The Happy Sport is one of Swiss Chopard’s most celebrated and iconic collections of watches for women. Mainly for women, that is. I still chuckle at the vast popularity of Happy Diamonds and Happy Sport watches when I recall that Chopard originally came out with the floating dial diamonds concept as a men’s cocktail-style watch. Chopard quickly pivoted the Happy Diamonds collection to women — and later, the Happy Sport collection was born. This watch family is an interesting combination of trendy fissionability, pragmatic versatile wearability, and the playfulness of animated jewelry. Inside each of the Happy Sport watches is a floating set of diamonds that move freely in their own dial layer.

It is true that not all wearers are going to be into the idea of a watch whose very purpose is to obstruct the dial with shiny elements. I’ve heard some women outright reject the idea of a watch with diamonds covering the hands and hour markers, while others adore the concept. No jewelry or watch design is created for everyone, and in some instances, the more polarizing a design, the better. This particular Chopard Happy Sport (reference 278608-3006) is a more eccentric version of the model with its blue-to-purple gradient-printed alligator strap and matching dial style. Some women will love this look, while others will see no way at all of incorporating it into their fashion sense. Chopard calls it the “Purple Night” dial and it is created using guilloché-engraved decoration and then a color application technique.

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Set in a 33mm wide case (12.65mm thick) produced from Chopard’s Lucent Steel (a high grade of mostly recycled steel that is capable of being given a very high polish), the case is water resistant to 30 meters (not very sporty) and has a domed sapphire crystal over the dial and movement window. Inside the watch is an in-house made Chopard Manufacture movement that is the caliber Chopard 09.01-C automatic. This more petite 26mm wide, 3.6mm thick self-winding movement operates at 3.5Hz with a power reserve of about 42 hours. It is rare that an automatic women’s watch is equipped with an in-house made movement — so, that puts Chopard in the same category as some other rarified brands such as Rolex.

The floating diamonds concept can be difficult to understand if you’ve never played with a Happy Sport watch before. Making it more interesting is that Chopard Happy Diamond and Happy Sport watches have floating diamonds that perform differently. Very small changes in variables such as the distance of sapphire crystals in the sandwiching layer as well as the shape of the diamond setting have a huge effect on their movements and play. In this watch, for instance, the five set diamonds move relatively freely — even to the point where you can hear them jostling. I’ve played with other Happy Sport watches in the past where the diamonds move more slowly because they are held more highly between the layers and spin as they move like little tops. I think some wearers might take issue with the sound of the diamonds moving (again, you can’t hear them in all Happy Sport watches), and others will like it since the sound probably accents the existing jingle of other worn jewelry items.

Chopard uses more diamonds for decoration set into the bezel, with a total of 1.49 diamond carats for the watch as a whole. In the crown, there is a blue sapphire crystal cabochon. While the watch might sound a bit thick, it does have an automatic movement and the shape of the case helps keep it looking smallish on the wrist. The 33mm wide size is a good all-purpose diameter for a lot of women’s wrists these days — large enough to be considered modern, but not so large as to potentially double as a men’s watch (I say this to contrast this timepiece with instances when a female wearer is specifically seeking to wear a men’s watch). The overall wearability, combined with the comfortable strap, seems quite good.

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Reading the time on the dial is pretty simple though the hands are forced to be on the flatter side given the architecture of the case and dial. Chopard needs the middle layer and extra sapphire crystal in order to set the diamonds. At the same time, it wants to keep the overall thickness of the case down. For that reason, most Happy Sport watches have quartz movements since they are often thinner and allow for a more svelte case construction. Watch enthusiasts often prefer mechanical movements, and Chopard does a great job of making high-quality ones in-house. Thus, a jewelry watch such as this, combined with a sturdy automatic movement (and colorful design), makes this not a mainstream women’s luxury watch, but rather an enthusiast women’s luxury watch in the company of so many similar products for men. The price is not particularly affordable, but this is a low-production and prestigious timepiece. The Chopard Happy Sport 33mm Automatic Lucent Steel Diamonds watch (reference 278608-3006) has a retail price of $17,200 USD. For more information, please visit the Chopard website.

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