The dazzling story of Chopard's most acclaimed watch with the 'dancing diamonds' Was conceived in Germany's picturesque Black Forest. Taking a stroll through the deep, dark woods, designer Ronald Kurowski came upon a waterfall and was fascinated by the light reflecting off the droplets.
He decided to create a similar effect with free-moving diamonds on the dial of a watch. As elementary as it may sound, the idea posed a serious technical challenge— the floating diamonds could scratch the dial’s surface and make it all look gimmicky.
Kurowski had already registered the idea at the Golden Rose design competition and had to deliver the piece within three months. He fitted the cushion-shaped watch with ETA’s slim 2442 movement and draped the diamonds in thin sheaths of smooth, white gold. The sheaths, with their round edges and a downward curve, helped the diamonds move uninhibitedly without causing any deleterious damage to the dial. The timepiece made its debut as a men’s watch and won the Golden Rose in 1976.
The following year, Chopard exhibited the watch as a unique piece at Baselworld and was flooded with orders from across the globe. The owners, the Scheufeles, called it the “Happy Diamonds” watch and sold more than 10,000 pieces in the first year itself.
Though the first Happy Diamonds was a men’s watch, it initiated Chopard’s foray into jewellery. In 1985, Caroline Scheufele, the brand’s co-
president, created her first Happy Diamond jewellery piece in the form of a clown with a transparent tummy filled with moving diamonds and other precious stones. This marked the beginning of the brand’s resounding success in the business of high jewellery. From the quirky Animal World collection to the responsibly mined gold and emerald haute joaillerie pieces, Chopard has had a sparkling journey so far.
Bringing together disparate ideas and creating beautiful statement pieces is Caroline Scheufele’s speciality. In 1993, Scheufele decided to introduce the spinning, twirling ‘happy’ diamonds in a steel watch. Designed as an everyday wear, the Happy Sport was a roaring success. This year, Chopard celebrated the 25th anniversary of the watch with an in-house movement made exclusively for the Happy Sport. “The watch was a huge success since the beginning because it is distinctive, original, versatile, playful, sporty, very feminine and, most importantly, it is filled with joie de vivre,” says Scheufele. “I created the Happy Sport with an improbable idea of combining diamonds with a metal as sporty as steel, and it soon turned out to be an iconic collection! I wanted to change the idea that diamonds were reserved only for formal occasions and created a watch one could wear every day—paired with jeans, trainers, stilettos or any office look. Happy Sport is unique because it accompanies women in pursuing their dreams, throughout the many facets of their lives.”
While steel watches are making a huge comeback in the industry now, Happy Sport was an exceptional timepiece back in the 1990s, when women swore by diamond-dripping gold watches and bracelets. Over the years, the collection has seen several variations, including a tourbillon
jewellery watch launched in 2014. From moving snowflakes, stars or the Palme d’Or on the dial, the collection has redefined sports watches with its daring and playful variations. “While the first Happy Sport watch featured a pure, classic style, with its white dial, Roman numerals and minutes track circled by seven round diamonds, over the course of more than 25 years, we have done many variations in materials, shapes, colours, gem-settings and complications,” says Scheufele. “With the Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie, I wanted to honour both worlds that our maison masters—haute horlogerie and haute joaillerie. I borrowed a beautiful mechanical L.U.C movement from my brother Karl-Friedrich and created this unique watch, entirely gem-set, driven by a L.U.C 02.16-L tourbillon movement developed and created by the Chopard Manufacture and bearing both COSC and Poinçon de Genève certifications.”
This year, Chopard has taken the Happy Sport to another level with a celebratory timepiece fitted with a self-winding manufacture movement. Equipped with Calibre 09.01-C, the new model, with a mother-of-pearl dial, is available in blue, pink or white, with roman numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The watch boasts a power reserve of 42 hours and comes in an enticing gem-set steel case. The variations include a pink dial with a steel and rose gold case, a white dial paired with a rose gold case, with or without gems, and the blue dial with a gem-set steel case. Each watch is fitted on an alligator leather strap in lovely lavender blue, pink or white. “The new model has been extremely well received around the world. Women love this precious and delicate touch with the pastel-coloured textured mother-of-pearl dial, and they can admire the beautiful 09.01C movement from the caseback. It is our first in-house movement for the Happy Sport 30mm,” says Scheufele.
The anniversary specials at Chopard also include four other stunning models—the Happy Palm, Happy Fish, Happy Snowflakes and the Happy Sport Joaillerie. “Each of these masterpieces has been created with varying inspirations, but they remain true to the vibrant symbol that epitomises the Happy Sport. We also have the Oval, which is very feminine and fits perfectly on a smaller and delicate wrist,” says Scheufele, who counts the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier as another big hit from Chopard’s range of complicated timepieces for ladies. “From the 2015 edition of the L.U.C XPS 35mm Esprit De Fleurier to this year’s launch of the L.U.C XP Esprit De Fleurier Peony, each year, we strive to elevate and innovate our creations. Besides watches made of gold or platinum, I feel, women will always enjoy steel watches, especially those with trendy, two-tone bracelets in steel and gold.”