2 September 2020
Any quest to flirt with the impossible, to create the most perfect possible timepieces and Haute Joaillerie sets, necessarily begins with A to Z mastery of the creative and production processes. Such was the intention of Chopard Co-Presidents Caroline and Karl Friedrich Scheufele, and of their parents before them, in gradually developing the workshops and integrating all the skills required to achieve excellence: from gold smelting to gemsetting, from movement decoration to case engraving, as well as the ateliers where Grand Complications are created.
A visit to the Maison’s Haute Joaillerie workshops provides a golden opportunity to discover the different stages in the creation of the most beautiful of all. It all begins with a sketch – which jewellers refer to as the gouache painting – followed by a 3D construction and sculpture, before moving on to the actual crafting of the jewellery piece as well as its gemsetting. The latter naturally implies the essential prior choice of precious stones, which is the realm of Caroline Scheufele, who has been in love with gems since her childhood. She always looks for the most beautiful, the rarest, the most mysterious, the most deeply cherished, those that move and inspire her.
The Artisans exercising their craft in the dedicated workshops possess unrivalled expertise: it is here that the famous L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater with its crystal gong, as well as the Maison’s tourbillons and many other complications mastered by Chopard, are assembled.
Located in Fleurier, in the Val-de-Travers, Chopard Manufacture was founded nearly 25 years ago, in 1996. It symbolises the story of a dream come true: that of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Chopard’s Co-President wanted to make an authentic return to the heart of watchmaking and of the Maison’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, Fleurier in the mountains of Neuchâtel . A place where artisans would ply their trade in keeping with the purest watchmaking traditions, using contemporary tools. Offering an unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains, the workshops encompass the full spectrum of watchmaking professions: stamping, decoration, assembly, the Grand Complications atelier... Eager to revive a forgotten tradition, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele allowed an artist to train in Fleurisanne engraving, inviting her to engrave certain movements with delicate floral and ornamental decorations, whereas case engraving is done in Geneva.
Also in Fleurier, beneath a huge beam resembling an upside-down ship’s bow, like a proud space-time vessel, lies a museum dedicated to the history of time: the L.U.CEUM. Because that is, after all, what it is all about: time. Time that passes and time that is measured; the time required to make the most extraordinary timepieces and jewellery; as well as the time that has enabled Chopard to earn its place within the hall of fame of present and future watchmakers and jewellers.
For the very first time, Chopard has decided to open the doors of its Watch and Jewellery Workshops to shine the spotlight on its Artisans. In a gentle blend of humility and pride in a job well done, these men and women of character reveal the secret of their know-how, simultaneously revealing the exceptional dimension of both their artistic approach and their genius. The heart and soul of the Maison's workshops, these "Mains d’Art" are the creators of the Emotions which give Chopard its reputation for craftsmanship, innovation and respect for tradition.