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Five Minutes with… Caroline Scheufele

Chopard co-president and artistic director speaks with Centurion magazine about the brand’s latest timepiece

Credit: Shayne Laverdière

Easy to wear, sporty, chic, a watch that women could wear all day, whether at the gym, a business meeting, or for after-hours tipples at a chic cocktail bar. This was the original Chopard Happy Sport, a timepiece designed by a woman, for women, and brainchild of the maison’s fêted co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele back in 1993. The unexpected piece was a revolution in horology circles, not only because of its designer but also because of the watch’s DNA: steel and diamonds – a watchmaking first. Now, nearly thirty years later, Scheufele has returned to the original Happy Sport design to create a new, finely tuned model for the next generation.


We caught up with Caroline ahead of the release to talk about her new collection.


Since its launch in 1993, the Happy Sport watch has generated an array of interpretations, becoming one of collectors’ favourite ladies’ timepieces. What made you want to re-release the very first model after nearly 30 years?


Happy Sport has survived almost three decades while preserving every ounce of its charm and modernity, and therefore this icon deserves to be paid a faithful homage, thanks to its dancing diamonds and its "pebble-link" bracelet, whilst adding major innovations such as a new case redesigned in a 33mm diameter, which is the perfect size. I felt that after the tough times we all went through, it was the right moment to relaunch this piece that perfectly represents a carefree joie de vivre, something to make women smile whilst checking the time.


One of these innovations is in the watches’ proportions. Can you explain how this mathematical balance has influenced the look of this new version?


The new Happy Sport watches feature a 33mm-diameter case of perfect proportions inspired by the “golden ratio” principles of aesthetic harmony and is particularly well suited to the female wrist. Since antiquity, this mathematical formula of ideal balance, reproducing the harmony occurring in nature, has been observed in science as well as art and architecture. The artists of the Renaissance even called it the “divine proportion”.


The Happy Sport was the first timepiece mingling steel and diamonds. How did you stumble upon this (at that time) ground-breaking combination?


We captured the spirit of the times by imagining a sports watch during an era when it was considered unthinkable to combine the precious nature of diamonds with a metal as sporty as steel. In 1993, watches with precious stones were necessarily in gold; a steel watch wouldn’t bear any precious stones as it was considered a sporty watch, so it wouldn’t have needed to be sophisticated. Therefore, I took the innovative approach of combining them for the first time in the history of watchmaking; women were then able to wear their sporty watch days and evenings! The inspiration stemmed from the lifestyle of a modern versatile woman; versatile in the way that she can throw on a pair of jeans during the day and dress up in an evening gown at night while wearing the same Happy Sport.


When I presented the Happy Sport concept, there was a lot of resistance … Almost 30 years later, history has proven me right, confirming that you must always believe in your vision and dreams. I was driven by the conviction that ladies’ watchmaking needed a breath of fresh air. As a woman, I wanted a watch that went beyond the purely functional or decorative aspect.


Do you think that your foresight, and the fact that a woman designed it, have played a role in the success of the Happy Sport?


I think it helped, yes, as when it came to designing these timepieces, I really understood the vision and wanted it to be as relatable and versatile as possible to every type of woman. Nowadays, women have so many facets to their lives: they are entrepreneurs, mothers, wives and partners, sports enthusiasts, opinion-leaders … Women want it all, and they need every minute of their lives.  Happy Sport reflects these women and their way of life: strong yet precious, sporty yet also very feminine. This similarity enables our clients to feel a natural attraction with this creation made with them in mind.


Back in the 1990s, I read a story that a workshop foreman warned you that it would be impossible to create a watch with dancing diamonds, adding that he’d give you one rose for each watch you managed to sell. How big was that bouquet? 


As I mentioned, there was some strong scepticism when I first presented the Happy Sport design – in fact, the head of the workshop at the time did promise me a rose for each one sold, confident that there wouldn’t be many. But I stood my ground, and my parents were very supportive – the result speaks for itself. The watch has been a commercial success since its beginnings, and I am always thrilled when I see young women come into our boutiques to treat themselves to their first Happy Sport – a memento of the one worn and cherished by their mother and grandmother before them. 


So, yes, I can’t help but smile every time I think of the magnificent rose bush I planted in my garden as a playful nod to the original head of the workshop … 

Credit: Shayne Laverdière


You chose Julia Roberts as the face of the new model. Can you explain why?


Who better to embody joie de vivre than the Hollywood star with the world’s most radiant smile? Her charisma, her spontaneity, her boldness, her bursts of laughter and her actions on behalf of women's and children's rights make her a universally adored actress. I still remember the first time I watched Erin Brockovich, where Julia took on the role of a dramatic heroine and a free-spirited, determined woman. Across generations and natural borders, the name Julia Roberts evokes a uniquely positive universal feeling. 


What makes a timepiece iconic?


I think a timepiece achieves iconic status when it endures through the eras, transcending fashions and trends to appeal to successive generations of women. I wished to create a watch with a unique design that would stand the test of time and become genuinely timeless. 


Happy Sport is also an icon because it perfectly embodies our family maison’s DNA: stand-out style, originality and ultra-modern creativity that disrupts traditional codes.



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