Chopard Happy Sport The First: Singapore Price And Review

A nostalgic tribute to the original liberating bejewelled ladies’ watch.

Though it arrived a little late to the party in 1993, the Chopard Happy Sport still managed to make waves as part of the how-dare-they-make-steel-watches-this-expensive brigade. A sibling in spirit to the likes of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, the original horological disruptors that put steel sports watches on equal footing – and price tags – as luxury gold watches, the Happy Sport was similarly epochal in its pairing of a humble metal with precious gemstones in a women’s watch.

An offshoot of the Happy Diamonds range of jewellery and watches that Chopard introduced in 1978, the Happy Sport collection extrapolated its predecessor’s concept of freeing diamonds from fixed prongs, allowing them to slide without restraint across the surface of the dial, into all-occasion timepieces that effectively also freed the watches from the constraints of wardrobe accompaniments.

"I wanted a watch that I could wear all day long: at the gym, in the office or for a dinner in town,” said its creator Caroline Scheufele back in 1993, who is now the co-president of Chopard.

Boasting a trajectory familiar to successful iconic collections, the Happy Sport collection grew and evolved to include various styles, forms and gemstones; featuring sapphires, rubies, emeralds, various dial and case material combinations, and even whimsical iterations such as mobile fish and heart-shaped charms in the Happy Fish and Happy Heart collections.

This year, however, Chopard gets a bit misty eyed as it turns to the original model that started it all, reviving the pioneering design in all its glory with the throwback-inspired Happy Sport The First collection. Comprising two limited edition Lucent steel models, one with diamonds on bezel (788 pieces) and one without (1,993 pieces), the Happy Sport The First watches make no apologies for their unadulterated homage, lavished of course, with some modern upgrades.

Driving the timepieces is the in-house automatic Chopard 09.01-C movement, which first featured in the Happy Sport collection in 2018, on the occasion of the collection’s 25th anniversary. At just 20.4mm in diameter, the movement is a veritable powerhouse that promises up to 42 hours of power reserve – a dainty but high-performance engine perfectly suited for the collection. Aside from the contemporary calibre, though, almost everything else about the Happy Sport The First collection is imbued with the spirit of the past.

Just like it was back in the day, the new 33mm Happy Sport The First variants come in round cases with long lugs set with blue cabochons at the sides, as well as on the crown. Sporting similar designs on the dial and bracelet, the former features huge Roman numerals at the quarter hours on a textured mother-of-pearl dial (for the version with diamonds on the bezel) and silver-toned dial, and the latter comes in the vintage-y pebble-style links that are suppler and just as eye-catching.

While charming, the retro aesthetics, as with all Happy Sport designs, are in service to the seven dancing mobile stars. The free-wheeling diamonds that spin and slide across the dial are set in a gold case with a bevelled top and flat base, which protects the surface on which stone moves. The ‘set’ diamonds are then sandwiched flat between two pieces sapphire crystals, allowing them to skate and spin in any direction, expressing the same unencumbered capriciousness and fun as all the Happy Sport watches have done for decades.

 Case

33mm Lucent steel

 Dial

Silver toned or textured mother-of-pearl with seven dancing diamonds

 Movement

Self-winding Chopard 09.01-C

 Functions

Hours, minutes, seconds

 Power Reserve

42 hours

 Water resistance

100m

 Price

S$24,000 (with diamonds on bezel)
S$13,700 (without diamonds on bezel)

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Ex Editor-In Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.