Our style decisions were once dictated by unwritten rules: no whites after Labor Day, black tie means a tux or a sweeping gown, and diamonds go only with gold or platinum. So in 1993, when Chopard scion Caroline Scheufele suggested to her father and brother that they create a sporty stainless steel watch set with diamonds, they were hesitant. “I said, ‘Where is the law that we must set diamonds in gold or platinum?’,” she says. She won that battle, and Chopard created Happy Sport, the first stainless steel and diamond timepiece.
Scheufele, now the company’s co-president and artistic director, may have pushed the boundaries of the conservative Swiss watch industry, but Happy Sport was conceived for her own convenience. “I ski, swim, and sail, and I wanted a watch with a twist, something I could wear while playing sports and then into the evening,” she says.
It wasn’t the first time Chopard broke the rules. When it unveiled the first Happy Diamonds timepiece, in 1976, it jolted the industry with a design that featured loose diamonds swirling around the dial. The playful watch could have been dismissed as a novelty, but it has proved an enduring and iconic design—and proof that Swiss watchmakers don’t always take themselves too seriously.
Those whirling diamonds—and rubies, emeralds, and sapphires—now dance in a range of whimsical watches and jewels, and they have caught the attention of collectors around the world, including Elton John, who commissioned a custom watch with floating diamond-studded dollar signs.
Nearly 30 years after Happy Sport’s conception, Chopard has reimagined the style in a new 33mm-diameter model inspired by the golden ratio; 13 variations include Lucent steel and rose gold, and one set entirely in diamonds. All have the trademark floaters.
Whether displayed on a watch or in a pendant, the Happy Diamonds concept remains as fresh and appealing as ever. Whirling diamonds on your wrist? It’s pure bliss.
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