheufele’s sister Caroline joined him in running the company. Caroline sketched a clown with hinged legs and a stomach full of diamonds and brightly colored stones; this sketch would become the iconic logo for the brand’s first line of luxury jewelry, the Happy Diamonds collection. By 1988, Chopard formed a partnership with the famous classic car rally Mille Miglia, creating a sports watch collection for them that become a tradition, with special edition timepieces released every year. The Chopard name was increasingly becoming known for premium sports watches. As a result, the brand would successfully release their Happy Sport collection in 1993.
In the year 1996, the Chopard company created the revolutionary mechanical watch movement, the calibre 1.96, which was considered by experts to be the finest watch movement ever produced. And by 2000, Chopard released the L.U.C Quattro, a technologically advanced watch with four barrels and an extended power reserve. A year later, the brand’s self-winding L.U.C Tonneau watch was released. Other popular watch designs of the early 2000’s include the Chopard Tourbillon, the L.U.C. Regulateur, and the L.U.C. Lunar One (which included a display of the moon’s phases). Later in the decade, the L.U.C Engine One Tourbillon, the L.U.C Tribute to Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the L.U.C 1937, and the L.U.C All in One would be released. To this day, Chopard is known for the beauty and value of its timepieces, and remains one of the benchmarks for precision timekeeping and high-quality jewelry.