In 1980, Chopard introduced its first sports watch. It was a huge step forward for the brand which, until the release of the St. Moritz, was known solely as a manufacturer of high-end, luxurious timepieces.
It was a pioneering move. And the man behind this big leap in the Swiss maison’s history? A young Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the now co-president of Chopard. Accordingly, the St. Moritz was as youthful and bold as the 22-year-old who created it as his first project for the brand. It was also the first watch made of steel to emerge from Chopard’s workshops – a calculated risk that saw the St. Moritz become one the house’s best sellers for the next decade and set Chopard on a course defined by sporting partnerships, such as its long-standing ties to the Mille Miglia.
Now Chopard is celebrating the St. Moritz by scaling another peak of design — revealing its new state-of-the-art reinterpretation of this milestone watch. The Alpine Eagle sports collection is crafted from an exclusive, ultra-resistant and light-reflecting metal called Lucent Steel A223, and beats to the rhythm of a Chopard chronometer-certified movement.
Fittingly, it was at the insistence of Scheufele’s son Karl-Fritz that the watchmaker began looking into updating the St Moritz and, Scheufele tells us, he was inspired by his passion for the Alps themselves, and the lofty power of the eagle that soars above its peaks. This, combined with Scheufele’s reverence for Louis Sullivan’s principles of harmony – which dictate that ‘form follows function’ – has resulted in line of watches that are at once refined, modern and as elegant as their namesake.
Our favourite model is the 41mm Alpine Eagle Large. Belonging to a select circle of watches with integrated cases and bracelets, this slightly larger timepiece is the ultimate everyday watch and features several design nods to the bird of prey for which it was named.
The rock-like textured dial evokes an eagle’s iris, the hands call to mind the raptor’s feathers and the cold glinting steel is reminiscent of the icy slopes where the bird can often be found perching. Even the case, distinguished by a protrusion that protects the crown, bears a compass rose; an instrument that has helped Alpine adventurers find their way across the snow-capped mountains for centuries and which today is the symbol of those boldly following their own path.
Inside the Alpine Eagle Large, a 01.01-C calibre ticks away with a 60-hour power reserve, visible through a transparent sapphire crystal caseback. And, on its front, eight screws punctuate the bezel, grouped in pairs at the four cardinal points and ensuring water resistance to 100 metres, while Super-Luminova Grade X1 coated hour-makers ensure greater visibility in the dark. This is perhaps the most overt nod to adventure on Chopard’s latest timepiece; a watch that champions the pioneering spirit in both practice and design.
The Alpine Eagle Large is joined by a 36mm reference, with both available in Chopard’s patented Lucent Steel A223 – a new material created by the house with properties similar to surgical steel – as well as gold, bi-material and diamond-set gold. The 36mm model features a 09.01-C calibre, one of the smallest movements ever to receive COSC-certification.
However, the watch isn’t the only aquiline launch from the brand — Scheufele has also unveiled the Eagle Wings Foundation; an ethical body dedicated to protecting the Alpine environment. Designed to raise awareness around the importance and fragility of the Alpine landscape, the Foundation’s first project – the Alpine Eagle Race – was launched in late 2019. The race saw five eagles launched from mountain peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland. Each eagle made its way to the finish line in St. Moritz, with special cameras capturing every breathtaking moment of their journey, in a fitting tribute to the Alpine Eagle’s adventurous predecessor.
Chopard Alpine Eagle Large