After approximately 25 years on Madison Avenue, Chopard moved to a new space on Fifth Avenue. The official opening of the two-level flagship store on December 6 was marked by three days of celebrations with friends of the brand, celebrities and VIP customers.
Chopard Co-Presidents Caroline Scheufele and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele led the festivities. Their presence underscores the importance of the New York market for the luxury jewelry and watch brand and the significance of the move to Fifth Avenue.
The new Chopard boutique is located in the newly renovated Crown Building, where it shares the first-floor retail space with Bulgari, Mikimoto and Zegna. Also opening is the Aman New York hotel and residences, the newest branch of the Aman Resorts luxury hospitality company. The new boutique replaces Chopard’s former Madison Avenue home, which served as the luxury brand’s flagship for the past 15 years. It was Chopard’s second boutique on Madison Avenue. The first one served as its New York home for about 10 years.
Karl-Friedrich notes that in recent years Fifth Avenue has become a livelier street than Madison Avenue.
“Madison Avenue has always been a quieter and a more exclusive area, but in our eyes, it became too quiet and too exclusive,” he said. “We wanted to be where there is more excitement and more traffic. Most of our competitors or friends, whatever you call them, are located here as well. I think now we are really where the action is.”
“We both love still love Madison Avenue. It’s a beautiful street,” Caroline added. “But somehow everything shifted here. The same thing has happened in other cities”
I interviewed the two co-presidents and siblings together in the Aman Hotel lounge, prior to the second day’s festivities.
The new flagship boutique welcomes guests with a floor-to-ceiling glass entranceway, framed above with brass details, allowing natural light to enter the store. Inside, ultra-high ceilings and four walnut archways provide a pathway deep into the showroom. A total of 365 Magnolia tree leaves (for each day of the year) made of Murano glass designed and crafted by Italian glass firm, Venini, float overhead with color variations representing the four seasons. They reflect the magnolia trees in Central Park as well Chopard’s commitment to nature, the co-presidents say.
A dark gray and white veined Fior di Bosco Italian marble floor provides a contrast to the brass details echoing the arches of the entrance and the velvet-covered custom-made walnut furniture. These design features complement the neutral colors used for the walls and ceiling. Parts of the walls have moving visual displays. The luxury brand will also be using the wall space to install rotating works by contemporary artists. Below the main showroom is a space for private viewing divided by the “Gentlemen’s Lounge” and “Haute Joaillerie” lounge.
The vitrines, whether freestanding or wall mounted, were also custom designed. Three circular display cases are in the center of the long, narrow showroom space help lead a path through the store. On the sides jewels and watches are shown in cases either wall-mounted or on top of the walnut furniture. It represents an elegant casual approach to displaying the pieces.
Chopard’s iconic jewelry and watch collections, such as Happy Diamonds and Happy Hearts, take center stage on the main floor. On the lower floor, the Gentlemen’s Lounge showcases men’s watches, including L.U.C Haute Horlogerie and Alpine Eagle. The creations dreamed up by Caroline, who also serves as Chopard’s artistic director, can be found in the Haute Joaillerie lounge around tables made entirely of amethyst.
The boutique is modeled in Chopard’s new design philosophy, where instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to its locations, each store is unique, and the design details reflects the city where the boutique resides. The concept was previously used for its new boutiques in London, Milan and Paris.
“We wanted the boutique to be very much New York inspired,” Karl-Friedrich said. “We recently started to design our major boutiques with local inspiration. The idea is to not find exactly the same architecture, interior design everywhere you go. It’s boring. So, if you’re a friend of the brand, you go to the New York store you will find a different expression, a new variety of pieces as well as a different personality.”
The boutique took three years to complete hampered by both the coronavirus pandemic and the unique challenges of designing and building new spaces in New York.
The two co-presidents also used the COVID shutdown as an opportunity to immerse themselves in the design, constantly going over floorplans and other details with planners through zoom. Instead of working with celebrity architects and designers, they chose to work with people in those professions who were willing to listen to their ideas.
