Prestige issue 284, June 2017
Cheerful, natural, spontaneous, Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director of Maison Chopard, an independent family company with subsidiaries in over 100 countries and close to 2000 employees, runs the world implementing the luxury brand in all major cities. The watchmaking world has marked the childhood of Caroline, daughter of the industrialist Karl Scheufele, heir of a dynasty of watchmakers and jewelers from Pforzheim, Germany, who bought in 1963 the house of Chopard. A happy childhood for Caroline, cradled between school, home and manufacture, piano and classical dance. At the age of 14, she is an intern at the Ecole Internationale professionnelle in Geneva, and specializes in jewelry and gemology design before joining the family business. Today Karl Scheufele’s family, his wife Karin and his children Caroline and Karl-Friedrich perpetuate the rich heritage of the brand. Confidences of Caroline to Prestige.
«Chopard is a family owned and independent company, our main strength»
Caroline Scheufele, you are co-president and artistic director of Chopard, which function do you like most? Which is the hardest? The role of Artistic Director is an integral part of my role as Co-Chair. Both functions are very inspiring. Indeed, as an artistic director, I like to create and push the limits further. We are a strong and dynamic team, ready to face all sorts of challenges. From the creation of various trophies such as the Palme d’Or, the Chopard Trophy or the Academician’s Sword, to the 70 pieces of the Red Carpet Collection for the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, we are in perpetual project design!
How do you assess the evolution of the watch industry over the past 20 years? What impressed you mostly? The growing interest of women for complications and great complications! We have noticed in recent years that they wanted more than a quartz movement in their watches. In 2013, for the 20 years of the Happy Sport model, we presented our first models of this collection with a mechanical movement. It was a great success! Speaking of great complication, I never separated from my Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie which is always a great success with our customers!
In January, Chopard unveiled the exceptional Haute Joaillerie collection The Garden of Kalahari, from a rare diamond of 342 carats, the diamond The Queen of Kalahari. Can you tell us about the adventure of this diamond? The raw diamond was discovered at the mine in Karowe, Botswana. I received a call telling me that they had found an exceptional stone and immediately jumped into a plane. It took me two days to get there! Once there, the atmosphere was very special and I realized it was an incredible diamond, of unparalleled beauty and purity. I wished to give a fate worthy of his stature to this incomparable crude. So I chose to have it not cut into a single stone of the largest possible size, but to decline it in the classic stone sizes: shiny, heart, emerald, cushion and pear that would be highlighted in an Exceptional collection, The Garden of Kalahari. The jewels created with The Queen of Kalahari were to be as exceptional as the stone was, with a spectacular and majestic design. I really wanted to achieve something that I had never done before: create a unique adornment with which one could play by wearing it in several different ways! The set includes a necklace whose detachable elements allow to wear it in several ways, earrings, two rings, a bracelet and a watch.
By virtue of a rare diamond of 342 carats, Chopard offers the testimony of its unique jewelry know-how and realizes the most precious jewelry ever released from its Haute Joaillerie workshops.
From Haute Joaillerie to fine jewelry, the Ice Cube Pure collection was presented in Basel. Who is this new range for? How important is it to have an entry level product? In 1999, when Chopard introduced the Ice Cube collection, it was a minimalist collection, more rock and romantic, between urbanity and modernity. Today Ice Cube Pure is an evolution of the original Ice Cube collection. This trendy line caters to modern, stylish young women with an «edgy» touch. This is a must! In addition, because sustainable luxury is a priority for us, we have chosen to create this collection from Fairmined Gold.
With the Fairmined Gold and the Green Carpet collection, Chopard is working hard to achieve sustainable luxury. Why is it so important? Today, sustainable development is about each of us, and as a family business, we are very aware of our responsibilities. Our customers are increasingly interested in the origin of the materials used to make watches and jewelry and how these pieces are made. By putting sustainable development at the heart of our home, we have established ourselves as leaders in our industry and have proven that it is possible to make a difference in the world of jewelry and watchmaking.
French actress and model Aymeline Valade is the face of the new Ice Cube Pure collection. Chopard has selected Fairmined Certified Gold for this collection, a symbol of modernity.
Chopard and the Cannes Film Festival, it’s a story that has been going on for over 20 years. Do you feel the same anticipation before the first stairs mounting or does it become a habit, a routine? Being able to mount the steps of this red carpet, worldly famous and dreamt about, is a real honor. I think I will never be tired of this unique experience!
Chopard is a family business that enjoys a rare independence, in an industry where large groups impose themselves. What brings you this extra independence? What are the disadvantages? Chopard is a family owned and independent company, our main strength. We do not report to anyone. My parents, my brother and I wish to continue working this way! Chopard is a vertically integrated house, allowing us to control all aspects of the different manufacturing processes in order to guarantee higher quality standards; Our workshops and production processes are constantly improved and various skills are cultivated and updated. I’m really lucky to be able to work with my family. I share an office with my brother. Sometimes it is a challenge because we are all very different! But we like to make decisions together and work as a team. That’s why we’ve always found a solution to every problem, even in the most difficult times. We always work together to make decisions about business development, global strategy, production, distribution, new designs or new products.
My everyday watch … My Tourbillon with Baguette-cut diamonds in pink gold.
My watch of choice for the evenings … Precious Chopard.
Women’s watches, with or without complication? Happy Sport.
If you had to choose a single complication, which one would you choose? Why? Chronograph for measuring time.
I never separated from … my Happy Heart bracelets.
My bedside book … The Bible.
Do you remember your very first watch? A Disney watch with Mickey, I still have it.
My first jewel …
A small Chopard watch for my confirmation.
A message to our readers? Be happy!
Interview Conducted by Maria Nadim