The Eagle Has Landed
-It’s always notable when a brand like Chopard introduces an entirely new collection, but the new Alpine Eagle series, launched this fall, is particularly special: it revives for a modern audience the very first watch conceived by current Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, introduces a new, exclusive material to the watch industry, and even contributes to the environmental preservation of the Swiss Alps. Back in 1980, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, then a 22-year-old employee at the watch-and-jewelry film that his father acquired from the founding Chopard family, submitted an idea for a timepiece called the St.Moritz, which would be not only Chopard’s first sports watch but its first watch in steel. The St.Moritz became one of the company’s best sellers of the era, albeit eventually supplanted in Chopard’s sport-luxury lineup by the Mille Miglia collection that Scheufele established in 1996 upon ascending to the co-presidency of Chopard with his sister Caroline. In a case of family history repeating itself, it was Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s own son, Karl-Fritz, who suggested reviving the St.Moritz for a contemporary audience. The resulting collection was dubbed Alpine Eagle, channeling, according to Chopard, the Scheufele’s family’s “passion for the Alps and … the lofty power of the eagle that reigns supreme there.” The watches draw immediate attention with their integrated case and bracelet, a design likely chosen to appeal to fans of sport-luxury classics like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. They also feature aesthetic touches inspired by the majestic bird from which the series takes its name: a textured dial meant to evoke an eagle’s iris, a seconds-hand counterweight in the shape of a feather, and a multi-textured finish to the case that calls to mind the sun’s rays on snow-capped glaciers. The case, available in both 41-mm and 36-mm diameters, has protruding shoulders flaking the crown, which is engraved with a compass rose motif. The round bezel is distinguished by eight visible screws, grouped in pairs at the four cardinal points (12, 3, 6 and 9 o’ clock, all represented on the dial by Roman numeral appliqués), their slots carefully arranged to be tangent to the bezel’s circle. The dial’s hands and applied indexes are treated with Super-LumiNova Grade XI for nocturnal legibility. The bracelets consist of satin-brushed, ingot-shaped links topped by raised, polished central caps, and fasten the timepiece to the wrist with triple-folding clasps. The steel-cased models in the Alpine Eagle collection use a new alloy that Chopard introduces here for the first time in watch-making Lucent Steel A223.