Four decades ago this year, Chopard unveiled a revolutionary concept in watchmaking: dancing diamonds seemingly free-floating on a dial. Dubbed Happy Diamonds, the idea was inspired by a waterfall the brand’s designer, Ronald Kurowski, had seen in Germany’s Black Forest. Inspired by the glimmering spray of water droplets he witnessed, Kurowski developed a system made up of two layers of sapphire crystal with loose diamonds held in between, all lying atop the dial. The idea was so avant-garde for the time that it received the Golden Rose of Baden-Baden—the jewelry industry's equivalent of an Academy Award—when it first debuted as a men’s timepiece in 1976.
Since then, Chopard has released a host of Happy Diamonds watches for men and women, and the design has become nothing short of iconic. For 2016, in celebration of the watch’s 40th anniversary, the brand went back to the concept’s roots with a limited-edition timepiece that channels that same spirit of innovation.
Constructed in the same cushion-shaped case as the original (many have since been made in round cases), the dazzling 18-karat white gold timepiece features a bezel with prong-set diamonds; a white mother-of-pearl dial; a mini subdial set with diamonds for time indication; and 15 mobile Happy Diamonds of various sizes within. For the first time in the history of the style, the free-floating diamonds are prong set (instead of held in a base) to enhance their radiance. A boutique exclusive, just 150 will be made. $48,500.