"We are not as boring as you think," says Chopard co-president Caroline Gruosi Scheufele, who designs and oversees production of the company’s jewelry and jewelry watches. Geneva may be the capital of propriety and understatement, but in a little over a decade, Scheufele and her brother and fellow co-president Karl-Friedrich have turned Chopard into an international symbol of opulence. Happy Diamonds, the company’s most recognized watch collection, features timepieces with five mobile gems dancing whimsically between crystals over the dial. In dour, prudent Geneva, it seems a most unlikely formula, yet the watches remain highly successful.
One of Scheufele’s hallmarks as a designer is her prolific output. This year she swept through the company’s Happy Sport and Happy Diamonds collections adding bold, stark models in all black or all white. While her brother is turning Chopard’s facility in Fleurier into one of the most important manufactures in the industry, Scheufele is designing a wealth of fanciful ladies’ pieces for the high-profile clientele Chopard has attracted over the last several years.
Her knack for reading her clients’ changing tastes comes from constantly moving in their circles. Chopard became an official partner in the Cannes Film Festival a decade ago, when Scheufele suggested to the festival’s director that she redesign and produce the Palme d’Or award. She now also presents it. And, having become something of a celebrity herself, Scheufele is photographed as much as any star in attendance. Sir Elton John’s annual White Tie and Tiara Ball and other glamorous private events have become the venue for her insouciant watch designs, as well as her more serious jeweled timepieces and jewelry collections. All are marked by unusual and fresh lines.
Scheufele is delighted to hear that her designs are considered unconventional, but she doesn’t see that as incompatible with the Geneva aesthetic. "Yes, the city has deeply ingrained watchmaking traditions, and we are part of that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t also be extravagant and daring and innovative. We are like the James Bond martini," she says. "Shaken not stirred."
Chopard 800.246.7273, www.chopard.com