In her youth, Caroline Scheufele was a shy child who dreamed of becoming a dancer. The art of movement offered her more than just a refuge, inspiring feelings of freedom and happiness.
A creative spirit and budding visionary right from the outset, Caroline was only a schoolgirl when she designed a Happy Clown pendant with merry jewels dancing in his tummy.
Caroline Scheufele’s father was so intrigued by his daughter’s idea for the jolly circus performer he set out to bring the concept into reality. Karl Scheufele presented the bejewelled treasure as a Christmas surprise for his beloved daughter in 1985. It marked Chopard’s first foray into jewellery making and alluded to the dawn of Happy Diamond jewellery.
Young Caroline had drawn her inspiration from another Chopard icon, mesmerised by the whirling gems within the elegant Happy Diamonds timepiece her mother wore. The maison had first unveiled the Happy Diamonds line in 1976, where kinetic diamonds could pirouette between two crystal sapphire glasses on the watch face. It was Caroline’s mother, Karin Scheufele, who first christened dancing diamonds as Happy Diamonds.
Delighted by the joie de vivre of their sparkling movement, Karin exclaimed, “these diamonds are happier when they are free.” With individual stones nestled in barely-there gold capsules, the free-falling diamonds are an extension of the life and impulses of the woman who wears them. She becomes a choreographer, whose movements recompose the gemstones’ swing in a never-ending performance.
A woman’s touch
Caroline observed the rise of third-wave feminism in the ‘90s, which embraced individualism. It was the dawn of the age of career women, who fought to follow their passions, breaking glass ceilings in boardrooms and political institutions. Heroines rose to reshape a world that struggled to reconcile the idea that women were on par with men and could lead and excel in any role without sacrificing their grace and femininity.
The young co-president and artistic director of Chopard was ready to assist the departure from archaic conventions. She envisioned creating a talisman watch rooted in the Happy Diamonds concept that reminded her of the joys of her youth. Precious as it was casual, Caroline wanted to create a timepiece that could accompany women in all daily activities. She also wanted women to feel a sense of pleasure every time they look at the time. The dancing diamonds spark an inner sense of well-being as it offers a moment of repose in a challenging world.
“As a woman, I wanted a model that went beyond the purely functional or decorative aspects. It had to combine both. That is the spirit of Happy Sport, an object that can be with me 24 hours a day: chic with diamonds, yet not too sophisticated thanks to steel,” Caroline explains. She describes the Happy Sport as an extension of her personality as dancing diamonds are an integral part of her creative process.
The Happy Sport was a trailblazer of the sport-chic trend. The first watch created and designed by a woman for women from the beginning. Never had a watchmaker combined the rarity of diamonds with the robustness of steel, confounding the industry. It was a striking parallel as the watch mirrored the ongoing upheavals in modern society, which saw women taking an unprecedented place.
Caroline had strong convictions that ladies’ watchmaking desperately needed a breath of fresh air. Yet when Caroline first presented the concept of the Happy Sport watch in 1993, she encountered resistance.
Her workshop foreman warned her that she would be unlikely to sell even one. “Impossible! You’ll never sell these watches, and if you do, I’ll give you a rose for each timepiece sold,” the foreman proposed. Caroline was unshaken, standing confident in the face of doubt.
“Almost 30 years later, history had proven me right, confirming that you must always believe in your ideas,” Caroline asserts. Humbled by the monumental success of Happy Sport, the foreman subsequently gifted Caroline a rosebush in a gesture of goodwill and acceptance of defeat. Now, the flowers blossom every year in Caroline’s garden, a constant reminder of her courage, vision and success.
The Happy Diamonds campaign
Armed with a hypnotic appeal, the Happy Sport has become the first feminine watch globally collected by women. Each iteration balances pragmatism with the poetry of movement.
Today, the Happy Diamonds campaign by Chopard celebrates the ageless brilliance of the horological masterpiece through a stunning rebirth. For the first time, the Happy Sport watch appears in a comfortable 33mm case inspired by the golden ratio principles of aesthetic harmony. The dainty proportions of the timepiece make it especially well suited to the female wrist. Incredibly strong yet precious, sporty yet feminine, the Happy Sport transcends decades, generations and style evolutions.
In a limited-edition re-release of the very first watch, Happy Sport the First pays faithful homage to the original Happy Sport timepiece thanks to its legendary dancing diamonds and pebble-link bracelet. Manufactured in intensely reflective Lucent Steel A223, the 33mm timepiece is inherently modern.
The journey of the Happy Sport cements it as the ultimate lucky charm for free-spirited women who are conquering the world while becoming the transformative figures they aspire to be. For Caroline, the success of Happy Sport was the first milestone in a growing list of remarkable achievements for Chopard. From pioneering timepieces to stunning haute joaillerie, Chopard will continue to flourish in the hands of this bravely inventive woman. Along with it, the Happy Sport will most certainly continue to evolve in joyful ways while retaining a palpable sense of joie de vivre.
(All images: Chopard)
This story was first published Prestige Malaysia’s May 2021 issue. To read the latest issue, pick up a copy from the nearest newsstand or subscribe on Magzter.