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History

Louis-Ulysse Chopard established L.U.C in the Swiss village of Sonvillier in 1860. The company quickly became known for its beautifully crafted, ultra-thin and highly precise pocket watches. These were sold throughout Europe, including to Tsar Nicholas II.

Chopard remained a family firm until 1963 when it was sold to Karl Scheufele III, the third generation of a German watchmaking dynasty who wished to become more prominent in watchmaking. This acquisition gave new impetus to Chopard which became an established name in both jewellery and watchmaking. Its high-level manufacturing capacities are shared between Geneva and Fleurier (Val de Travers). 

Fully aware that an independent company must rely on its own resources, in 1996 Chopard set up facilities to manufacture its own mechanical timepieces. While firmly attached to its traditional values, the company looks to the future with confidence.



Key dates

24 year-old Louis-Ulysse Chopard (1836-1915) creates his L.U.C manufactory in Sonvilier, Switzerland. To distinguish himself from his numerous competitors, he chooses to focus on making finely crafted ultra-thin high-precision pocket-watches intended for daily wear. He travels across Eastern Europe, Russia and Scandinavia to win customers, becoming a supplier to Tsar Nicholas II.

Karl Scheufele I (1877-1941) founds a company in Pforzheim, Germany, specialising in jewellery watches distributed under the Eszeha brand name. He invents a special clip device serving to attach a pocket-watch to the wrist thanks to an innovative system patented in 1912. His son, Karl Scheufele II (1907-1966) is to take over the firm after World War I, before passing it on in 1958 to 20 year-old Karl III, the founder's grandson.

After the death of Louis-Ulysse, his son Paul-Louis (1959-1940) continues to develop Chopard. He opens a subsidiary company in La Chaux-de-Fonds, which becomes the corporate headquarters in the following year.

The company moved to Geneva, the world capital of watchmaking, where Paul-André Chopard (1898-1968), grandson of Louis-Ulysse, carried on the family tradition. However, none of his sons were inclined to take over the firm.

Karl Scheufele III was convinced of the need to equip his watches with their own movements. He advertised his wish to acquire a Swiss movement manufacturer and visited a number of companies. After several unsuccessful attempts, he finally managed to make an appointment with Paul-André Chopard. The two men hit it off immediately, and reached an agreement there and then.

Karl Scheufele III bought Chopard and began manufacturing watches equipped with top quality movements. The company expanded, and new production facilities were built in Pforzheim and in Meyrin-Genève. Chopard's original watches were enormously successful.

Karl Scheufele buys up Chopard and creates watches equipped with high-quality calibres. The company grows and new production premises are built in Pforzheim and Meyrin-Geneva. Chopard's highly original watches are a great success.

1976 sees the birth of the Happy Diamonds concept which is to make an indelible imprint on contemporary jewellery. It sets the scene for diamonds held between two sapphire crystals and moving freely around the dial.

Against all expectations, Chopard unveiled a sports watch, St. Moritz, the first to be designed for Chopard by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, then aged 22. This line of water-resistant, sport-chic watches was proposed in steel and in 18k gold. Equipped with a self-winding movement and available in men's and ladies' versions, including a chronograph, the St. Moritz captured the mood of the times, and lent itself to both casual and formal occasions.

The first model drawn for Chopard by Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, the clown symbolises the brand's new jewellery-minded orientation. This creation also heralds the company's development in the field of marketing, communication and distribution.

Thanks to creative models stemming from Caroline's daring and talented approach to design. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele were appointed vice-presidents, before subsequently taking over joint presidency of the company.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele shares his father's passion for classic cars. 1988 sees the start of the partnership between Chopard and the Mille Miglia legendary vintage car rally. Chopard creates the 1000 Miglia watch collection distinguished by its resolutely sporting lines, whose sporting design is regularly revisited in new models. Together with the Jacky Ickx and Grand Prix de Monaco Historique models, it will later form the Classic Racing collection, thereby perpetuating the alliance between the world of automobiles and high-precision watchmaking.

Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele’s favourite, the Happy Sport watch line makes a memorable impact on its era. It becomes the first watch daring to combine steel and diamonds within an innovative global concept. It has remained one of the watch industry's enduring success stories ever since.The concept is interpreted in a wide variety of shapes and materials and features a constantly renewed design that continues to surprise aficionados by its originality and its decidedly contemporary spirit.

Chopard brings the splendours of the French empire back to life. Echoing the diamond-pavé watches that asserted Chopard's originality in the 1970s, a new jewellery-watch is born. The Impériale collection comprises a series of round or square, chronograph, and/or gem-set watches for both men and women.

Chopard returns to its roots. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele founds a watch manufacture dedicated to the production of high-precision movements in Fleurier, in the Jura mountains.

Since then, nine lines of complete calibres have been created. In parallel, Karl Scheufele and José Carreras jointly create a line of limited-edition watches from which the proceeds are devoted to the latter's fight against leukaemia.

Chopard became an official partner of the Cannes Film Festival.

Presentation of the Quattro calibre with four barrels. Contemporary watches began to integrate hand-wound movements with extended power reserves.

Presentation of the Calibre 02.01 (L.U.C 2.01) tourbillon.

Launch of the Happy Spirit collection.

30th anniversary of the Happy Diamonds collection. Ten years since the opening of the L.U.C Manufacture. Inauguration of the L.UCEUM, Chopard's museum in Fleurier.

During this year, which is marking the 60th birthday of the Cannes International Film Festival and the 10th anniversary of its partnership with Chopard, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele – who had launched this successful association by redesigning the Palme d'Or – presents the first Red Carpet collection comprising 60 Haute Joaillerie creations.

In keeping with its determination to achieve vertical integration, Chopard has created Fleurier Ebauches, an entity owned by the Chopard group and producing watch movements blanks in order to enhance verticalisation and increase its movement and key components.

Baselworld presentation of the L.U.C 8HF, first ever high frequency escapement (8 Hertz) watch to be COSC certified.

Launch of the Happy Sport Medium Automatic to mark the 20th anniversary of the Happy Sport. Part of the Classic Racing collection, the Superfast line extends to steel after models in gold. The movements that drive these next-generation timepieces are developed and manufactured by Fleurier Ebauches.

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