At MONOCHROME, we tend to sparingly use the word “icon” as it has become a marketing tool rather than a proper definition of the status of a model. There are, however, true icons of watchmaking, timepieces that are known far beyond the small circle of seasoned collectors. And most are, sadly maybe, watches created first for men. When it comes to feminine watches, fewer models have gained cult status, but the Chopard Happy Sport and its dancing diamonds is surely one of them. Created in 1993, its design has evolved years after years but in 2021, the brand introduces a revamped collection, which includes the Chopard Happy Sport “The First,” limited-edition re-releases of the very first watch presented.
The Happy Sport is the brainchild of Caroline Scheufele – now Co-President and Artistic Director of the brand – who was driven by the idea of creating a versatile watch, formal yet casual, precious yet slightly sporty. A watch that you “could wear all day long; at the gym, in the office or for a dinner in town.” she said. And behind this watch, in addition to its overall casual attire, was a striking concept, the dancing diamonds launched by Caroline’s parents – “these diamonds are happier when they are free,” as her mother exclaimed in 1976 when she initially laid eyes on the first prototype.
Yet, instead of making freely moving diamonds dance around the watch as was the case with Chopard Happy Diamonds timepieces, Caroline Scheufele decided to place them between two sapphire crystals above the dial. The result of this idea came to life in 1993, with the first Chopard Happy Sport, a watch mixing steel and diamonds, a soft, comfortable pebble-link bracelet, set with cabochon-cut sapphires on the lugs and on the crown, echoing the blued hands, and of course, a white dial enhanced by seven diamonds “dancing” above it.
If Chopard will also launch a redesigned collection for the Happy Sport, a watch that will show modernized elements yet still totally in line with the DNA of the range, there’s also and mostly this limited edition model to surface, a watch that is a direct descendant of the original 1993 watch, yet of course with contemporary touches all around. The case is clearly echoing the design of the initial model, which has been designed according to the golden ratio, a mathematical balance used to define the proportions of the new models in the collection. By using the golden ratio in direct relation to the diameter of the movement designed for Chopard ladies’ watch collections, the case of the Happy Sport has been redesigned in a 33 mm diameter, particularly well suited to the female wrist.
The shape of the case is also highly familiar, with its polished surfaces and 4 cabochon-cut sapphires on the lugs, as well as an additional one found on the faceted crown. However, this 33mm case, with a reasonable height of 10.84mm (knowing the extra layer required for the diamonds), is now made of Lucent Steel A223, a steel alloy that combines anti-allergenic virtues with the brightness and sturdiness of ordinary steel. It is also 70% made from recycled metals, following Chopard’s commitment to sustainable luxury (think about fairmined gold). As for the dial, the Chopard Happy Sport The First brings back the understated silver-toned dial punctuated by blue Roman hour markers, minute track and hands, as a visual balance with the blue cabochons. There are two versions of “The First” launched, one being full steel with a silver-white dial, the other featuring a diamond-set bezel and a mother-of-pearl dial.
Of course, the most emblematic element of the Chopard Happy Sport, its dancing diamonds, are still present. Still enclosed between two layers of sapphire crystal, 7 free-moving modules in steel with a brilliant-cut diamond are making the choreography this model is known for.
To complement this slightly vintage look, the Chopard Happy Sport The First is bringing back the stainless steel pebble-link bracelet that was part of the 1993 model. Supple and smooth, it offers this watch versatility with enough robustness, yet the shine of a fully polished surface. Under the sapphire caseback is an in-house automatic movement, the calibre Chopard 09.01-C. Designed for feminine collections, it is entirely designed, developed and produced by the brand. Beating at 3,5Hz, this self-winding mechanism can store up to 42 hours of power reserve. It is finished with Geneva stripes.