Today, as independent Swiss watch brand Chopard unveils its newest Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph — with in-house-made COSC-certified chronometer movements — we are witnessing the next realm of the brand’s leadership and of its pioneering spirit when it comes to sustainability.
Family Growth At Chopard
I have been highly familiar with Chopard and its owners, the Scheufele family, since I joined the watch industry in the early 1980’s. I have watched the family-owned company grow and morph for three-plus decades now. I have witnessed the opening of its top-notch Manufacture and the launch of the L.U.C movements that today are among the most respected in the industry. I have also watched the family members as they have adapted to their roles and now, I am happy to say, we are seeing great input from the third-generation.
Recently, I attended a father/son zoom presentation of the newest watches. Decades ago, that father/son presentation would have been made by Karl Scheufele (who purchased the brand in 1963) and his son Karl-Friedrich — now the co-president of the brand along with his sister Caroline. This presentation was by Karl-Friedrich and his son Karl-Fritz Scheufele. With the pandemic in full swing, the brand didn’t miss the opportunity to give the world a glimpse of the next Scheufele generation. In fact, it was Karl-Fritz’s idea to create an integrated steel bracelet for the Alpine Eagle Chronograph collection.
The Alpine Eagle was first unveiled as a new series last year. It was a spin-off of one of the first collections that Karl-Friedrich had developed – the St. Moritz line. The new series, though, focuses on the Alpine Eagle for details that translate beautifully in the watch: a dial inspired by the Eagle’s Iris; hands inspired by feathers and more. For the introduction of the collection, Chopard even teamed with the Eagle Wings Foundation in an effort to raise awareness of the beauty of the Alps and its living creatures.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph Details
The new Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph is the brand’s first-ever water-resistant steel watch and is the first time Chopard even offers a steel bracelet. As such, no simple steel would do. The brand, which already works with ethical gold, spent nearly four years in the research and development stages to find a better steel alternative – one that utilizes recycled steel. The answer: Lucent Steel A223.
Lucent Steel was also first introduced with the launch of the Alpine Eagle series last year. Lucent Steel, 70 percent of which is recycled, is melted twice, endowing it with anti-allergenic properties and an extra hardness and scratch resistance. In fact, it is 50 percent more resistant to abrasion than most steel timepieces. It is also more reflective of light than regular steel (hence the name, Lucent). The case and bracelet feature matte and polished surfaces to emulate the roughness of the mountain rocks and the gleam of them when the sun shines on them.
There are three versions of the 44mm Alpine Eagle Chronograph watches: two all-steel models, one with a Pitch Black dial and one with an Aletsch blue dial; and a two-tone version that pairs Lucent Steel with ethical rose gold and features a Pitch Black dial.
What’s Inside The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph
The watches are equipped with a flyback chronograph movement that holds four patents. The Chopard 03.05-C automatic movement is fitted with a column-wheel chronograph and vertical clutch that reduces friction and ensures accurate time-measurement starts. It also is equipped with a unidirectional gearing system to prevent energy loss when winding and has a few more high-tech tricks up its proverbial sleeve. The watch is endowed with 60 hours of power reserve. The Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph retails for $19,200 for the Lucent Steel bracelet version, and for $26,800 for a steel and gold version.
“I had to do a lot of convincing to my father for us to do this [steel bracelet],” says Karl-Fritz. It’s a pattern in the Scheufele family. You can’t just make something because you are a family member; you need to be sure to have the right materials, the right technology and the right reasons. Karl-Friedrich had to do a lot of convincing to his father, too, during the launch of the St. Moritz line decades ago.