“We happen to like getting involved in the creative process of building a flagship store. I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s a personal touch,” Karl-Friedrich said. “You might say that you want your boutique to be designed by someone with a big name. But then you have to also accept that the person may create something that you won’t identify with. Most of the top designers don’t want anyone to interfere with their vision and then you end up having something that is not very practical either. I think the ergonomics of a boutique are extremely important because we’re working there every day. You want the staff to be comfortable, and you want it to function properly to help them serve the customer. We’ve been building boutiques for many years. We’ve learned a lot.”
In addition to the New York theme, Caroline notes that other unique details of the boutique include the “beautiful marble” and the “impressive height.”
“The atmosphere of the upstairs space invites you to browse in a more easygoing manner. Downstairs you are in a lounge atmosphere where once you are seated you are very comfortable,” she said. “You probably will not want to get up because you’re so comfortable.”
In terms of managing the business and the creation of new products and boutiques, they say they work in unison.
“There’s no division between us,” Caroline says. “We complement each other in terms of the watchmaking experience and the jewelry experience. If you look at the expertise that we have in both fields, you’d have to look far to find anyone doing all of this within one company and doing it in-house.”
Together they created several new products and showcased some other pieces in honor of this new venture in New York.
One of the hero pieces specifically created for the New York boutique opening is a special edition of its jumping-hour timepiece: the L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 Fifth Avenue Edition. Housed in an ethically sourced 40mm 18k rose gold case, it is based on the first jumping hours created by Chopard in 2021. The unique piece celebrates both the opening of the New York boutique and the 25th anniversary of the L.U.C collection.
The ethically sourced 18k white gold dial is topped blue Grand Feu enamel finished with a pop-art-inspired Statue of Liberty motif crafted by Chopard’s in-house enameling artisan.
The manual wound L.U.C 98.06-L caliber features four barrels, which is exclusive to Chopard’s Quattro timepieces. This movement also boasts an exceptional eight-day power reserve, a feat even more impressive considering how a jumping hours complication can drain power.
The other hero piece is a unique high jewelry necklace featuring a cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond of more than 100 carats. The neck chain features more than 54 carats of diamonds in cushion and pear shapes. Julia Roberts wore the necklace on the red carpet of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
For the occasion, the luxury brand also created a 41mm Alpine Eagle watch with the case and bracelet made of ethically sourced 18k yellow gold. It’s the first watch in this sporty collection to feature yellow gold.
The textured brass dial is in a new color Chopard calls “Golden Peak.” As with all the watches in the Alpine Eagle collection it is stamped with a sunburst pattern inspired by the iris of the eagle. Karl-Friedrich says the yellow-gold color represents the “scintillating lights” of New York.
The watch is powered by the COSC-certified Chopard 01.01-C caliber with a 60-hour power reserve. The central rotor is made of ethical 22k yellow gold.
In addition, there are two new Happy Sport New York Edition watches featuring a mobile apple. The first is a 36mm all-black version made of DLC treatment completed with a plant-based leather strap limited to 17 pieces and exclusively available in the U.S.
The black case frames a matching dial with a sunburst satin-brushed finish, swept over by rhodium-plated hands serving as a backdrop for the ballet of three dancing diamonds and the recreation of the New York apple. On the crown, onyx replaces the collection’s traditional sapphire to maintain the all-black theme. It is powered by a quartz movement.
The second is a diamond-set jewelry version with a 36mm case made from ethically sourced 18k rose gold housing a textured mother-of-pearl dial adorned with a dancing apple composed of rubies and tsavorites. The bezel and lugs are covered with diamonds. This timepiece is completed with a red patent alligator leather strap. It’s powered by an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
Finally, there’s the “Chopard Big Apple” pendant necklace, an impressively sculpted jewel with a generously rounded red apple made from Fairmined-certified ethical 18k rose gold, with the “apple” covered in carnelian and the emblematic gold “C” logo. This 17-piece limited edition bejeweled fruit dangles from the end of a gold chain, also crafted in-house.