By Nancy Olson
Since its introduction in 2019, Chopard’s Alpine Eagle has maintained its stake as an commendable watch collection, currently comprising more than two-dozen models inspired by Chopard’s much-earlier St. Moritz collection. Like the St. Moritz, the Alpine Eagle’s timeless look lends itself well to numerous iterations without compromising its solid design and well-conceived construction.
The latest addition is this year’s Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon ($112,000), the first tourbillon within the collection. Its 41mm case and bracelet are made of Lucent steel, an alloy Chopard introduced in 2019. It is created by re-smelting steel with proprietary ingredients to create a product that is stronger and harder than the more standard steel usually used in watchmaking. It’s also hypoallergenic, scratch resistant and polishes to a somewhat whiter and brighter appearance I find appealing.
The bezel of the watch has eight screws (two each at the four cardinal points) with an ever-so-slight—and ever-so-attentive—tilt on the screw slot designed to subtly coincide with the profile of the round case. And the see-through sapphire crystal caseback offers a view of the L.U.C 96.24-L mechanical self-winding movement with its 22-karat gold micro rotor. This is the first automatic flying tourbillon caliber developed by the Chopard Manufacture, and its decoration includes bridges embellished with Côtes de Genève and circular-graining on the mainplate.
The 3.3mm-thick movement beats at a frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour (3.5 Hz) and has a 65-hour power reserve thanks to its two barrels. It was developed, produced and assembled in Chopard’s Haute Horlogerie workshops, and it is certified by the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). Not so incidentally, the watch also has Poinçon de Genève certification—making it one of the few flying tourbillon timepieces with both credentials.
Impressions of the Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon
I love the blue sunburst dial, which is textured in what Chopard calls the “iris of the eagle” design, created here using galvanic treatment to achieve the desired color. Though I’ve never been that close to an eagle to attest to its accuracy, I think the effect is different and fetching. Roman numerals mark 12, 3 and 9 o’clock, while the well-expressed tourbillon is at 6 o’clock, thereby creating a beautifully balanced dial that leans into the sporty while maintaining the elegance I expect from Chopard.
The Alpine Eagle is clearly meant to be a lifestyle collection, and it includes various accessories, such as writing instruments, sunglasses and cufflinks, in addition to the watches. Timepiece sizes range from 36mm to 44mm for the XL Chrono, and materials include Lucent steel, gold, bi-color and titanium. Some watchcases are set with gemstones, and dials range from the namesake “iris of the eagle” to more ornate diamond- and gem-set versions.