When Chopard launched its Alpine Eagle model last year, based on the company’s St. Mortiz watch from the 1980s, it was a hit. And the Scheufele family, who own the Swiss watch and jewelry brand, can thank one of their youngest members for it. Karl-Fritz Sheufele, the 23-year-old son of Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, brought up the idea of a modern remake of the watch to his father five years ago when he discovered a St. Moritz sitting on his father’s desk one day. Despite the fact that the senior Scheufele had brought the idea for the original to his own father, Chopard-owner Karl Scheufele, when he needed a steel sports watch to take skiing in the chic Swiss Alps, he wasn’t initially convinced. But Karl-Fritz was determined and spent the next four years working on a prototype. By the time he was done, Karl-Friedrich couldn’t say no.
The timing for a retro steel-bracelet sports introduction couldn’t have been more perfect. It is a genre of watches that has been exploding in recent years with even the most elite and buttoned-up watch brands, like A. Lange & Söhne, making a foray into the market. The Alpine Eagle was a success, and now Chopard has followed up with three new iterations including a 44 mm XL Flyback Chronograph version, as well as 41 mm and 36 mm time-only iterations.
The XL Chronograph model comes in Lucent Steel A223, an alloy with anti-allergenic properties and a brilliance and durability achieved through a detailed recasting process, in a sunburst Aletsch Blue or sunburst Pitch Black Dial ($19,200) or in a two-tone version that combines the innovative steel material with 18-karat ethical rose gold with a Pitch Black Dial ($26,800). Each comes on an integrated bracelet and is powered by the automatic 03.05-C movement with 60 hours of power reserve and water-resistant to 100 meters. It currently has four patents pending for a unidirectional gearing system that prevents energy loss while allowing for rapid winding, a vertical clutch mode that ensures accuracy at timed starts, a flyback chronograph with three pivoting hammers with elastic arms that allow for a zero-setting of the counters and its ability to compensate for variations in inertia throughout the watch’s lifetime. The company has also ensured that the pushers won’t get in the way, especially if you are working a pair of ski poles, by integrating them on either side of the crown guards in a way that feels like they blend nearly seamlessly into the case.
But 44 mm by 13.5 mm certainly doesn’t work for every wrist, so Chopard also took care to introduce a 41 mm by 9.1 mm size, as well as a more unisex 36 mm size. The two “large” sizes, as the brand is referring to them to distinguish from the XL chronograph, come with a case and bracelet done entirely in 18-karat ethical rose gold and feature a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. It is offered in a Bermina grey dial accented with diamonds around the exterior bezel ($49,300) or a Aletsch Blue dial without diamonds ($43,900). Also endowed with 60 hours of power reserve, these pieces house the 01.01-C automatic winding mechanical movement.
The smallest, and most affordable, model available comes in 36 mm in Lucent Steel A223 with an Aletsch Blue dial ($13,800). Its 09.01-C caliber is also an automatic winding mechanism and has 42 hours of power reserve. For women, this will likely be the most suitable size but brands are increasingly selling these models in international markets for smaller wrist sizes across the board.
In any case, the range has expanded significantly to include 17 pieces, offering an Alpine Eagle for nearly every wrist in the family.