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Chopard Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Chopard Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-President of Chopard, talks to us about the twentieth anniversary of the L.U.C and his passion for cars.

Worldtempus was lucky enough to meet up with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-President of Chopard, a few days before Baselworld 2016. It was an opportunity to find out what kind of year 2015 had been, discuss plans for 2016, and talk about the 20th anniversary of the L.U.C collection.

Mr Scheufele, how did 2015 go for Chopard?
It was a complex year from a financial point of view, as it was for everyone. The Swiss franc dropped sharply; other markets such as Asia, and Hong Kong in particular, are suffering in the current economic climate, and of course that affects us all.

Europe has weathered the storm relatively well, largely thanks to Chinese tourists. Would you agree?
Absolutely. And the British market is looking very positive for Chopard. We have also expanded into India, where sales are going very well. I’d say that, on balance, 2015 was not such a bad year, given the difficulties. 

What’s in store for 2016?
This year we will see a number of new launches. We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the L.U.C collection and we’ll be making four major announcements over the course of the year, the last of which will be a completely new complication for the L.U.C.

The L.U.C collection is twenty years old! You must be very proud.
Yes, clearly it gives me great personal satisfaction. I was lucky enough to be there at the start of the adventure, and now I’ve seen it through to maturity. But without the team at the manufacture and the support of my family none of this would have been possible.

Did you ever think you’d find yourself in this position?
We all suffer from doubts, all the way through the process. When you start with a blank page you have to learn as you go along. Experience comes with time, and it gives me great pleasure to have written a few pages in the watchmaking history book. Although I must admit, it wasn’t always easy!

What do the L.U.C manufacture timepieces represent in terms of revenues?
The L.U.C collection accounts for 10% of our annual revenues. We produce 4,500 per year. But we are going to change our approach to distribution: it will be slimmed down, more targeted, focused on high-quality retailers. 

How many watches do you make each year?
In total, 70,000. Currently, they are split 35% / 65% between men’s and women’s models, but the men’s sector is growing.

What proportion of your sales comes from your jewellery division?
Jewellery represents 35% of our sales. 2015 was an excellent year for our jewellery division. 

I know you are a great car enthusiast.
Yes, particularly classic cars, I must admit. That is one of the main reasons for our partnership with the Italian Mille Miglia race. In fact, we unveiled our latest model, the Mille Miglia XL Race Edition, during the Geneva International Motor Show.

How do you reconcile your personal interests with your work as head of Chopard?
It’s not at all easy. It’s a matter of timing. I’ve had to promise my wife I’ll slow down a bit! (laughter) And I agreed... so I won’t be adding any new activities to my schedule!

Looking ahead to Baselworld 2016 and the rest of the year, what can you tell us about your new launches?
Nothing! (laughter) The only thing I can tell you is that we’re going to make some noise in 2016.

Article prepared by ISABELLE GUIGNET,