Prix Gaïa 2019 – Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Entrepreneurship Category
The Jury for the Gaïa Prize is paying tribute to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in recognition of the dynamic growth and international renown which the family company has enjoyed thanks to his leadership, and for developing new watchmaking entities which emphasise the value of people, craftsmanship and innovation.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was born in 1958 in the city of Pforzheim, Germany, where he lived until the age of 15. In 1963, his father Karl Scheufele III, who managed Karl Scheufele GmbH, founded in 1904 by his grandfather, acquired the Geneva-based watch manufacture Chopard. Karl-Friedrich then moved to Switzerland with his parents and sister, and enrolled in the International School of Geneva. He served an apprentice-ship with a master jeweller in Geneva, before studying at the Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC Lausanne). When he returned to Geneva after a journey of initiation around the world, he rejoined the family business in 1979 and learned the skills practised there by spending successive periods working in all departments.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is currently Co-President of Chopard. He is in charge of the Chopard Manufacture and Fleurier Ebauches, which he himself founded, along with the men's watches division of the company and various management aspects. With his younger sister Caroline, he is involved in the company's mar- keting, advertising and communications projects. In each of these tasks, he shows the greatest commit- ment to innovation, craftsmanship and attention to detail as core values. Chopard employs some 2000 staff.
Chopard has built its reputation thanks to iconic collections such as "Happy Diamonds", "Happy Sport" and "Mille Miglia", but it is also renowned for its jewellery creations and for its technical expertise, encapsulated by the L.U.C. collection.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele successfully balances his professional commitments with his personal interests. His passion for classic cars, for example, led Chopard to forge partnerships with the famous Mille Miglia race – in which he has participated every year since 1988 – and also with Porsche Motorsport. Always looking for rare treasures, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is also an avid collector. Over the years, he has amassed a vast collection of mechanical watches and clocks for Chopard which are of particular interest from both a technical and historical perspective. Exhibited at the L.U.CEUM, this collection retraces the history of time and the development of Chopard.
In 1996, he brought his vision of fine watchmaking to life by founding the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, thereby reconnecting with the tradition of mechanical movement production and with the heritage of Louis-Ulysse Chopard.
In seeking to enrich the museum's collection, Karl- Friedrich Scheufele discovered the history of watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud and acquired the brand in 2006. In 2015, he launched the first model from the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud brand and won the "Aiguille d'Or" at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in 2016. The following year, he won the same prize for the Chopard L.U.C Full Strike timepiece.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is also a lover of fine wines, a passion which he shares through another entrepre- neurial venture: three wine boutiques called the "Caveau de Bacchus" have also been established in Geneva, Lausanne and Gstaad.
Despite his very busy schedule, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele continues to travel around the world with his wife Christine to visit their many clients and to attend key company events. He attaches great importance to his family and takes care to protect his private life. He dedicates his spare time to sporting activities such as racing, skiing and mountain hiking. The values of friendship and human well-being espoused by the whole Scheufele family are conveyed through their charitable commitments to fight against leukaemia and AIDS, and to protect the environment. When asked for the one word that best sums up his quest for the absolute in his work, he replies without hesitation: "quality". Quality craftsmanship, quality communication, quality time and, last but not least, quality of life, both personally and professionally.