Chopard begins a new chapter of its Happy Sport collection as Co-President and Artistic Director, Caroline Scheufele partners with Hollywood icon Julia Roberts to mark the occasion
In 1993, Chopard’s Co-President and Artistic Director, Caroline Scheufele created a watch that would become an icon. The Happy Diamonds Sport which innovatively combined steel and diamonds was first coined by Caroline Scheufele’s mother, who exclaimed upon seeing them: “These diamonds are happier when they are free” as she witnessed the dancing diamonds around this watch. Created with happiness in mind, this watch has survived almost three decades, preserving its modernity and becoming an icon in its own right. This year, Happy Sport returns in the form of Happy Sport the First: two 1,993 and 788-piece limited-edition re-releases of the very first watch presented when the collection was launched, as well as the new Happy Sport 33mm which for the first time features a 33mm case, inspired by the ‘golden ration’ principles of aesthetic harmony.
The re-release pieces pay faithful homage to the icon thanks to its legendary diamonds and its “pebble-link” bracelet while adding major innovations: a new case in Lucent Steel A223 redesigned in a 33 mm diameter inspired by the principles of the golden ratio, as well as the Manufacture Chopard 09.01-C movement with automatic winding. In 1993 this modern watch was designed to accompany women in all their day-to-day activities from sports, to work to leisure and the decision to re-release it is perfectly aligned with the busy and multi-functional lives of women today.
Alongside the re-release pieces, the 33mm Happy Sport starts a new chapter of this icon. This watch is available in seven new references in a variety of models: four two-tone featuring a Lucent Steel A223 case embellished with ethical 18-carat rose gold, and three entirely crafted from ethical 18-carat rose gold, available on a leather strap or metal bracelet. An eighth version in ethical 18-carat white gold is entirely set with diamonds.
Feminine and playful, technical and precious, timeless and modern, the Happy Sport collection embodies the values of successful women today. And a collection such as this needs a successful woman to represent it. Caroline Scheufele chose Hollywood actress Julia Roberts to front the campaign for the collection. A contemporary icon whose powerful life force inspires her to respond to the world with her inimitable and never-failing smile, Roberts embodies the vision and values of this collection. We find out more about the campaign and the latest collection with Co-President and Artistic Director, Caroline Scheufele.
Why did you choose to work with Julia Roberts for the new Happy Sport campaign?
As we are celebrating happiness, my team said it would be nice to have an ambassador with a beautiful smile and immediately Julia Roberts popped into my mind because when you think of all the movies she has made and she always has this beautiful smile. I first met her in Cannes when she was wearing Chopard and she’s not just a happy face, she’s also a very positive and happy person from the inside. Everyone thought I was crazy because Julia never does anything for any brand, so we approached her and she loved the idea of having the diamonds dancing around and the whole concept, and here we are!
This watch is truly an icon…
Indeed, If you don’t reach for the stars you don’t get them!
Tell us about the new campaign and what you had in mind when putting it together.
Well, we have an icon (Julia Roberts) for an iconic watch. It’s something that has been around for 30 years but is as modern today as it was then. When I first designed the watch there were a lot of questions about how we could put diamonds into a steel case – it was something that you don’t do – but it has outlived generations and is attractive to all age groups. And this is why it can be called an icon. This is also why we chose Julia because she is someone that is known to all generations. Everyone has seen at least some of her movies. I think what makes something iconic is when something lasts and becomes special over time. It’s like the Coca-Cola bottle for example – you can take the sticker off and you still know it’s a Coca-Cola bottle – that’s a timeless and iconic design that no one would ever change. It’s is the same idea that we have with this watch.
What is the message you want people to get out of this campaign?
Well, we have Julia and a lot of other friends of the house who are involved. We held back for a year with this campaign because even though everything was ready to go, somehow it didn’t feel right to launch in the middle of a pandemic because it was not the time to put out a message that says “be happy”. But I think now is a moment where we are coming out of the tunnel, and it’s a time when people really want to enjoy life again. We are all trying to turn a page and be positive. Not forgetting to be careful and respectful of the rules. So I think now it is OK to send happy messages and that’s why we decided to launch now.
