Fly Eagle Fly, The New Chopard Alpine Eagle Takes Flight
Chopard is one of the great family names in luxury. With numerous iconic watch models adorning their collection. And today, through the collaboration of three generations, the brand has revived an iconic design via a new collection: the Alpine Eagle.
Chopard has long been a trailblazer in the world of contemporary watch design. First, the Happy Diamonds collection in the '70s followed by the Happy Sports collection in the ‘80s, and the now iconic sport-chic St. Moritz collection. All products which defined their era.
While Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is the Co-President of Chopard today, back in 1980, Scheufele was only 22 years old when he presented a wristwatch with an integrated bracelet to his father, Karl. The design was modern while still recognizable with its eight screws affixed to the four cardinal points of the bezel, at the time, the young visionary needed to convince the family to go after a new demographic: the sport-chic. Fortunately, after lengthy discussions, the model was approved and launched becoming a resounding success for the next 25 years!
Perseverance is transmitted
Today, nearly 40 years later, this entrepreneurial spirit and family dynamics are still the same. This time, another 22-year-old trailer blazer, Karl-Fritz son of Karl-Friedrich, who during his frequent visits to the Geneva manufacture unearthed this emblematic model. He loved it and asked if it is the new collection to come. "Not at all," his father replied. "But why not? It is a strong model in a segment where we are not," retorted the fiery young man. "Not in the books at the moment," concluded the Co-President.
But perseverance flows in the veins of the Scheufele family, and Karl-Fritz decided to submit his idea of redesigning the sport model to his grandfather, Karl. And, while listening to his grandson with an uncanny sense of déjà vu, the grand-patriarch found the idea exciting. The rebirth, the redesign was in progress, and Chopard would reinvest the neglected segment. The argument presented by Karl-Fritz convincing the family? "70% of Swiss watches exported in this segment, costing more than CHF 3,000, are made of steel with an integrated bracelet!" Wisdom and perseverance are not dependent on age in the Scheufele family.
New collection, new name
As Karl-Friedrich Scheufele explained, "Re-launching such an iconic design is not easy. We modernized it by taking inspiration from nature and following the principle that form follows function. We wanted to go as far as possible in the details.” They also opted to forego the name St. Moritz. Instead, an entirely new name was chosen, one more reminiscent of nature and the fundamental values of the Geneva manufacture: The Alpine Eagle.
An apt name as the watch contains references to the iconic Alpine raptor: the counterweight for the central seconds hand is in the shape of an eagle feather, and the iridescent dial evokes the iris of an eagle’s eye. Thanks to these details, and the refined Roman numerals, the Alpine Eagle is much more modern than its predecessor.
The collection now employs a self-winding movement made entirely in-house: the 09.01-C for the 36mm version and the 01.01-C for the 41mm version. Both of these case sizes, although masculine, have character and will undoubtedly appeal to women as well. The whole collection is COSC certified and waterproof to 100m for a truly sporty, reliable, and chic watch. And the real jewel of the maison's latest creation is the new integrated bracelet.
Lucent, a new steel
Exclusive to Chopard and taking no less than four years of research and development to create, the new Lucent Steel A223 is made of 70% recycled steel with remarkable properties. Adopting an approach similar to the Responsible Jewelry Council, Chopard is minimizing its carbon footprint by working with a supplier that is both in Austria and is a Responsible Steel member.
This new steel’s 223 Vickers density is 50% harder than 316L steel, and its sheen is increased through a double melting process which removes impurities, thus creating a more reflective surface. This process also makes it as anti-allergenic as medical-grade steel.
A Steel Jewel
A visit to Chopard’s Meyrin manufacture gives us an insight into the work. No fewer than 15 steps, all done by hand, are necessary to make this bracelet as beautiful as it is comfortable. When asked what aspect of the bracelet they were most proud of, the lead polishers responded, with stars in their eyes, "I am proud of every detail, the precision of each operation and ultimate beauty. It's a polisher's dream!"
Indeed, the extreme attention paid to accomplish the final product is felt from all sides. From the initial stamping to the manual assembly, to the satin finishing of the front and back links, and the polishing of the central studs, slices, and beveled corners. And this attention can be felt and seen on the wrist, a stunning success.
Finally, to give the collection more meaning, Chopard incorporated additional social and environmental responsibility dimensions. In addition to the manufacture's well-known commitments to the Responsible Jewelry Council and the use of Fairmined gold, the brand will be introducing the Eagle Wings Foundation, co-founded by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, which works to preserve the Alps and raise public awareness on the impact of climate change.
To this end, early October will see the inaugural Alpine Eagle Race in which an eagle equipped with a camera will be released from the five highest European mountains to capture the beauty of the Alps from a unique perspective. Another great initiative by Chopard combining elegance, craft, and meaningfulness.
And the cherry on top of this sundae? The new Alpine Eagle collection is available for purchase today. No need to wait to discover and enjoy them for yourself.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel & Liam O'Donnell)