The Royal Jewellers S01 ep13 : Chopard LUC [Geneva]
Interview with Karl-Frederick Scheufele
GENEVA- Karl-Friedrich Scheufele - CHOPARD LUC People like to know who is behind the product. They like to see there is a continuation, there is tradition, it is a family company involved. It is not just another name that has been bought by another name.
KM: What is Chopard?
Initially Chopard was a watch company founded in 1860 and my father bought
Chopard in 1963.
KM: What part of Germany are you from?
We are actually from Forsheim and Forsheim is actually known for jewellery
KM: For Goldsmithing.
Goldsmithing and also for watchmaking but not so much. And my great, great
grandfather made watches made of Platinum, elegant watches, expensive
KM: Under which brand?
Under our own family name and at one point my father who inherited the
business decided that in order to really expand he needed to sell his watches
under a Swiss brand.
Watchmaking came to Switzerland because of the Hugenots and the Hugenots
when they were expelled from France when they had to leave different
countries, they came to Switzerland and at the same time watchmaking does
not need much natural resources, watchmaking you can do in the mountains
even if it snows.
KM: So in Germany thought the watch culture, is it different to the Swiss
Watchmaking in Germany has very old roots, apart from the region of
Glasshutte it never really developed that much as here or even in
In England you have some very fine watchmakers, but nowadays,
watchmaking in England is marginal. Watchmaking in France is marginal, and
somehow everything converged to Switzerland,
KM: Why are you doing this?
I always liked the arts, and I discovered that in watchmaking in what we are
doing here it is a very interesting combination between business and
something artistic, creative, innovative and I very much enjoy this type of work
because we conceive products from scratch. We follow them through in our
production, in our own production, we follow further on in the retail process (we
have Chopard boutiques) and it is a very interesting and very complete line of
KM: It is quite holistic - you see it from one end to the other.
Yes it is from one end to the other and then we make beautiful products.
Products that last.
KM: It seems that there are two people in watchmaking. You have one type,
which is the watchmaker who makes the movement and the other type, the
one who makes the case. There is always a bit of a war between those two
I am really involved with both worlds and I think a beautiful a movement
deserves a beautiful case.
KM: When did you actually start working on the watch making side of the
I started the Luc Manufacture began in 1994 - it is a big decision and at the
same time it is a decision we did not regret one moment. It gives us more than
certain advantage in terms of credibility of the brand and slowly but surely it will
give us certain independence in terms of buying movement, having to buy
movements elsewhere. We are making only the top of the top quality and
therefore the quantities we produce are not so important.
KM: In terms of your hand made movements how many would you make a
At this point we are around 3,500.
KM: That is it?
And we are heading towards 12,000 - 15,000 in the next five years.
KM: What do you do that is innovative and avant-garde?
We came out last year at Basel with a four barrel watch - the watch is called
L.U.C. Quattro and it is a movement that runs for 9 and 1/2 days and it has
these four barrels, which have never been done before. And this also goes to
show that you can...
KM: You can do it.
You can still do a lot of interesting things within mechanical watch making,
which is in a way, people say " Oh everything has already been done", and so
In selling this type of product people like to see who is behind the product.
They like to see.... oh there is a continuation, there is tradition, it is a family
company involved; it is not just another name that has been bought by another
name. The brand is certainly not enough in our business, the brand is certainly
a reassuring but the design element is essential, therefore a brand that
continually presents the same design for 10 years will probably be out.
Travelling is one of the major aspects of having this feeling of direction. Feeling
of where we have to go and what we have to do.
KM: Is your product for different regions, different?
10 years ago our products were very much different in certain regions. The
Middle East was buying very much Middle Eastern creation, but today the
world has become smaller, we have now what we call "International
Collections" which apply to everywhere. International approach is the
KM: What exactly do you do in the company?
One of the most important roles lets us say inside the company is certainly the
development of the men’s line of watches, the mechanical side of watch
movements, the production side, also organisation in general but also with
Caroline, together the marketing aspects of promotion and advertising.
KM: How do you marry the jewellery with watches? Is that Caroline and
yourself sitting down and fitting or arm wrestling?
KM: None of that.
The interesting thing is that both sides of business have grown at the same
pace more or less. Quantity wise we are at the exact same level, so…
We are standing on two legs, which is a very comfortable position.
KM: Are your parents still involved in the day to day running of the business?
They are more than involved.
KM: Really does it drive you insane? You don't stand at the kitchen table and
say Dad get out of my watchmaking business?
No no absolutely not because we are big enough, there is a lot of room for
everyone and on the contrary I think hopefully they will stay on for a little while
because we'd have to get organised.
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