The Future is Steel

by Portfolio Magazine
11 May 2023

Chopard sets the sustainability bar high with a promise that by the end of 2023, all its steel watches will include 80% recycled steel. And that’s only the beginning.

Taking big, bold strides towards sustainable luxury is Chopard, which recently became the first Maison to roll out the use of recycled steel in its watches. An official media statement said that by the end of this year, the brand will use Lucent Steel for the production of all steel watches, including bracelets and cases.

Sustainability has always been a core value for Chopard and this announcement sees another milestone towards the fulfilment of its Journey to Sustainable Luxury. The announcement builds on the existing Lucent Steel – which was launched in 2019 with the Alpine Eagle watch, and made of 70% recycled steel – marking a key step in a multi-year project towards more responsible steel.

Key highlights of this initiative include:

1. By the end of 2023, all Chopard steel watches, including bracelets and cases, will include 80% recycled steel.

2. By 2025, this figure will rise to a minimum of 90%.

3.Chopard has underlined this commitment by becoming the first luxury Maison to join the Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative to work with the industry to speed up the transition to a net zero steel.

From a broader point of view, the initiative will allow the brand to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions related to steel, according to key ISSF (International Stainless Steel Forum) figures. By shifting from the standard 50% recycled steel content to 80%, this will cut emissions linked to production by 30%. At 90% recycled steel, this figure will increase to 40%.

According to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President, “Chopard is committed to a long-term process of responsible sourcing of the raw materials that make our business possible. We are proud of the work we have accomplished in just ten years. Through our ethical gold sourcing, which began progressively in 2013 with the goal of using 100% ethical gold in our workshops by 2018, followed today by our commitment to 80% recycled steel, we are approaching the ideal of ensuring the production of fully responsible watches and jewellery.”


What's In A Name?

What exactly is Chopard Lucent Steel? It is made using high-quality industrial scraps from Swiss watchmakers, along with high-grade steel from medical, aerospace, and automotive industries.

What’s more, the unique re-smelting process that creates Lucent Steel endows it with three unique characteristics, namely:

1.It is anti-allergenic. Its similarity to surgical steel means it is highly dermo-compatible and suitable for even the most sensitive, delicate skin.

2. Its strength makes it 50% more resistant to abrasion than conventional steel, making the watches intrinsically more sustainable.

3. Its homogenous crystal microstructure enables it to reflect the light in a unique way. Like diamonds, whose brilliance depends on the lowest degree of impurities, this high-performance steel has far less impurities than conventional steel, guaranteeing a brilliance, lustre, and brightness comparable to that of gold.


In the Loop

Lucent Steel stems from Chopard’s creation of a local, circular manufacturing loop. All Chopard suppliers for recycled steel are based within 1000km of its manufacturing unit, either in Switzerland or neighboring countries like Austria, France, Germany, and Italy, reducing the need for transportation emissions.

The brand’s main suppliers are voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl, a subsidiary of the globally leading steel and technology group voestalpine in Austria, and the Swiss company PX Precimet. Chopard is also collaborating with the innovative Swiss company Panatere, which is actively working to develop a solar energy metal process.

The scraps from Chopard’s manufacturing process are also collected and recycled into new high-quality steel by its suppliers. This circular process limits the extraction of raw materials without compromising the quality integral to all the Maison’s activities.

“The challenges of sourcing steel are totally different to those we have encountered with gold. That is part of the beauty of our Journey to Sustainable Luxury: we have one goal, but many, very different ways of getting there. While gold led us to focus on the working conditions of artisanal miners, steel has been an opportunity for us to tackle the impact of our products in terms of carbon footprint,” concludes Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and Artistic Director.

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