Just days before the official launch of Chopard’s Happy Sport campaign, the luxury Swiss brand dropped a teaser for what’s to come. The face was never shown in the short video, just a flash of a megawatt smile and a bounce of luscious curls, but there was no mistaking it. It was Julia Roberts, who’s just become the new face of Chopard.
Chopard first dreamt up Happy Diamonds in 1976, then an unheard-of concept that allowed diamonds to dance unencumbered across the dial of a watch. It was said that when owners Karin and Karl Scheufele, parents of now co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friederich, saw the watch – a large cushion-shaped men’s watch – for the first time, they declared that “diamonds are happiest when they’re free”.
Little did they know that the motto would stick, to this day embodying the heritage brand’s spirit of joie de vivre. In 1993, Caroline Scheufele created the Happy Sport watch, combining the free-flowing diamonds with a stainless-steel watch case. It was an instant classic.
This month, Chopard has launched two new Happy Sport watch models and is expanding the family of Happy Diamonds and Happy Hearts jewellery. Drawing on its long-standing love affair with the cinematic arts – Chopard has partnered with the Cannes Film Festival since 1998 – Caroline Scheufele has pulled together some of the most talented contemporary artists to create a short film that highlights the jeweller’s incredible works of art.
At the centre of it all is the inimitable Julia Roberts, the award-winning actress known for her gorgeous smile and infectious laugh, who’s made headlines since her turn as Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman in 1990, starring opposite Richard Gere. A match made in heaven, Roberts’ energy and gracefulness embody so much of what Chopard represents that you’re left wondering how this collaboration didn’t happen sooner.
Directing the Happy Sport campaign is the acclaimed film director and actor Xavier Dolan, with photography by Shayne Laverdière. Under the artistic vision of Dolan, Julia Roberts dances gleefully, capturing the joie de vivre of Chopard and displaying the very essence of life and motion encapsulated by the free-spinning diamonds on the new Happy Sport watches, which pop up on the screen from time to time in a liberating choreography. The two new watches are very much created in the same spirit as the ’93 originals, but reimagined today to also express one of the brand’s core values: sustainable luxury.
The Happy Sport the First are two limited re-editions of the first Happy Sport. One version is offered only in 1,993 pieces, and the second one, with a diamond-set bezel, is limited to 788 pieces. Both are faithful homages to the original, with its “pebble-link” bracelet, but fitted with Chopard’s latest innovations, including a new case in Lucent Steel A223 and the Manufacture Chopard 09.01-C movement with automatic winding.
Long a leader in ethical and sustainable luxury, Chopard made a breakthrough with Lucent Steel A223 alloy, which is made with 70 percent recycled metals, but is harder and brighter than normal steel and has hypoallergenic qualities. The new Happy Sport line comes with the Lucent steel case in a new 33mm case size, which is said to be inspired by the principles of the golden ratio.
A sense of proportion has always been paramount to Caroline Scheufele, who designed the Happy Sport in 1993, saying that she “wanted a watch [she] could wear all day long: at the gym, in the office or for a dinner in town”.
The new case size was the result, declared by Chopard to be the perfect diameter for the female wrist, pairing well with the supple and contemporary four-row pebble link bracelet. Beating inside the watch, the manufacture movement offers hours, minutes, seconds and a 42-hour power reserve. In both of the versions, seven diamonds dance freely against the dial with the blued Roman numerals. The watches are water-resistant to 3 bar.
Also new to the collection is the Happy Sport 33mm Automatic, which is again inspired by golden-ratio principles. There are 12 variations, which come in Lucent A223 steel, ethical rose gold or two-tone, with a leather strap or bracelet, and polished or gem-set bezels. Like the First watches, the Automatic version is powered by the 09.01-C movement, and boasts five happy diamonds on the dial.
“Happiness expresses itself through movement,” Caroline Scheufele once said. And it’s true – we smile, we laugh, and we dance when we’re happy. It’s one thing to dance on your own, wholly another to experience your jewellery dance to the same beat. We highly suggest you try it.
This article first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.