Planning for the future: Part 2

November 2009

Chopard emphasizes its independence
With its L.U.C. Chopard Manufacture, Chopard has already mastered the production of its own movements, used exclusively in the haute horlogerie sector and in very limited numbers. These L.U.C. Manufacture movements are well-known for their quality, originality and high degree of finishing. Armed with this success, Chopard has decided to move to the next step and produce its own Ébauches, but this time on an industrial level.
The goal of the new company, Fleurier Ebauches SA, founded in July 2008, is to increase the independence of the family company. Within the next four to five years, it plans on producing approximately 12,000 to 15,000 movements per year, of which two-thirds will be automatic calibres and one-third chronographs. The total investment is said to be around 15 million Swiss francs.


Fleurier Ebauches building and machines

The new entity is located only a few hundred metres from the L.U.C. manufacture in Fleurier in an old, but entirely renovated, industrial building that offers a large working area of 5,100 square metres. Over time, it can accommodate 50 to 60 employees. In the first part of the building, now finished, there is an impressive series of high-capacity production machines—the Precitrame MTR 312, each equipped with nine units with three axes and four tooling heads, allowing for a total of 36 simultaneous operations.
As Karl-Friedrich Scheufele says with delight, “The L.U.C. movements are first class while those from the Fleurier Manufacture are business class.” In other words, they represent somewhat higher volumes with good quality. “Having said that,” adds Scheufele, “I have learned in this adventure that creating industrial volumes is more complicated since everything must be planned well in advance and the slightest error can have major consequences.”
The first of these new calibres, the FE 151, is currently undergoing Chronofiable testing. It is a versatile automatic calibre (28.8 mm) featuring three hands, instantaneous jumping date, a stop seconds function and power reserve of 60 hours. The second step will be a simple, but integrated chronograph. In the beginning, it will be used in the brand’s existing steel collections, produced in volumes of 7,000 to 8,000 pieces. Chopard also reserves the right to sell these calibres to third parties. We can discover them at BaselWorld 2010.

Planning for the future: Part 1
Planning for the future: Part 3
Planning for the future: Part 4
Planning for the future: Part 5

Source: Europa Star October-November 2009 Magazine Issue