When Paul first opened his business in 1973, he did not sell or repair a single watch; he did not even know how. Paul started out in the East Village doing picture framing, and eventually expanded to selling antiques. But one day, a passerby changed Paul’s business entirely. An old Jewish man - broke from gambling too much - walked into Paul’s shop, claiming to be skilled at fixing watches, and proposed that the two do business together. Paul agreed, designating a small bench in his shop for the man to work on one condition: that he teach Paul the trade. Gradually, the business shifted from picture framing to mainly watch repair. Paul’s son, Philip, who had been instructed in watch repair since the age of eleven, took over in the 1990s and currently owns their latest location, which is shared with a furniture restorer. The pairing is a good one, according to Philip, who explained, “Everything matches up because we both sell antiques and brick-a-brack. ”The space is modest in size, the walls adorned with select antiques that Philip continues to sell. Large glass cases display hundreds of timepieces, ranging from pocket watches to wristwatches. Many of these carry significant history, passing from owner to owner since the 1890s until battery watches became trendy in the 1960s, while others are more modern and recently manufactured.
In 1860, Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded a watch workshop in Sonvilier, Switzerland, which, thanks to his great skill and emphasis on excellence, has grown through the last century and a half to become a well-respected global watch company. It remained a family business until 1963, when Louis-Ulysse's grandson, Paul Andre Chopard, invited Karl Scheufele, a German descendant of watchmakers, to take the helm. Due to Scheufele's leadership and respect for the tradition and creativity inherent in the brand, Chopard expanded both in reputation and geography. Still in the Scheufele family, the company is a pillar of independence, innovation, and tradition in the watch-making and jewelry world. The ornate boutique on Madison Avenue is a shining example of the craftsmanship and professionalism on which the brand prides itself.