An Italian Road Trip in Switzerland: Alfa Romeo Stelvio X Eberhard & Co. Quadrifoglio Verde
Driving from city streets to mountain passes and everything in between, we recently took to the steering wheel of the latest souped-up SUV by Alfa Romeo. Firmly secured to our wrist was the new Quadrifoglio Verde chronograph by Eberhard & Co. Fasten your seatbelts!
Last autumn, we test-drove the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde on the roads and mountain passes of the Jura, one of the legendary birthplaces of Swiss watchmaking. It was the perfect opportunity to match the handling capabilities of this exceptional SUV with those of the estimable Eberhard & Co. “Quadrifoglio Verde” chronograph, created as a tribute to the sporting spirit of Alfa Romeo.
From the city streets to the Jura hills via the Marchairuz pass
We were lucky enough to have the new Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde at our disposal for a few days, just enough time for us to get acquainted with its handling while contemplating which of the magnificent Swiss mountainscapes which would become our testing ground. Naturally, we thought of the Alps, with the Swiss cantons of Le Valais and Les Grisons ranking high in the options. But sadly there's no watchmaking production going on in these far-flung regions.
So we decided, instead, to head for the Jura via the legendary Marchairuz pass. This itinerary provides access to the Joux Valley from the banks of Lake Geneva. Therefore, it became a major axis in the development of the watchmaking industry in the region, notably in the villages of Le Brassus, Le Chenit, and L’Abbaye.
We set out from Lausanne (Pully), home to the Swiss offices of Watchonista, hugging the banks of Lake Geneva for some time before beginning the ascent of the Jura.
In an urban environment, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde reveals little of the 510 horsepower capabilities of its twin-turbo V6 derived from a family of modular Ferrari engines. The steering is fluid and comfortable, mainly due to the automatic gearbox with its smooth downshifting. Only the biting of the brakes hints at the fact that, beneath the deceptive purr, there lies the roar of an untapped beast.
The pampered interior of the Stelvio with its alternating carbon, leather and chrome surfaces recalls the aesthetic codes of the Eberhard & Co. Quadrifoglio Verde chronograph. The satin-brushed bezel of the 43 mm steel watchcase and the two chronograph counters arrayed vertically at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock are reminiscent of a dashboard. And just as the Alfa Stelvio signature is carved into the flanks of the Quadrifoglio Verde emblem, the small seconds on the Eberhard & Co sports the triangular badge in a counter at 9 o'clock. Meanwhile, a red pointer counts off the seconds in this special edition limited to just 250 pieces.
Curves and accelerations
The geographical Jura extends from the Joux Valley to Basel, between Switzerland and France. The Marchairuz pass is a route traveled daily by many employees working in the watchmaking industry. And many of those enter with trepidation given the extreme ice and snow conditions they sometimes encounter in winter.
In Race Mode on this twisting trail, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde suddenly morphs into a beast. Opening the exhaust valves ramps up the decibels, while the eight-speed auto has clearly become more aggressive in this mode with remarkable responsiveness as a result. An explosive combo to be used with tact and strategy on the radar-dotted highways and byways of Switzerland.
Nestled in comfortably upholstered bucket seats, the driving position is highly ergonomic, a feature that comes in handy for damping the springs of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Verde in choppy situations. The all-wheel-drive only engages when the tires have approached the limits of adhesion, thereby transmitting up to 50% of engine power to the front wheels. The switch between RWD and AWD and its performance advantages makes for unparalleled ride quality.
In the heart of the Jura countryside, the Stelvio also stands out for its design. Keenly aware of its mean-but-lean bodywork and sharp looks, this SUV is clearly proud of its Italian origins.
Eberhard & Co's Quadrifoglio Verde chronograph is a stylish tribute to the famous sporting ethos of Alfa Romeo. The aesthetic codes of the watch match the expressive design of the Stelvio completely. Nonetheless, a gentle hand has been employed and the whole effect is bold, without being over the top. Measuring 43mm in diameter and 13.5mm in thickness, this is a modest-sized watch that can be worn equally well with a dress jacket or racing suit.
A big shout-out to Serenella Artioli of FCA Switzerland and Mario Peserico of Eberhard & Co. for having the reckless temerity to let us test-drive these mechanical masterpieces.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)