The Latest Alpine Eagle XL Chrono From Chopard Soars
Classic, family-heritage design cues and a story about a decidedly edgy, ethical material story meet patent-winning chronograph technology in a sophisticated timepiece that wears elegant and tough.
The story of the popular Alpine Eagle sports watch from Chopard carries some history. Indeed, the model holds a great deal of family history.
The story goes: Karl-Fritz Scheufele, son of Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, came across a stunning sports watch in the Chopard offices and assumed it was a new prototype the company was planning. However, in reality, he found a version of Chopard’s storied St. Moritz timepiece that was launched back in 1980 and designed by Karl-Friedrich at the age of 22. In fact, the St. Moritz was not only Karl-Friedrich’s first timepiece project for the family business but also Chopard’s first true sports watch.
Timeless design aside, Karl-Friedrich was reluctant, at first, 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 – as it was for the St. Moritz – was that we applied the principle of form-follows-function. Every detail counts,” said Karl-Friedrich. Thus, the Alpine Eagle launched in 2019.
With a refined but thoroughly contemporary design, the Alpine Eagle collection presents as sporty timepieces with integrated cases and bracelets and gemlike sunburst dials. But in a nod to today, there is always a modern materials story to be found. For instance, the steel versions of the Alpine Eagle utilize a special Lucent Steel A223 alloy with the hypoallergenic properties of surgical steel. Fifty percent more resistance to scratches than traditional stainless steel, this alloy has a purity level that ensures a brilliance and reflective nature more akin to white gold.
A New Eagle
Enter: The new Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono. With a 44mm case of rose gold and ceramized titanium, this new model is no exception to the brand’s progressive materials story.
Unsurprising to observers of the brand, the shimmering, satin-brushed 18K rose gold of the case is sourced from an ethical supply chain, continuing a commitment Chopard has incorporated into all of its watch and jewelry production since 2018.
Additionally, some edges and aspects of the gold case are more smoothly polished than others, adding another level of sheen and sophistication to a burley execution that tends to amplify the rugged and technical nature of the watch, not detract from it. Plus, slim chronograph pushers ease themselves right into the overall outline of the case design.
The gray anthracite ceramized titanium components – the ring under the bezel that carries the crown protectors, the protective ring on the see-through caseback, and the strap buckle – are a product of a more avant-garde process. Electro-plasma technology oxidizes the titanium source metal, marrying titanium’s signature lightness with the enhanced hardness and scratch-resistance of industrial ceramics. This bi-material combination is a Chopard first.
Driven By Design
Another first is the elegant, detailed leather strap. Except for the one-off Only Watch 2021 edition of the Chopard XL Chrono, this core offering is the only Alpine Eagle that departs from a classic all-metal bracelet.
Again, the thick black calfskin strap with its embossed central ridge is an elegant addition to the line that dovetails beautifully into what is, at its core, a tool watch. Moreover, red bridle stitching picks up the dial’s red chronographic elements and takes them past the case, framing the presentation in a beautiful but decidedly rugged manner.
The deep black dial design is based on a galvanic sunburst treatment. And, like all Alpine Eagle timepieces, this sunburst is meant to evoke the iris of the namesake raptor’s eye. Red gold-framed traditional chronograph sub-dials (30 seconds at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 6 o’clock, and 12 hours at 9 o’clock) and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock take up some of that sunburst space with a more legible matte black approach, but the light-catching striations are still unmistakable.
The Alpine Eagle XL Chrono’s COSC-certified Chopard 03.05-C chronograph movement is no slouch either, packing a beefy 60-hour power reserve and serving as a precision-engineered flyback chronograph. A second tap on the upper pusher instantly resets the counter to zero and starts a second tracking so you can time multiple events, like the finish of a race. The movement carries three patents, derived from the Calibre 03.03-L movement used in the more rarified Chopard L.U.C. Chrono One timepiece.
But the new Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, despite its sophistication, embodies the Bond-worthy “tough guy in a dinner jacket” zeitgeist of many of Chopard’s timepieces. The extraordinary new material combination, Grade X1 Super-LumiNova hand and marker lume, and bold red accents make it an elegant watch with some real-world oomph to match any of its competitors.
Pricing & Availability
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono (ref. 295387-9001) is now available at select Chopard retailers for a list price of $34,500. Find out more on Chopard’s website.
(Images © Chopard, header image by Patrick Csajk)