Karl-Friedrich Scheufele on Car Restoration, Truffle Hunting and More – Robb Report
You could say that Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was born to do what he does. His family bought Chopard, the venerable 162-year-old Swiss watch manufacturer, in 1963, and Scheufele, along with his sister, Caroline, took over from their father, Karl Scheufele III, in 2001. But the siblings had already been tough on working for two decades to transform the company into the high-powered watch and jewelry empire it is today.
In 1980, when he was just 22, Scheufele designed the company’s first steel sports watch, the St. Moritz, so he would have something to wear on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. In 2019 Scheufele was inspired to revisit the concept and created something of a reboot, the Alpine Eagle. It has been so successful that it is “currently facing a shortage of products in the market”. When he’s not busy leading the development of the company’s next-generation watches or planning red-carpet jewelry deals in Cannes, you can find him relaxing in his traditional Swiss chalet in the snow-capped mountains of Gstaad, Switzerland’s ultra-elite. winter playground.
What watch are you wearing?
I wear the Alpine Eagle, but I’ve also worn an LUC 1860. It’s the very first LUC we introduced 25 years ago. It also contains the first automatic movement that we have reintroduced. You can open and close the bottom of the case. Today it is truly a collector’s item. I’m nostalgic because of our anniversary, the 25 years of our manufacture, I took it out again and I wear it with pleasure.
How many watches do you have in your personal collection?
I would say around 30 or 35, at least. But I also continue to wear prototypes that will be launched or even watches for complicated repairs for a client that I know personally.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Recently, I finally managed to go black truffle hunting in Périgord, where we also grow wine.
What are you doing that is still analog?
I enjoy reading books, magazines, auction catalogs and newspapers.
How to find peace?
In Gstaad, I like skinning, where you go up the mountain with skins under your skis. When you are at the top, you take off the skins and ski down. You make a fairly steep effort to get there, then have the thrill of hurtling down the slope.
What’s the most recent thing you’ve added to your collection?
I added an artwork that shows the print of a hand. I found this very meaningful because of our manufacturing. These prints, which are made of metal, will be found at the entrance to our production. It’s by a French artist based in New York named Prune Nourry.
What do you regret not buying?
A pair of floor lamps by a Belgian designer named Emiel Veranneman. He designed them in the 60s, and I really like the style and finish.
What does success look like to you?
I think success is when you are able to contribute to a better life in general for the people you love and around you. Success is something I’m happy to share with others because usually the kind of success we could talk about in my case is really due to a group of people who believed in what they were doing with us and with me . Therefore, I think success is something to share.
Where do you get your clothes?
I had a tailor in Italy, but he died. He worked until he was 85. But now I found someone in Zurich, a few years ago, but he still learns my ideas. [Laughs] I love going to all the shops around Jermyn Street in London, the tailors where you would buy everything or the specialist comb and brush shops. These specialized stores are unfortunately disappearing, stores of umbrellas, hats or caps. So I try to support them. I think London is probably where most of them still stayed.
To drive or to be driven?
I prefer to drive, with a few exceptions like my friend, racing legend Mr. Jacky Ickx. But in fact, from time to time, my wife drives me to the office so that I can check my e-mails. We change places to extend our work a little.
How would you describe your look?
It’s hard to judge, but probably classic and more elegant. I’m not one to wear jogging shoes with a suit. But sometimes, when I feel like it, I don’t wear a tie. And once in a while, I don’t shave for two days.
The last piece of advice you gave?
We have a slogan that we put on our wine bottles, and the translation is: “What you do with time, time will respect”.
What car are you most attached to?
My first classic car which I bought many years ago. It’s a dark red Porsche 356 Speedster. This is the first car in which I really invested a lot of money to restore it. It was not in very good condition, but I still appreciate the restoration process today. It’s a wonderful little car to drive.
Do you also own and restore other vintage cars?
Oh, you are opening a whole book here! I prefer not to say how many, even my wife does not know! [Laughs] But the oldest car in my collection is a 1929 Bentley. In Gstaad, I keep a 1971 Land Rover which has been restored to original specifications.
Wine of choice?
We have a vineyard, a wine shop and a wine bar, so we probably have the most impressive choice in Geneva, but the ones I prefer today are organic. We have gone through the transformation of our vineyard into organic or even biodynamic cultivation. It was pretty tough and it took a long time, so I appreciate what all those winemakers went through. But one wine, over the years, that I have always really liked is Haut-Brion de Bordeaux.
What causes are important to you?
Protecting nature and being aware of global warming etc. is essential these days. In our line of business, ethical gold sourcing is something we have introduced. And we partner with the Eagle Wings Foundation for the reintroduction of eagles to the Alpine region.
Bowie or Dylan?