Chopard Demonstrates That True Luxury Is A Harmony Of Ethics And Artisans
Prestige Singapore|November 2020
From sourcing and gold smelting to design and assembly, Chopard demonstrates that true luxury is a harmony of ethics and artisans, writes Justin Ng.
Justin Ng

Very few watch manufactures have as much quality control over their own creations as Chopard. The maison also stands out for its complete mastery of horology. Founded by Louis-Ulysse Chopard in 1860 as an artisanal purveyor of unique chronometers and pocket watches, the house today is a collective of artisans, overseen by the Scheufele family. By virtue of being independent and family-run, Chopard has paved the way for the watch industry as a luminary with an unyielding passion for ethical luxury.

Thanks to its vertical integration, the Chopard Manufacture can perform – without external reliance – movement construction and adjustment, product design, gold smelting, case stamping and machining, traditional handcrafted decorative arts, surface treatments, polishing, assembly and quality control. In short, it can execute each step of the watchmaking process from start to finish, including where the case material is sourced.

This level of self-sustainability wasn’t born overnight. The groundwork had been laid over a long period of time. In 1978, Karl Scheufele envisioned the vertical integration of production, starting with the smelting of gold. Not merely content with vertical integration, Chopard injects it with purpose and greater good.

Located in Fleurier, the Chopard Manufacture was founded back in 1996. Its establishment was at the behest of the brand’s co-president and Karl senior’s son, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who wanted Chopard to return to its roots at the heart of Neuchâtel, where artisans honour watchmaking traditions with the use of contemporary tools.

The younger Scheufele even went so far as to revive the rare technique of Fleurisanne engraving, approving an artist to train in the lost art and inviting her to engrave certain movements with delicate floral and ornamental decorations.

Chopard embarked on the journey to sustainable luxury in 2013. The ambitious commitment, developed from a sense of humility, has driven the maison to make a positive, profound impact in the luxury industry fraught with social and environmental challenges, faced especially by the forgotten actors in the supply chain.

From the outset, Chopard was unequivocal in the formalisation and implementation of this ambition in its business practices and operations. It had to be done in accordance with compliance rules, and verified regulations and standards. Policies were communicated to all involved, including raw material suppliers, communities in which the company operates, consumers who purchase final products, and anyone in between. Working together with a dedicated sustainability manager is a centralised raw material procurement team based in Geneva that was formed specifically for this purpose.

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