Taking in Baselworld is time-consuming, not that you would be aware of it. It is very much like the prototypical Big Top with a lot of flash and dash, except here, there are no circus acts trying to entice you inside. Rather, access is by appointment only, and the commerce consumed is anything but penny ante.
Chopard is widely known for its association with the Cannes Film Festival, as its jewellery adorns many a star, including most recently Cate Blanchett. She also wore Chopard at the Golden Globes, and again at the Oscars. While Cate was not at the Baselworld fair this year, the jewellery certainly was, and it was, to offer an obvious pun and a British colloquialism simultaneously, brilliant. Chopard, though, is a serious player in the watchmaking sphere. Their sponsorship of the famous Mille Miglia race, a test of both endurance and precision for drivers of vintage sports cars, is by now the stuff of legends, and they take it very seriously. So much so that they even have a series of watches called “Mille Miglia”, and offer watches that expound race-appropriate colours, as well as emblematically standing by the race’s test.
Chopard’s commitment to the art and craft of watchmaking is longstanding. Louis-Ulysse Chopard started up a little watchmaking facility in his village in the village of Sonvilier, Switzerland, in 1860. But it was not until Karl-Friedrich Scheufele created Chopard Manufacture in 1996 that the company entered the elite groupe of horologists. The Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute granted Chopard chronometer certification, and the company continues to take this honour very seriously.
Hence, the introduction of the “L.U.C” series of chronographs, several of which are on display at Baselworld. These watches tend towards the clean, classical look, made to withstand time and currents in taste: the limited-edition L.U.C. 1963 commemorates the 50th year of Chopard’s ownership by the Scheufele family, and is inspired by the old-world aesthetic of pocket watches; the moon phase complication of the L.U.C. Lunar Big Date is so accurate that the difference between the actual lunar cycle and its indication is just one day every 122 years. Diamonds are forever, and Chopard agrees, but they want to add that great watches are forever, too.