The Alpine Eagle collection is Chopard’s interpretation of the luxury sports watch, a genre that has never waned since it hit the market in 1972. Presented in 2019 in time-and-date and time-only models, the Alpine Eagle collection strengthens its sports credentials with the arrival of this new 44mm automatic flyback chronograph. Beating at the heart of the three new models is Chopard’s column-wheel chronograph movement with an autonomy of 60 hours and COSC certification. The new Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is available in Lucent steel cases with blue or black dials, or in a two-tone ethical rose gold and steel version with a black dial. And we take a look at it, on the wrist.
FROM ST. MORITZ TO THE ALPINE EAGLE
With the advent of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak in 1972, practically every watchmaker worth his salt has dabbled in this category. Chopard’s take on the luxury sports watch occurred long before the appearance of the Alpine Eagle. Designed by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in 1980, Chopard’s first luxury sports watch was the St. Moritz. A successful model that captured the over-the-top bling of the 1980s, complete with a very elaborate-shaped bezel with eight screws, the St. Moritz was eventually discontinued. Although there are plenty of sporty watches associated with the world of classic car racing (Mille Miglia, for example), a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet and strong design was missing in the brand’s portfolio.
Since 2013, Chopard has embraced the concept of sustainable luxury relying on ethically sourced gold (Fairmined gold) for its timepieces and jewellery. When the idea was approved to reinterpret the St. Moritz in a more contemporary key, the theme of the environment was fundamental. And to prove that Chopard was not just dallying with the all-important ‘environmental sustainability’ tag, the brand is a founding member of the Eagle Wings foundation. The foundation documents the impact of climate change in the Alps in a unique way by equipping a white-tailed eagle with a camera on its back as it soars over the Alps to offer a unique perspective of the effects of global warming on glaciers.
Watches in the Alpine Eagle collection display common traits: the eight screws on the round bezel; the distinctive crown guards on the tonneau-shaped central case; 100m water-resistance; the integrated bracelet; the textured sunburst dial inspired by the iris of an eagle; the feather-shaped counterweight on the central seconds hand; the date window between 4 and 5 o’clock; the compass rose engraved on the crown; and the use of extra-hard and shiny Lucent steel.
XL Chrono Case
This chronograph is the third model to join the Alpine Eagle collection and the first model with an extra-large 44mm diameter and 13.15mm height, measurements needed to house the sophisticated movement. Once again, Lucent steel A223 is the material of choice for the case, a material comparable to surgical steel that is 50% harder than normal steel, anti-allergenic and highly reflective. Two models are available in solid Lucent steel, while a third mixes Lucent steel with 18k ethical rose gold accents on the bezel, crown and central links of the bracelet.
Like many luxury sports watches, the case structure is imposing with a round bezel with eight aligned screws mounted on top of a tonneau-shaped case and finished with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. The crown guards of the Alpine Eagle, which are mirrored with a similar structure on the opposite side of the case, are now flanked by the brushed rectangular pushers and the crown. The integrated bracelet follows the finishes of the case with a polished ingot-shaped central link and two external links with a brushed finish and bevelled polished edges secured to the wrist with a triple folding clasp.
Eagle’s Eye dials
The striking texture of the dial, achieved with a pronounced sunburst motif to evoke by the iris of an eagle’s eye, is another common denominator of many Alpine Eagle watches. Interpreted in the past in Aletsch Blue, a novelty for the chronograph is the new Pitch Black dial colour. Available in either colour, the richly textured surface of the dial hosts two raised and snailed horizontal chronograph counters (30-min at 3, 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock) with rhodium-plated rims, a running seconds counter at 6 o’clock with a snailed interior and rounded edges, a date window tucked in between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers and a tachymeter on the perimeter. The three chronograph hands are red and the central chrono seconds hand features the hallmark feather counterweight.
The white tachymeter scale to measure average speed is graduated from 60 to 400 and features red dots at 100, 160 and 240. The Roman numeral 12 and the hour markers are rhodium-plated, treated with Grade X1 Super-LumiNova and applied to the dial. The baton hours and minutes hands are also rhodium-plated and luminescent.
Below deck and visible through the sapphire crystal caseback is Chopard’s 03.05-C automatic flyback chronograph movement with COSC chronometer certification. With four patents under its belt, this column-wheel movement is equipped with a unidirectional gearing system to prevent energy loss.
The vertical clutch guarantees accurate time measurement starts, while the flyback function ensures smooth successive timings. The movement is also equipped with a Variner balance spring ensuring the stability of the rate of the movement by compensating for its variations in inertia. With a frequency of 28,800vph and an openworked tungsten rotor, the movement can store up to 60 hours of autonomy.
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono in Lucent steel with either a black or blue dial retails for EUR 19,100. The two-tone Lucent steel and 18k ethical rose gold model with a black dial for EUR 26,700.
More information at chopard.com.