There is gold and then there is gold.
The greater part of gold used in watches and jewelry today is mined by large corporations. Gold mining is a labor-escalated business requiring substantial resources to do it at a scale large enough to satisfy need just as build a sustainable business.
And while these companies focus on sustaining themselves and benefitting their proprietors, social and environmental sustainability in mining gold can come under duress.
And that inspired the cerification of Fairmined gold .
What is Fairmined gold?
Fairmined gold is 100% a similar element with exactly a similar purity of metal as potentially less ethically sourced gold, but there is one major difference: Fairmined gold is mined by artisanal and small-scale excavators – people who mine gold on a much smaller scale, supporting their families and communities with an eye to environmental impact.
Chopard ‘s the executives and workforce appear to have gold running through their veins because they realize this precious metal much better compared to most. In 2013 at the Cannes Film Festival, the Genevan brand presented a multi-year program pursuing more sustainable luxury.
Teaming up with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), the point is to help mining communities in Latin America to prospect for gold in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Once they comply with the criteria, they can acquire Fairmined certification.
Poverty regularly forces these communities to eliminate gold from the earth using any and all means possible, frequently incentivizing them cut down large territories of trees to create open pit mines and use harmful chemicals to isolate the gold from the soil.
Because they live where they mine, this greatly affects the future of their children, grandchildren, and continuing generations.
This is a real catch 22 for these communities because they need the cash obtained from the gold to feed and bring up their children.
And this is the place where ARM and Chopard come in. By providing social welfare and education and improving working conditions, they allow the communities to deal with themselves, most importantly by mining in a way that ensures natural resources and wildlife stay healthy for future generations.
This does not completely eliminate the need to cut down trees to account for the mine, nor the use of harmful chemicals, but it does teach them to do so in the most secure and most sustainable way.
These upgrades allow the mining communities to become certified as Fairmined, which thus gives them direct access to a stable market from which they receive a reasonable price for their gold from the buyers.
One of those buyers is, of course, Chopard. Owning its commitment to the end shows how serious the brand is about sustainable luxury. It’s not just the resources invested in the mining communities in Latin America, it’s also the significant speculations made in the factory building in Switzerland.
Chopard is one of the not many brands with its own foundry. This allows control of each aspect of the gold, from the quality and color to the shapes in which the precious metal shows up in the workshops to be transformed into watch cases and jewelry.
However, designating a watch or jewelry thing as Fairmined implies the Fairmined gold cannot be mixed with the metal that does not carry this certification. Hence, Chopard built a second production line dedicated only to Fairmined gold.
Of course you wouldn’t read Quill & Pad at the present time in the event that you weren’t curious about what Chopard makes with its delightful Fairmined gold.
In 2013 Chopard introduced its Green Carpet collection with a couple haute joaillerie pieces that were worn at the film festival in Cannes by actress Marion Cotillard.
As Chopard is also responsible for crafting the Palme d’Or prize that goes to the festival’s triumphant film director, the following year Chopard presented this prestigious award for the director of the best film in a Fairmined gold version.
This was followed in 2015 by the Palme Verte collection, which took the Fairmined gold broader with more affordable jewelry inspired by the design of the Palme d’Or.
As much a watch brand as a jewelry brand
But of course is Chopard is as much a watch brand as it is a jewelry brand. In 2014 it launched its first watch made from Fairmined gold, the L.U.C. Tourbillon QF Fairmined : a most amazing piece that deserves closer inspection.
Not only is this watch housed in a 43 mm case crafted in 18-karat Fairmined gold, but the development used in this watch also satisfies the guidelines for Qualité Fleurier certification. To meet this qualification, chronometer certification is also required.
As part of the L.U.C. collection, the development is crafted in-house by Chopard; alongside a tourbillon it also flaunts a nine-day (!) power reserve.
Buying Fairmined gold also has a surprising side effect: because you buy directly from the source, you become more acquainted with the excavators themselves. This inspired Chopard’s designers working with jewelry and watches in Fairmined gold.
And this became especially clear at Baselworld 2015 when the brand presented the L.U.C XPS in Fairmined gold. I’ll need to add a little disclaimer here: I am a huge devotee of slim, no-date, gold dress watches. In the event that there had been one watch at Baselworld 2015 that I was allowed to bring home, it would have been this one!
So at an enormous reasonable filled with the most costly, complicated, and beautiful watches I pick one that isn’t the most costly or the most complicated?
That is because to me it was the most beautiful one.
I describe it similar to the perfect example of the “craft of constraint,” something only a couple of brands actually ace, and among the individuals who do, even they can’t apply it all the time.
A simple, straightforward, yet elegant 39.5 mm pink gold case crafted from Fairmined gold houses Chopard Caliber L.U.C 96.12L . Only 3.30 mm high, it is chronometer-certified, features twin spring barrels for a 65-hour power hold, and has a counterbalanced micro rotor for efficient winding that keeps a svelte height.
But the most amazing aspect of this watch must be its dial, which is inspired by gold as it comes out of the soil, with a rich luster partially masked by the texture of the crude material.
Keeping it as low-key and understated as Chopard frequently does, the brand’s designers transformed the example into a dim galvanized, slightly curved dial. The result is an incredible play of light providing “50 shades of dark” that nonetheless keeps up the watch particularly understated.
Chopard is just beginning to flex its muscles where Fairmined gold is concerned. We can’t stand by to perceive what comes next in the brand’s fascinating line of sustainable luxury.
For more data, please visit www.chopard.com/l-u-c-tourbillon-qf and www.chopard.com/l-u-c-xps-fairmined .
Quick Facts L.U.C. Tourbillon QF Fairmined
Movement: manually wound Caliber L.U.C. 02.13-L with one-minute tourbillon and 9-day power save, Qualité Fleurier certification (which contains C.O.S.C. certification)
Case: 43 x 11.15 mm, 18-karat Fairmined gold
Functions: hours, minutes; power hold indication
Limitation: 25 pieces
Quick Facts L.U.C XPS in Fairmined gold
Movement: automatic Caliber L.U.C 96.12L with micro rotor and C.O.S.C. certification
Case: 39.5 x 7.13 mm, 18-karat pink Fairmined gold
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 250 pieces