Julia Roberts Stars in Chopard's Latest Campaign

Photographer: Shayne Laverdière
Stylist: Elizabeth Stewart
Hair: Serge Normant
Make-up: Genevieve Herr
Manicure: Christina Graci

words by Katherine Arteche
20 Apr 2021

We talk to Co-President Caroline Scheufele on the creation of Happy Diamonds and the new Happy Sport timepieces.

In 2016, Julia Roberts was photographed prancing barefoot on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. Despite her incomplete ensemble (which was deduced to be in response to the event’s strict dress code), the joyful aura that radiated from Roberts was dazzling.

She was grinning in her off-shoulder Armani Privé gown that was paired with statement jewelry — a diamond and emerald necklace from Chopard. Roberts, who is known for her natural beauty and infectious smile, carried on at the event with graceful demeanor that did her fellow shoe-wearing peers no favors. 

Julia Roberts, behind the scenes of the Happy Diamond campaign. ©Shayne-Laverdiere

This is what Caroline Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, would later call the embodiment of joie de vivre, a French phrase to mean the enjoyment of life. Roberts, the face of the Happy Diamonds campaign, is someone who, according to Scheufele, conveys the collection’s spirit.

“Julia is the ultimate Happy Sport woman when it comes to embodying the maison’s values. She represents an era and has shaped authentic contemporary mythologies – the trademark of all those who have left an enduring impression on the history of cinema.

Chopard and Julia were absolutely destined to cross paths thanks to our mutual flamboyant magnetism, freedom-loving spirit, and inextinguishable joie de vivre.”

Happy Sport the First ©Federal Studio

Canadian film director Xavier Dolan is the creative force behind the campaign’s visuals, one whose work resonates with Scheufele when it comes to evoking said energy. “He has amply demonstrated his ability to embrace the elements forming the very core of our humanity, revealing the strength of our singularities through the prism of his entrancing vision,” she says.

“I am impressed by his artistry: He stages the encounter with Julia Roberts like a firework display.”

The campaign celebrates over 20 years of the Happy Sport, the manufacture’s iconic ladies timepiece, where two new models pay homage to the collection created in 1993. Back then, the watch was a unique creation in comparison to the other watches most women wore at the time.

The round, dainty case was paired with a supple pebble-link bracelet that accentuated the look and feel, akin to a piece of jewelry. Time was read off a minimal dial that only displayed the four main hour markers in Roman numerals.

Yet, within the round case, loose solitaire diamonds dance upon the dial, adding that frivolous edge.

Happy Sport the First ©Federal Studio

“Indeed, the Happy Sport offered a fresh concept for a ladies' watch,” says Scheufele. “I think that with Happy Sport, we’ve invented a whole new relationship with time.

Looking at it is not merely about reading the time, but about delighting in the perpetual ballet of these Happy Diamonds whose infinite dance – synchronized by the movements of the choreographer-wearer – inevitably sparks a smile, an emotion, or a magical moment.

It’s all about expressing a certain joie de vivre, a happy, optimistic spirit that is part of Chopard’s DNA.”

Launched in limited edition releases, the new Happy Sport the First watches pay homage to the original creation. The dancing diamonds, 33mm case size, and bracelet are preserved, while the new metal body houses a new movement.

A first in Lucent Steel A223, the new Happy Sport watches are issued in 1,993 pieces (a number dedicated to the collection’s debut year) and 788 pieces for the diamond-set model. The time-only movement runs on the automatic-winding 09.01C caliber, which also provides a power reserve of up to 42 hours.

Scheufele’s idea for having the diamonds run amok was inspired by her mother’s words. “These diamonds are happier when they are free,” she was told.

The innovation was first designed in 1976, of which Scheufele’s mother, Karin, discovered in a prototype. The illusion, while mesmerizing to watch, is made possible through a very intricate construction.

After all, diamond runs higher than sapphire crystal on the Mohs hardness scale, so how has the surface not been scratched?

An advertisement for the Happy Sport in 1999

The resident artisan (or what Chopard calls the “dancing diamond choreographer”) is Lorena, who has been executing this for the last eight years. The diamonds are in fact encapsulated between two sapphire crystals which are then manually sealed with a bracket.

It is crucial that the right pressure is applied to maintain water resistance, while also giving ample space for the solitaires to freely move and without flipping over.

Chopard Co-President, Caroline Scheufele

This continued demonstration of innovation, technique, and artistry are supported by the maison’s ongoing multi-year sustainability program, one that they have been championing since 2013. It was also the same year that Scheufele debuted the High Jewelry Green Carpet Collection at Cannes.

“We are very proud to be carrying the message that a different, more responsible way of doing business is possible,” shares Scheufele. “Apart from us, I truly see a bright future for the luxury industry under the banner of sustainability and ethics, so I would love to see our industry fellows following suit!

Obviously, there are still many challenges that need to be met, expanding the list of sustainable materials we can use and this concerns also our industry as a whole. But as I always say, Rome wasn’t built in a day — it is a long journey but it is the right one.”

Discover the new Happy Diamonds launch here.