A Joy to Behold
Created in 1993, Chopard’s Happy Sport is the brainchild of Caroline Scheufele – the Maison’s co-president and artistic director – who unwittingly revolutionised jewellery watches with a precious yet casual design, making them versatile and wearable for all occasions. Scheufele recalls, “When I invented the Happy Sport, it was most of all because I was doing a lot of sport myself. But I really wanted something with a bit of sparkle that you could wear around the clock… so if there was no time to change, you’d already be somewhat dressed up with little diamonds dancing on your wrist.”
Happy Sport was a huge success. Women no longer simply looked at the time, instead, they took the time to contemplate the choreography of the diamonds. For Scheufele, the joyful dance of the gems represented what being a free spirit was all about: “I wasn’t really thinking of shaking up the watchmaking industry, I was just doing my job, which is also my passion, namely creating and designing. Maybe I did come up with something very unusual and unexpected, which is often the case with the best creations.”
Embodying Happy Sport’s values of joy and free-spirited charm perfectly is Chopard’s new ambassador, Julia Roberts. One of Hollywood’s most accomplished actresses, Roberts made headlines at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival when she strode up the famous steps of the Palais de Festival barefoot in a black off-the-shoulder dress that highlighted a Chopard Haute Joaillerie emerald and diamond necklace. With her inimitable smile, infectious laugh and joyous spirit, Roberts was the natural choice for Scheufele: “She has this sunny energy, fostering hope that everything will be reborn even more beautiful than before, as well as amazing magnetism and inextinguishable joie de vivre. Julia was the only person I felt could convey the spirit that I see in Happy Sport.”
As contemporary today as it was almost 30 years ago, Scheufele had no idea that the watch would come this far with over 1,000 iterations: “It’s a watch that somehow really crosses generations. I think this is how icons are born, when something is passed on from grandmother to mother to daughter.”
It’s hard to imagine that Scheufele faced resistance by the entire watch development team at Chopard and her parents when she first presented her idea of the watch: “They thought it was a crazy idea to put diamonds in a steel case when they’re normally hosted in white gold or platinum. But there was nothing to prevent it. Steel isn’t a precious metal but it’s cool, young, and fun and you can wear it around the clock. When it came to producing it, it was another challenge because everybody thought I had definitely gone mad. But I’m a very persistent person who doesn’t take no for an answer. Anyway, it did happen, and the results are clearly visible. I remember the workshop manager saying that for every watch sold, he would give me a rose. I ought to have a rose plantation by now!” The workshop manager did keep his promise and gifted Scheufele a beautiful rose bush for her garden.
While the dancing diamonds were just allowed to spin around the dial in the original Happy Diamonds timepieces, they are totally free and float over the watch in the Happy Sport models since the stones (housed in thin spinning top-shaped metal capsules) are placed between two sapphire crystals above the dial. Scheufele adds, “For me, when you say ‘Happy’, it says it all. The diamonds inside are actually truly free. And when you see them dancing, you realise it was worth the challenges!”
Now, 28 years later, Chopard celebrates the rebirth of its 1993 icon with the launch of Happy Sport the First, with two limited-edition reissues of the very first model in a brand new 33mm case size for the collection. Showcasing a polished steel bezel and silver-tone dial is the Happy Sport the First limited-edition of 1,993 pieces – a quantity that reflects the year the icon was unveiled. The second version, produced in a run of 788 (Scheufele’s lucky number), features a diamond-set steel bezel with a textured mother-of-pearl dial.
Presented on a four-row polished pebble bracelet with a modern-vintage look, each watch flaunts seven dancing diamonds and Roman numerals in a shimmering blue echoing five cabochon-cut sapphires set on the lugs and crown. Firmly committed to sustainable luxury, Chopard uses Lucent Steel A223 – which is 70 percent made from recycled metals – for the cases of both models. The steel alloy that combines anti-allergenic properties with the brightness and sturdiness of ordinary steel is the result of four years’ research and development. The watches are driven by the Manufacture Chopard 09.01-C automatic movement offering 42 hours of power reserve.
When asked why she chose to recreate the very first model instead of realising a brand-new version, Scheufele explains, “You don’t change an icon, but you can re-interpret it. After the tough times we all went through in 2020, I felt it was the right moment to relaunch this piece as a celebration of joie de vivre and to put a smile on every woman’s face when she checks the time.”