We caught up with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, to talk luxury, motoring, and the future of watchmaking.
Which watch do you find yourself wearing more than any other?
Right now, it’s the L.U.C Full Strike, which we revived in 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chopard Manufacture, where all our L.U.C timepieces are created in-house. One of its greatest achievements is the pure and unique chime that it makes, due to it using sapphire crystal gongs instead of steel or gold like traditional minute repeaters.
What are the main differences between a family-run company like Chopard and one that is part of a luxury group?
Running our own company has allowed us to invest in long-term projects, such as our Journey to Sustainable Luxury, without necessarily thinking of the immediate profitability. Thanks to this, we are the first luxury watch and jewellery maison to produce its creations in 100 per cent ethical gold.
What is the origin of Chopard’s connection to the Mille Miglia?
My father and I are both race car lovers, so it was only natural that we merged our passions for racing and timepieces. In fact, we were one of the first in the industry to associate watches with classic racing. It’s a marriage that makes sense. Fans of expertly made high-precision vehicles are also going to be fans of expertly made masterpieces of time measurement.
Have you driven in the race itself?
I’ve driven every year since 1989. It really is one of the most beautiful of all scenic routes through Italy, and a great time to reunite with old friends. I’m a big fan of the Porsche 550 Spyder RS, which I have driven several times at the Mille Miglia. It is much like the kind of watch I prefer — powerful underneath, but with clean lines and design.
The new L.U.C Quattro is modest-looking on its face, with an incredibly intricate movement within. What’s the purpose of this contrast?
I think it epitomizes the ultimate in contemporary luxury: outwardly modest, but extremely rich inside. Sophistication in simple outfits.
Is there a place for a digital “smart” watch in a man’s collection? If so, what purpose would it serve?
While digital watches have enlarged the number of people wearing something on their wrists, we will continue to see keen interest in beautiful mechanical timepieces, which are collectible and can be passed on to the next generation. Digital technology evolves so quickly and offers many functions, so there can be absolutely no comparison with fine mechanical watchmaking, patiently produced for the long term.
What is your definition of luxury?
Time, of course. What I like the most, when I am not in a rush, is to look at my timepiece — not to check the time, but for the simple pleasure of admiring my watch, reflecting on the incredible work which is inside, and listening to the harmonious tick-tock of sophisticated mechanics.