By Rebecca Doulton in Madrid
Chopard kicked off the Baselworld watch fair with an unexpected turnout of celebrities in its booth last week. Jacky Ickx, the Belgian racing legend, Eco-Age creative director Livia Firth and a surprise guest in the audience all had a role to play in the unveiling of the brand's 2014 novelties.
Hosted by Maria Doulton, our very own Jewellery Editor, the highlight of the event was Livia Firth's presentation of the world's first Fairmined gold watch.
As many of you know, Caroline Scheufele's Green Carpet High Jewellery collection stems from Chopard's commitment to sustainable luxury. Taking the practice of sustainable luxury into the realm of high watchmaking - which is the territory of Caroline's brother Karl Friedrich Scheufele - Chopard has forged an agreement with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to help transform the lives of artisanal gold miners in remote South American mines.
Produced entirely from Fairmined gold - the ARM standard for artisanal gold mining - the handsome L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined is the only watch in the world that can guarantee the gold used in its making was mined in a responsible manner and that the miners of the Coodmilla cooperative in the Nariño region of Colombia received fair payment for their labours.
The 43mm rose gold case, with its contrasting satin-brushed and polished surfaces, houses a hand-wound L.U.C 02.01-L 9-day tourbillon movement with power reserve indicator. The refined grey dial, enhanced with sunray motifs, features the tourbillon, with small seconds counter at 6 o'clock and the 9-day power reserve indicator at 12.
Contrasting beautifully with the slate-coloured dial, the gilded 1930s-inspired Dauphine hands, with their coating of luminescent material, and the classical Roman numerals ensure superior legibility.
The case back of the watch has a sapphire crystal window through which to admire the workings of the movement, which displays the Au 750 Fairmined hallmark gold certification.
But this being a Chopard watch, it is also a Qualité Fleurier certified chronometer - a stringent, independent certification that vouches for the precision of the movement, its durability and the quality of its aesthetic finishing. Limited to 25 pieces only, one can rightly assume that this is a collector's golden dream come true.
By the way, the mystery guest in the audience was in fact Livia Firth's husband, Colin, who wanted to be there during her presentation on a cause so close to her heart.