315 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor New York City, NY 10017 United States 888.616.3330
Email Dealer


35% Off Original Price: $ 20,000
Sale Price: $ 13,000

Special Order 1970s Chopard James Bond Happy Diamond 18kt Bracelet Wristwatch

Documentation Signed
Period 1950-1999
Creation Date 1970s
Description In 1978, the first 'Happy Diamonds' advertisement in the German fashion magazine, Madame, Chopard was first being promoted as a men's watch. A suave tuxedo-clad gentleman with a whiff of "eau de Bond...James Bond" is wearing a Happy Diamonds watch for real men with the slogan: "Moving diamonds for happy hours!"The Chopard catalogue that year proclaimed: "Have you ever stirred up diamonds with your fingers? As Chopard's 'One Big Idea' the concept of the happy diamond became a dazzling commercial success. The most innovative watch design of 1976 came from the inspired mind of Ronald Kurowski, a designer at Chopard. It is said that this idea came to him as he was hiking through the Black Forest, he came upon a waterfall with water droplets sparkling in the sunshine. It inspired him to design a watch embellished with countless dancing diamonds, without settings and freely moving between dial, bezel and sapphire crystal.

Brilliant-cut diamonds are at their most beautiful when their 'fire' is lit by movement. Like water droplets refracting sunlight, diamond facets also refract light into rainbow hues. Kurowski always felt restricted by fixed gem settings so he felt that this new design really "liberated the diamonds". It was never meant for regular production as it was a one-of-a-kind entry into the annual 'Golden Rose of Baden Baden'; a jewelers competition organized by the 'Society of Friends of Precious Stones' in Germany. Together with the 'International Diamond Award', the 'Golden Rose' was the highest award for watch design in the 1970s and 1980s. It was the 'Oscar' of the design world. In those days, Chopard already employed six to eight designers - an incredible large team compared to the industry average .Any design has to be translated into actuality by the Chopard craftsmen watchmakers and jewelers. Kurowski's 'One Big Idea' was deemed impossible to realize because diamonds are rated at the maximal 10 on the Moh's Hardness Scale whereas the other visible components of the watch (dial, bezel and sapphire glass) are softer. Freely-moving diamonds would scratch everything in their path making his concept virtually impossibly to employ.

For Chopard, these rational objections could not be tolerated because the Preliminary Entry Acceptance Jury had already nominated it as the 'Most Interesting Design of the Year’, which came with a small prize. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele recounts: "That was a problem because all accepted and shortlisted entries for the 'Golden Rose' had to be actualized". Furthermore, the rules required the development from design sketch to competition grade product was within three months.

As a result, he went back to the drawing board to achieve the impossible and find answers to the questions he was most commonly posed.
The initial prototype tests revealed further issues:
How could they prevent the diamonds from flipping over and showing their undersides?
How could they hide the winding stem but allow space between the dial and crown for dancing diamonds?
How could they prevent the diamonds from scratching the sapphire crystal?

To resolve the impossible, He implemented one bright idea: the use of golden sheaths.He realized to surpass the obstacles of floating diamonds he would make sure each diamond was surrounded with a handmade white gold sheath, so thin that most observers don't notice it. The sheath tube protrudes a few millimeters above the diamond surface so the smooth rounded soft gold edges glide against underside of the watch crystal without deleterious scratches. As an analogy, consider a cupcake, where the diamond is the cake and the gold sheath is the paper cup.

As a result, the diamonds adopted an unstable attitude and could be more easily set into a twirling motion like dervishes. The slightest finger tap on the case caused the diamonds to rotate; which became known as Chopard's very own "tap test" that remains the definitive test of authentic "Happy Diamonds".The Happy diamond design is still patented today but with that concept resolved the next issues were the selection of the dial material and watch movement. Kurowski's design sketch depicted a black substrate behind the diamonds; after many attempts, they settled upon finely polished onyx. The onyx dial also concealed the mechanical movement and winding stem. The ETA 2442 movement was chosen because it was thin and had a small 13.7mm diameter. This allowed space for the diamonds to move freely around the circumference of the dial because the whole movement and stem were fitted into the back of the watch. The watch was entered for the competition as a Gents' watch and won the 'Golden Rose' in 1976.

Initially, Chopard planned planned to display the prize winning watch as an attraction to the Chopard booth at the 1977 Basel trade fair. There were no plans for commercial production and it was to serve merely as a conversation piece. At best, perhaps a watch collector could have purchased the 'dancing diamonds' watch as an exotic “piece unique”. That was the big error of judgement that the family freely admits to.As soon as the doors were opened, jewelers started ordering the nameless watch in large numbers. Never looking at a gift horse in the mouth, the Scheufeles accepted the orders and named it the "Happy Diamonds" watch. Karin Scheufele had remarked that "diamonds are happiest when they are free to dance". A ladies' version joined the Gents' Happy Diamonds watch and in that first year alone, more than 10,000 Happy Diamonds watches were sold !

Despite the launch of a smaller ladies' version, in those early years, customers were mainly men who wore the TV-shaped dress watch according to many 1978 Fashion magazine advertisements.Since then, Chopard has continued to introduce new variations of the famous style in watches and jewelry alike. People first thought that 'Happy Diamonds' was a passing fad but that was proven not to be the case. During the "quartz crisis" of the 1970s, nearly all of the Swiss watch brands were floundering but Chopard saw triumph upon success because of 'Happy Diamonds' and Paradoxically, by the 1980s Chopard had completely shifted focus into the women's market and ironically the only item not available was the regular production of a Gents' Happy Diamonds watch.Nowadays, the 'Happy Diamonds' has become a ladies' watch but Chopard will custom-make one as a special order for a special client should the request exist which was exactly the case with the present timepiece offered today.
Gemstones Diamond
Metals Yellow Gold
Gender Men's , Ladies'
Styles / Movements Contemporary, Rare Jewels, Signed Pieces
Incollect Reference Number 337870
Sign In To View Price close

You must Sign In to your account to view the price. If you don’t have an account, please Create an Account below.

Loading... Loading...
  • This website uses cookies to track how visitors use our website to provide a better user experience. By continuing to browse this website, you are agreeing to our cookie policy
Join InCollect close

Join to view prices, save favorites, share collections and connect with others.

Forgot Password?
  • Be the first to see new listings and weekly events
    Invalid Email. Please try again.