You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate group of people than those who are into classic cars. Except maybe those who collect timepieces. Chopard’s history as both a manufacturer of high-performance timepieces and as a passionate supporter of those who collect classic automobiles is well documented.
Karl Scheufele III, a German goldsmith and watchmaker who purchased the luxury brand in 1963, is an avid car collector. In addition to passing the luxury brand to his children, Caroline and Karl-Friedrich, who both serve as Chopard co-directors, he passed on his passion for car collecting to Karl-Friedrich. He in turn has immersed Chopard into the world of car collectors. He is best known for his longtime sponsorship and participation in the Mille Miglia, a thousand-mile classic car rally in Italy that is often billed as the “most beautiful race in the world,” and the watch collection that is associated with the race.
In addition, Karl-Friedrich and Chopard are involved in several other classic car events in Europe and the U.S. This includes the recently concluded Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, more commonly referred to as “The Amelia,” where Chopard is the official timekeeper of the event.
“The Scheufele Family has a strong passion for classic cars and has developed key and relevant partnerships around the world. Amelia Island naturally became a must for the brand to support,” says Jean-Baptiste Maillard, Chopard CEO of the Americas. “There are many very important and collectible cars on display. There are also many car collectors present who are close to the brand. It is always a pleasure to see everyone again on each occasion.”
The Amelia, owned and operated by Hagerty, an automotive enthusiast brand, just completed its 28th edition, March 2 – 5. Over the years it has grown substantially into a premier classic car event.
The main events of the four-day program at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island resort are a supercar auction conducted by Broad Arrow Auctions and the main event, Amelia Concours d’Elegance. There are also seminars, special networking events, films and driving experiences. The special honoree this year is Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Hall of Famer and vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, where the legendary driver provided details of his storied NASCAR racing career at a special honoree dinner.
Chopard’s involvement is deep. It provided two Mille Miglia Classic Chronographs for the event. The first was at the classic auto auction where a cars ranging from a customized Volkswagen Minibus to a trio of jet-black McLaren sports cars went under the hammer during a marathon session led by auctioneer, Lydia Fenet. Chopard’s Mille Miglia timepiece sold for $9,000 after nearly two minutes of bidding with the proceeds going towards Amelia legacy nonprofit partners. Chopard had a booth just outside the ballroom where the auction was held where representatives of the brand presented a selection of their timepieces and jewels.
While the auction is primarily for those with deep pockets bidding on cars that can run into several million dollars, the following day is dedicated to the main event, the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, a more inclusive event where for the price of a ticket, car enthusiasts can view approximately 250 historically significant cars on the golf course of the Ritz-Carlton. This is where Chopard presented a second Mille Miglia timepiece to winner of the Chopard Trophy, one of 32 awards presented to classic car classes at the event. Again, Chopard had a tent set up where those interested can browse the luxury brands collections.
For Maillard, it’s an event like others that allows Chopard to share its passion of classic cars and important timepieces in the North American market.
“There is a strong link associated with craftsmanship, mechanics, and aesthetics,” he says. “All the beautiful cars are on display. It was only natural to bring our timepieces and have them on display also. We get to discuss great car and watch stories throughout the weekend. Amelia Island is one of the best Concours of Elegance on the East Coast. We also have several other key partnerships in the U.S. such as the Cali Mille, Luftgekuhlt and even the 1000 Millas sport in Patagonia. We are very active in the U.S. market and in fact the Americas overall.”