Karl Friedrich Scheufele on His Winning Formula and the new Chopard LUC Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique

With three awards (two for watchmaking and one for wine), 2017 has been a bumper crop year for Chopard CEO Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and he extends his winning streak with the LUC Perpetual T Spirit of Chinese Zodiac

Nov 16, 2017 | By LUXUO

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele spoke to World of Watches and LUXUO during the world premiere of the Chopard LUC Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac Piece Unique in Beijing. Event report to follow. Image: Jonathan Ho

Speaking with Karl Friedrich Scheufele, co-owner and CEO of Chopard, and as of 2012, owner of a 100 hectare Chateau Monestier La Tour wine estate, one gets the sense that 2017 couldn’t be ending on a much higher note. After all, Scheufele was speaking to us as a winner of recent top honours: with the L.U.C. Full Strike taking the GPHG 2017 Aiguille D’or Grand Prix and the Chopard Lotus Blanc taking the jewellery watch prize. It is especially poignant considering that just last year, his “project” with the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud had also achieved the Aiguille D’or also.

“It’s been a great year,” he says as he offers across a firm handshake while we take our seats at dining table within his suite at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. “Yes, we noticed the gold medal sticker on the bottles of Bergerac Chateau Monestier La Tour,” we counter. A twinkle in his eye, he offers a joke, “There’s always appetite for more awards.”

World of Watches and LUXUO were present to witness the festivities surrounding the launch of the exclusive Chopard LUC Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac

Karl Friedrich Scheufele on His Winning Formula and the new Chopard LUC Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique

With his own brand of wino winning the gold medal at the Concours Des Vins Du Sub-quest in 2017, one gets the sense the Scheufele has been hitting the right notes with expressions of artisanal perfection in almost every product category he touches. But what does it all mean for a man who should be rightfully feeling a master of his domain? We find out.

Curiously, Louis Ulysse Chopard is a name that goes back to 1860 but here you’re celebrating your 20th anniversary, was there a reason for not celebrating the grander figure of a 150 years?

We had a celebration for the 150 years but 20 years ago was the true renaissance of the manufacture and it is as important because we added a foundation to the Chopard world which made us much stronger as an entity and much more complete when compared to what we were before.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele explains Chopard LUC’s raison d’etre. Image: Jonathan Ho

Would it be right to infer that there’s a certain humility or respect to the craft which is why unlike some other brands, you don’t lay claim to the centuries of watchmaking history?

Well, in the very beginning, there was a time where Chopard bought movements and so, you’re right to say that there’s a humility and a respect for reality because we cannot claim to be a manufacture for 150 years. We’ve always been very truthful and this is part of our philosophy. I find it amusing when one infers uninterrupted production.

You’re big as Chopard but small within the scope of LUC watches, how has that affected your business model in relation to market conditions?

We were tempted at one stage to have LUC as a sub-brand but then we decided that this wasn’t the road we would take. Out of 1000 Chopard retailers worldwide, only 350 points of sale carry LUC, this includes our own boutiques. This approach served to differentiate LUC with the general Chopard collection. LUC doesn’t have the ambition to make 10,000 pieces, our ambition is to focus solely on quality and innovation rather than think about how many watches we can sell tomorrow. It’s supposed to remain exclusive and represent the pinnacle of Chopard in terms of watchmaking expertise.

Chopard Manufacture celebrated 150 years while LUC celebrates 20 years out of recognition of the label’s modern revival rather than to infer “uninterrupted” manufacture


I have noticed in terms of Chopard communications, there always seems to be a hint of a ‘social mission’, be it Fairmined or ethical production, was this a conscious effort to appeal to women or a general statement that as leaders of the luxury industry, one has to set the tone of being socially aware?

First, it is a personal conviction of the family and certainly myself, otherwise we wouldn’t be credible. It’s not mere marketing message. It carries through even to Chateau Monestier La Tour. A year after we purchased the wine estate, we decided to scrap all synthetic materials and processes like chemical fertilisers in order to go fully organic. I was convinced that this was the only way to make our wine, it’s not the easy way but it’s the right way. Next year, we will be certified organic and personal conviction is the driving force. I have but one exception – I still love petrol engine cars.

Second, we observed from our own children that there is growing recognition for the environment and for social justice among the younger generation. It became clear to us that this was one of the subjects they cared deeply about because they had talking about this at school.

Finally, the added value in terms of marketing, is that a growing number of the population appreciate this.

The Chopard (萧邦) L.U.C Time Traveler One 北京特制版腕表-1 or Beijing Limited Edition (in 8 pieces) was also launched at this event. Image: Jonathan Ho

When it comes to Chopard LUC, do you have a distinct China strategy?

I won’t call it a strategy. LUC is naturally geared to please modern Chinese consumers who have passed the first phase of merely buying brands and are now looking deeper into refinement and for them, Chopard LUC is an interesting choice. China is slightly different from Asia in the way that it is very fast moving and catching up in terms of sophistication. The most sophisticated market in the region is Singapore.

We saw for the first time, the Chopard LUC Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique, it is emblematic of the history and culture of China and should appeal to the Chinese market . However, in Singapore, we are sophisticated, ethnically diverse but sad to say, culturally bland, how does it help with design? How do you appeal to Singaporean collectors?

I think with this particular piece, we’d be surprised as who will make the final purchase. We definitely made it with China in mind but if you consider the Urushi collection, it’s been popular all over Asia except Japan and we designed the watch with Japan in mind!

This was an excerpt. You can read the full interview in WORLD OF WATCHES 2017 FESTIVE ISSUE

Special celebrity guests like Donnie Yen and Liu Tao were impressed by the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique. Image: Jonathan Ho


Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique Price and Specs

Paying tribute to over a 1000 years of culture, artisans from L.U.C. Chopard hand-engraved all 12 animal motifs of the Chinese Zodiac on the pink gold midcase, honouring the the milestones of high horology and traditional Chinese arts in one single piece unique. It is the natural culmination of the annual L.U.C. XP Urushi which pays tribute to each Zodiac year, here 12 signs are individually represented using champleve engraving technique where minute cavities are then filled with black patina to accentuate the motifs symbolising the Chinese calendar in chronological order. The bezel and solid gold dial of the L.U.C Perpetual T is also decorated with hand-engraved Chinese iconography, where the black and gold timepiece pays homage to the foundation of Chinese cosmology and belief.

The Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac piece unique was made for China in mind but Scheufele believes it’s anyone’s guess who will want it bad enough.  Image: Jonathan Ho

Within runs the chronometer certified L.U.C. Calibre 02.15-L which plays home to Chopard’s finest watchmaking expressions – the perpetual calendar, tourbillon and their innovative Quattro system which ensures one-week (8 days actually) of power reserve.

Everything from movement development, finished product design, gold foundry work, case stamping and machining, movement components, traditional hand engravings and decorations, surface treatments, polishing, assembly, adjustments and quality controls are performed in-house at Chopard’s Meyrin and Fleurier facilities


Movement Hand-wound movement L.U.C 02.15-L with 8 Days Power Reserve
Case 43 mm pink gold, hand engraved case with 30 metres water resistance
Strap Hand-sewn black alligator leather with alligator lining
Price TBC

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