While many know maison Chopard for its fine jewelry, it has always produced iconic timepieces. Chopard has communicated a sense of modernity and luxurious ruggedness that complements the brand’s expert craftsmanship and design detail—in the automotive-inspired Mille Miglia and superbly complicated L.U.C. timepieces in particular. Now, a new watch line, the Alpine Eagle, adds to that impressive story in a rebirth saga as based in family tradition as it is an homage to the spirit of the Swiss Alps.
In 1980, at the age of 22 and an employee in the family manufacture, now co-president Karl-Friedrich Sheufele submitted a design to his father for his first watchmaking project: a bold timepiece inspired by the Alps and its avian denizens that would become the fabled St. Moritz timepiece. It was Chopard’s first true sport watch as well as its first steel watch, and a best-seller.
At the urging of his son, Karl-Fritz, and with the secret support of his grandfather Karl Sheufele, now Karl-Friedrich releases an update to the St. Moritz. He was reluctant to revisit such an iconic model, but his son’s passion reminded him of his own 40 years prior. “It’s hard to invent something, but it’s even more difficult to reinterpret a great design. The underlying principle for the design of the Alpine Eagle—and already for the St. Moritz—was that we applied the principle of form follows-function. Every detail counts,” says Karl-Friedrich.
The Alpine Eagle of today is a refined yet contemporary and sporty timepiece with an integrated case and bracelet. A gemlike sunburst dial evokes the iris of an eagle’s eye, while the broad hands and seconds hand counterweight hint at a raptor’s feathers. All presented amid a glinting mountain glacier of special satin-brushed Lucent Steel A223.
Details like top and bottom protection of a compass rose crown, bold SuperLuminova-coated hands and indices, and 300-feet of water resistance mean this timepiece will be as at home on a technical mountain expedition as on your wrist at a charity gala.
Purpose-developed by Chopard over four years specifically for the Alpine Eagle, Lucent Steel A223 has the hypoallergenic properties of surgical steel; the hardened alloy is 50 percent more resistant to scratches, and its purity level ensures a brilliance and reflective nature more akin to white gold than conventional steel. Available in 41 mm and unisex 36 mm models, both Alpine Eagle versions’ movements are inhouse- developed automatics and carry chronometer-precision certification. The 41 mm’s 01.01-C calibre sports a 60-hour power reserve, while the 36 mm’s 09.01-C features a 42-hour power reserve and is one of the smallest movements to receive COSC chronometer certification.
A keen hiking and skiing enthusiast, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has always supported ecological preservation; he is also the founding member of the Eagle Wings Foundation. This new multidisciplinary project raises awareness and pulls focus onto the Alpine ecosystem. Its first project, the Alpine Eagle road race this fall, saw the transmission of images from five camera-equipped eagles launched from five mythical Alpine peaks. In a nod to the timepiece’s origin, the finish line for the race was in St. Moritz, of course. eaglewings-project.org
Spotlight: 41mm Alpine Eagle in Lucent steel with Aletsch Blue Dial
36 mm unisex version from $10,100, 41 mm version from $12,900, 41 mm steel with Aletsch blue dial version, $12,900. chopard.com
Chopard’s new Alpine Eagle 41 mm and 36 mm timepieces are available in bi-color metal (steel and rose gold), solid rose gold and mother-of-pearl dials with bezel-set diamonds iterations. But it is perhaps the 41 mm steel with Aletsch blue dial version that best captures the zeitgiest and passion of the watch concept: the galvanic blue-stamped brass sunburst dial inspired by an eagle’s iris; the Lucent Steel A223 integrated case and bracelet, all vertically satin-finished; the eight rugged tangent-fastened screws on the bezel in pairs at the cardinal directions of the case; the SuperLumiNova coated hands and Roman indices; the large legible date aperture at five o’clock; the ornate rose compass set in the crown; and other exacting details all point to a modern classic.