View Slideshow

NEW YORK — This year marks two decades since the introduction of Chopard’s Happy Sport watch — and the brand will unveil a new timepiece and a corresponding digital program to mark the occasion.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Chopard USA president and chief executive officer Marc Hruschka calls the first Happy Sport Medium Automatic women’s watch “probably the most important addition to the Happy Sport collection.” Although it looks similar to the current model, the timepiece has a completely new case, dial and movement.

The 36-mm. case, available in either stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold, has a silver-tone dial, seven moving diamonds, an open sapphire crystal back that allows the wearer to see the self-winding movement and an alligator strap. The timepiece, which has eight different versions ranging in price from $8,100 to $41,240, will make its debut at Baselworld in Geneva later this month.

“Automatic movements are usually bigger than quartz movements, and I think the design and manufacturing team have done an excellent job of still keeping a very feminine and compact case size — yet integrating an automatic movement with an open back,” Hruschka said.

In September, Chopard relaunched its Web site and introduced e-commerce. Women’s timepieces are the bestselling category site-wide, with the majority of sales coming from Happy Sport and Imperiale watches (the Happy Sport is the top performing category for women’s watches overall, as well), according to Hruschka. He noted that online sales are doing “relatively well” and that the average purchase ranges from about $5,500 to $6,000.

“We learned that there’s a segment of the population that is very willing to put something into a shopping cart, pay for it and never interact with us at all — and then there’s a large segment who want to validate that it actually is the Chopard Web site and not an unauthorized point of distribution and validate this via e-mails and phone calls. That part is interesting; we didn’t realize that people would have that many questions about that topic,” Hruschka noted.

On Monday, the company launched My Happy Sport — a microsite at that lets users personalize their own Happy Sport watch, from picking the material, the gems and the strap to adding diamond charms or letters. Today a Facebook app containing the same content will go live, and on Wednesday, the brand will unveil the initiative on the homepage of and across the social networks it’s active on.

Although personalized Happy Sport watches cannot be purchased via the microsite or app, consumers can create a watch online without needing to go into a store. Once a personalized timepiece design is submitted, potential buyers are then contacted by the nearest store to complete the transaction.