A Swiss manufacturer of luxury jewellery and watches. Founded in 1860 in Sonvilier, Switzerland by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, Chopard has been owned by the Scheufele family in Germanysince 1963.
Chopard is best known for making high-quality ladies’ watches and jewellery, but its patrons also include Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The company is headquartered in Geneva and has a site in Fleurier, Canton of Neuchâtel that manufactures watch movements.
The company founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, was a Swiss watchmaker who grew up in Sonvilier, a town near Bern. In 1860, he established his L.U.C manufacturing company in Sonvilier, having observed that it was more profitable to market the finished watch than to just make the mechanical movement.
After Louis-Ulysse’s death in 1915, the company was taken over by his son Paul-Louis and grandson Paul-André.The company specialised in making pocket watches and ladies’ wristwatches. In 1921, Paul-Louis moved the company operations to a larger town, Chaux-de-Fonds, in the Canton of Neuchâtel. In 1937, at that time a company of 150 employees, the company relocated to Geneva. This enabled the movements made by the company to be certified with the Geneva Seal, a mark applied only to watch movements made in the Canton of Geneva. Paul-André took over the company in 1943.
In 1963, having no children wishing to continue in the business, Paul-André Chopard sold it to Karl Scheufele III, a German goldsmith and watchmaker from Pforzheim, who was seeking a watch movement manufacturer exclusively for his own business.
In 1974, the Chopard factory moved from the center of Geneva to Meyrin-Geneva and in 1976 the company started making watches that contained its signature free-floating diamond behind sapphire glass. In the 1980s, the company expanded into making sports watches for men and diamond jewellery for women.
In 1996, the company established its own complete watch movement manufacturing facility in Fleurier, in the Swiss Canton of Neuchâtel. Prior to that time, all Chopard’s movements had been assembled from third-party components. The movements made in Fleurier were intended for the high end watches in the Chopard range.
In 2010, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary, by which time the company’s estimated sales were €550 million in total (of which €250 million were from watches) with about 100 stores around the world.
In 2014, Chopard recorded sales of CHF800m (US$915m) and had roughly 2,000 employees worldwide, of whom 900 were working in Switzerland. The European Patent Office lists more than 20 references to Chopard since 2002.
The company produces around 75,000 timepieces and 75,000 jewelleries each year, and is an active member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.