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La Maison

Chopard's History

La Maison

Chopard's History

Image of Elaborate engravings being done on watch movement
Image of Elaborate engravings being done on watch movement
Image of Louis Ulysse Chopard

Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the Founder

Louis-Ulysse Chopard (1836-1915), the son of a farmer from Sonvilier, he quickly conquered Switzerland and the world at the age of 24. The artisan watchmaker created works of art with innovative designs, which early on helped him export to such illustrious places as the court of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Qualities like precision and reliability were very sought-after characteristics in watches, dating all the way back to the 19th century. With unique chronometers and pocket watches, Louis-Ulysse Chopard aimed to fulfill and exceed these "desires".
Image of Louis Ulysse Chopard and his workshop

19th century watch creations by Chopard

Thanks to its superb timekeepers, Chopard forged itself a reputation for reliable and high quality Swiss-made watches. From the start, Chopard won two very prestigious commissions, becoming the official provider of watches for «Tir Fédéral» and the Swiss Railway Company. Louis-Ulysse Chopard travelled to Russia, making his way through Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was one of his clients. He also struck business with a number of Scandinavian retailers who self-branded his timepieces. Chopard watches thus penetrated the international market.
Vintage logo of Chopard LUC watches

Sonvilier: the essence of Swiss watchmaking

In Sonvilier, as throughout the Swiss Jura region, local farmers would complement their meager winter income by assembling watches according to a well established custom that saw watchmaking production tasks being allocated to small independent and specialized units. The components would then be collected -in the case of Chopard by the master watchmaker himself- to then be assembled and fine tuned into the finished product.
Image of Chopard workshop building in Sonvilier Switzerland

From the Swiss Jura to Geneva under the aegis of Paul-Louis Chopard

Paul-Louis Chopard (1859-1940), Louis-Ulysse's son, took over the company reins in 1915 and opened a branch in the nearby industrial town of La-Chaux-de-Fonds that would later become the company seat. A few years later, in 1937, he relocated the company to Geneva, the international watchmaking and business center.
Image of Paul Andre Chopard as a boy

Paul-André Chopard

Paul-André Chopard (1898-1968), son of Paul-Louis, took over from his father in 1943. The after-war period proved challenging and the company, which by then only had five employees, was on the decline. In the 1960s, Paul-André started considering selling his company as none of his sons were keen to follow after him.
Vintage Image of Paul Andre Chopard & Family
Image of Karl Scheufele on the phone

The Karl Scheufele Company and the takeover of Chopard

At the same time in Pforzheim, Germany, Karl-Scheufele III, goldsmith and watchmaker, son and grandson of entrepreneurs, was seeking to develop ESZEHA, the jewelry and watch company he owned. Reliant on suppliers for his watch movements, he considered acquiring a Swiss manufacturer. With this goal in mind, he published an advertisement in the newspapers and went to Geneva to meet potential leads. On the last day of his trip he contacted the last name on his list and met Paul-André Chopard. Karl Scheufele knew from that instant that they were meant to get along; thirty minutes later, the deal was sealed.
Image of The Scheufeles by a desk
Image of Karin Scheufele working on a piece

Karl Scheufele III and his wife Karin

In 1957, the young Karl married Karin Ruf. Her father, Fritz Ruf, was a dynamic entrepreneur and proved a key supporter of the young couple's success. Acquiring a manufacturer offered the goldsmiths of Pforzheim the opportunity to join the closed circle of major Swiss watchmakers. Thanks to his commercial acumen and passion for travel inherited from his father and grandfather, Karl Scheufele III would go on to lift Chopard out of its lethargy and build an empire.
Sketch of vintage watches
Close up Photo of Co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

The Scheufele Family heirs

Chopard is one of the last family-run watchmaking and jewelry companies. Since the 1980s, Karl and Karin’s children Caroline and Karl-Friedrich have played an active part in the company. Caroline and Karl-Friedrich are Chopard’s current Co-Presidents. They each have shown their independence: Caroline Scheufele, who is responsible of the ladies’ collections, developed the jewelry section and later the high-end jewelry department while her brother Karl-Friedrich, who managed the men's collections, developed sports watches during the 1980s and the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, which produces the L.U.C movements, in the 1990s.
Photo of Co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele