On 14 and 15 February, the astonishing Independent House, with 163 years of history, a quarter of a century of specialisation in the manufacture of mechanical watches and a development to make the biggest players in the industry envious, opened the doors of its workshops to five members of L'Orologio Club.
An integrated as well as independent manufacture, owned by the Scheufele family, Chopard is an industrial reality comprising five production sites. The two movement factories in Fleurier (the Fleurier Ebauches and the L.U.C calibre production plant), one in Geneva, for the assembly of movements and watches with the Hallmark of Geneva, one in Pforzheim, Germany. Jewellery and jewellery watches are produced here, and a dial factory, Metalem, in Le Locle.
The most recent evolution of Chopard watchmaking is represented by the Fleurier Manufacture, which in the 25 years since its foundation has developed fourteen lines of calibres, with their variants, and specialised in the main complications, from the chronograph to the minute repeater. Complicated movements are also produced at Fleurier, from A to Z, starting with the manufacture of the plates. The Qualité Fleurier certification laboratory is present here, certifying not only the quality and accuracy of the movement, but also the precision of the watch on the wrist.
Also at Fleurier is the entirely artisanal Ferdinand Berthoud production of just fifty watches a year. This project was launched ten years ago and has revived the name of the great Swiss watchmaker of the 18th century, active in France and famous for his refined marine chronometers.
Components produced in Fleurier but destined for models bearing the Hallmark of Geneva are sent to the Geneva manufacture, where they are finished, assembled and cased. It is here that employees of Timelab, the external agency that has control over the Hallmark of Geneva, can carry out checks on compliance with the standards set by the Hallmark. The rest of the movement production, on the other hand, arrives in Geneva already assembled, ready to be cased. The production of cases and bracelets, which are manufactured and finished here, also takes place in Geneva.
Importantly, there has been a foundry at Chopard's production site in Geneva since 1978, which allows the manufacture to be the only jewellery and watchmaking company with a 100% ethical supply chain. It was in 2017 that Chopard completed the project, begun in 2012, of sourcing only from gold miners, no longer through banks, selecting only companies that agree to comply with international ethical standards.