Chopard USA CEO Jean-Baptiste Maillard on the esteemed brand’s rich history of excellence and latest new beauties.
From top: Alpine Eagle 41 mm timepiece in Lucent Steel A223 with an Aletsch Blue dial by Chopard; Happy Hearts bangles by Chopard. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHOPARD
Striving to create beautiful complications and high jewelry pieces that “naturally stir a sense of emotion,” Swiss luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer Chopard boasts a prosperous 162-year history. Leading the USA and Americas markets is Miami-based Jean-Baptiste Maillard, an industry veteran who has helped deliver rarity and unrivaled artisanship to its clients. In light of Chopard’s latest novelties, we chat with Maillard on the brand’s rich past, present and future, as well as what makes the Miami market so unique. 9700 Collins Ave., Ste. 121, Bal Harbour, chopard.com
Tell us about some of Chopard’s newest releases and, in your opinion, some of the standouts.
We are thrilled to have participated in Watches & Wonders this year in Geneva. We launched some exciting collections, adding a new addition to our Alpine (Eagle) (Gold) collection. Since its relaunch, it’s been growing rapidly. We also have a new Happy Sport chronograph, which is beautiful. It is a pebblelike bracelet that is loyal to the original design of the Happy Sport. We also have some elevated high jewelry pieces, which we were thrilled to release.
What first drew you to the watch industry?
I was born in Reims, Champagne, and predestined to work in the industry. When I first graduated business school, I took a job working in production for a television company. I loved it but it wasn’t for me, so I moved on to work for LVMH’s watch department for a few years, until I was recruited by Chopard and made my way up from a sales director to managing director to CEO. I always had a deep love for the watch industry, as did my family.
What is unique about the South Florida buyer versus other markets?
It’s a very interesting market, as you have an influx of Latin and Central Americans coming to the boutique, as well as a big Brazilian community. When we do events here, like during Art Basel, we have large offerings of different products to appeal to the diverse buyers. We tend to find popularity in some of the larger pieces, as well as diamond watches and high jewelry. Those sell particularly well in Miami.
What have been some of your greatest career highlights?
The first was for me to take over the U.S. market, a particular region that I am passionate about. The second happened during COVID, which was a very challenging time, and I secured a boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York City in the Crown Building. It took over a decade to achieve this, so I was very proud.
What makes Chopard unique in the watch and high jewelry market?
It’s family-owned and most of our competitors come from big houses like LVMH or Richemont. Chopard approaches decisions through the Scheufele family in a unique way, always rooted [in] the sustainability of the business. We always think of the longevity of the company when making decisions. Secondly, the family strives to make our business as ethical and sustainable as possible—for example, all of our pieces are made out of sustainable gold.
What do you see for the future of the watch and high jewelry industry?
The industry is in such high demand and we are rearranging ourselves around these demands, especially due to raw materials appreciating in value. We are constantly looking at our footprint and distribution—we want to make sure we’re in the right location with sufficient stock in demand to keep our clients satisfied. Chopard has been very active in the market and has chosen to be represented in the country selectively. The brand is particularly active within its network and has been growing strongly over the last five years.
Photography by: Photography by Eduardo Aquirre