The Red Carpet high jewellery collection is something we look forward to every year – what can we expect to see from that collection this year?
Even in 2020 when we were in the middle of the pandemic, we launched the Red Carpet collection. Despite not having the pleasure of being in Cannes to share it personally with the world, we did it because it’s also important for the ateliers to have a goal. They are creative artists and they need to be creating, not working at home on a computer. So out of responsibility to the brand and my team and the artisans in the high jewellery department, we have to continue creating. So, for this year, I had the idea to create the collection under the theme of “paradise”. Last year we had the theme of nature and paradise is very close to this but when you think of paradise it can be a lot of different things. Everyone has their own paradise.
It’s amazing how your stories are so intertwined and interconnected each year and we know you have a love of nature, tell us a little about that.
Last year we worked on the theme of nature which is something so important to humans and we are realising that a lot of things have happened because we as humans are not respecting nature. So that nature collection was very much in the works before anybody was talking about COVID. I love to stay close to nature and I love it even more now because I’ve been able to finally enjoy my home, my dogs, and be in nature a lot more. I have been noticing things I haven’t seen before because I was always so busy going from one place to the next. I was always on the move. So for once, although I do miss the travelling, the last year has allowed me to have more time to see my parents and my family and to be even more inspired. I hope people will remember this time and think twice before taking actions in the future. Many positive things have come from this time and we are enjoying the little things so much more. So when I approached the team and told them about the idea for this year’s red carpet collection we realised that everyone has their own image of paradise, it’s much more than just the planet, it’s the universe, it’s about fairy-tales, it’s a poem, it’s a lot of things. So yes you can expect some very nice pieces.
What is a big challenge you have faced throughout this year and what do you have in mind on how to overcome it?
Of course, a lot of markets have been completely shut for most of the past year. But thankfully some markets are doing very well including the Middle East as well as China. Others like Europe are suffering because the shops have been shut for so long and no tourists have been coming. But we have implemented a lot of changes in the way we work. We have done a lot more sales online, we have more platforms to talk to clients over digital means, be it Zoom or WhatsApp. It’s completely different and we are using a lot of new technology which we have never had to use before because watch and jewellery making are very conservative compared to perhaps fashion which has already gone down that road. It is an emotional industry but there are ways that we can guide clients over digital means and then we send them the pieces and while they have it in their hands, someone else in another country in the boutique can explain in more details. So we’ve done a lot of crazy things actually that we would not have thought possible. If you had asked me two years ago if we would do these kinds of things I would have said it was insane, but I think human beings can adapt a lot. In situations like the pandemic often when things are over, you come out stronger. It depends a lot on mindset, but I think it’s also a time to sit back and think and have a new vision. You also realise what is important and what really matters and what is irrelevant. We know now that health is number one because if you’re not healthy, you can’t do anything, and I think we have had a bit of a wake-up call where the whole world has sort of stopped. Nobody was excluded from this situation, whether they are Royal or rich, this virus affected everyone, everywhere and nobody saw it coming. I hope when life goes on and starts again that people will be more human, listen to their surroundings and if they are in a fortunate position, help the less unfortunate than them
What is in the pipeline for Chopard in the Middle East?
Well apart from launching Happy Sport! It’s a very much-loved collection in the Middle East so there will be some unique pieces coming along with that. Then we have just had Watches & Wonders where we showed our latest novelties. The L.U.C collection for men is celebrating 25 years this year, so in autumn we’ll have a lot of buzz about the men’s mechanical world, and of course, we are going to paradise!
What is a message that you would like to send to your friends and clients in the Middle East?
First of all, I would like to thank them for always being very supportive of the brand and of course of myself. I will hopefully be able to astonish all of our fans and clients for the next decade to come and the real message is: be happy and stay safe. When I say happy it means to be happy with yourself, be nice to yourself, appreciate your family and your loved ones because that’s what really matters.
By Lara Mansour Sawaya