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Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Finally. Flipping finally. The all-new Chopard Alpine Eagle collection makes me happy not just for Chopard, but also for those forsaken souls stuck on a bottomless waiting list reserved for one of the handful of luxury steel sport watches. Plus, it also brings me a brief moment of relief when considering the state of the luxury watch industry. Here’s why.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

I have respected Chopard and its watchmaking division for a long time — even though they were rarely making it easy for me to explain why. Their Mille Miglia collection, being an automotive-inspired series, is somewhat niche, albeit deeply likable once you are in that niche. Their L.U.C collection is limited by its leather-strapped elegance and, although Chopard’s ultra-high-end stuff is up there with the best, it is produced in such limited numbers that it is yet to have its reserved spot in the ivory tower of haute horlogerie.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Four years in the making, the Alpine Eagle is finally the one where there are no ifs or buts — well, maybe except for the name, which may be a bit too tame for the ears of some. It is a watch presented in the humble way that is the norm for Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Chopard — but the product itself, if it had the ability, I reckon, would rather be flying a pirate flag and shouting something like, “Eat your heart out, Patek Philippe! Arrgh!”

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

From its mandatory three-link bracelet to its bar-none exceptional quality of execution, and all the way to its versatile design, the Chopard Alpine Eagle is everything it needed to be to place Chopard on the map, not just for any given niche, but a much wider audience — an audience ridiculed by the self-crowned royalty of steel luxury “sport” watches. Launched in two case sizes, for the time being, and with prices starting at $10,100 for the 36mm version and $12,900 for the 41mm all-steel versions, the collection is snap bang where it needed to be as far as pricing is concerned to make for an alternative to the usual suspects. But it isn’t just about the price — there is also story, history, and quality. How the Alpine Eagle measures up against the octagonal alternatives we will discover very soon — but first, some background on how it came to be.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Alpine Eagle vs. St. Moritz

For the first time I can remember, there were three generations of the Chopard-owning Scheufele family present at a product launch. First, there was the eldest generation represented by Karl Scheufele, III, who purchased Chopard back in 1963 and transformed it into a global brand. His son, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, has been running the company’s watch division in recent decades and transformed Chopard into an independent and highly capable watch manufacture that today makes its own movements, cases, and bracelets — he also repositioned the L.U.C collection as the high- to ultra-high-end range and launched Ferdinand Berthoud. Representing the youngest generation is 22-year-old Karl-Fritz Scheufele who, as they shared, had to be safeguarded from the grandfather’s plans, keeping him from entering Chopard at too young an age. The reason for their presence was that the Alpine Eagle, from its inspiration to its realization, is the result of a three-generation collaboration.


Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Forget a teary-eyed reminiscence: the presentation was surprisingly candid about the personal shortcomings and strengths of each generation, as well as their respective roles in the creation of an old-new watch collection. For a start, Karl-Friedrich was open about the inspiration behind the Chopard St. Moritz watch he designed and launched as one of his very first projects when he joined as the second generation at Chopard. In the ‘70s, he used to travel to St. Moritz to partake in admittedly flamboyant parties held in what, by now, has become a distinctly restrained ski paradise, a small town that is exceedingly sleep-inducing even by Swiss standards.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Time had passed over St. Moritz as it had done over the lineup of thin, quartz-powered, steel-clad, once-popular watches named after it. This, however, had not stopped the youngest generation — inexperienced and fearless by design — from proposing a return of the collection. Karl-Fritz’ idea of relaunching this collection was met with a “soft no” from his father, the ever-conservative and thoughtful watch company CEO. This “soft no” had taken two years of persuasion and — watch this — secretly developed prototypes to dissolve, all performed in an effort to convince Karl-Friedrich about the Alpine Eagle’s deserved place among the carefully curated collections of Chopard.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Once the actual development of the Chopard Alpine Eagle had begun, it was the elder generation’s perseverance and trained eye for detail that dominated every process — a fact clearly reflected in every element of these watches. The granddad, Karl III, had fueled the processes through his famed persistence; Karl-Friedrich’s eye for nuances required 40mm, 41mm, 42mm and 43mm-wide prototypes to be created just to determine the ideal size for the larger model; and a similar number of alternatives were made to determine, with the assistance of the female members of the family, the perfect size for the smaller version. They settled for 41 and 36-millimeter sizes — and although the latter is, I reckon, the perfect men’s watch size for something like a Rolex Day-Date, the Alpine Eagle 36 looks distinctly feminine in its proportions.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Why the Alpine Eagle? The collection was launched near Gstaad, back in July. Gstaad is un upscale ski paradise — I guess, because I don’t ski, and by the looks of things, nor does anyone else in this place in the middle of one of the hottest summers ever recorded. Though I am yet to become a fan of any inhabited area of Switzerland, their landscapes are truly magical. As the massive greyscale peaks of the Alps put on their lavishly green summer clothes, attendees of the event were greeted by members of the Eagle Wings Foundation whose goal is to help a certain type of eagle return to the Alps, some 200 years after the last one was hunted down. In their company were three fantastic eagles, two youngsters of only about four years of age and one in its teens. (I’m told they can live up to 50 years of age.)

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

The foundation will enjoy Chopard’s support — not from every sale, but with annual payments — in line with Chopard’s push with the sustainably sourced materials it uses and the way it operates as a global, ecologically considerate organization. One line that I liked from Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s presentation of the new watch was this: “The eagle is the ambassador of awareness.” Apparently, the eagle is the only creature that can look directly into the sun as it scans the sky and is a hunter that can spot prey up to 10kms (or six miles) away. I thought this awareness angle went well with a product that was re-designed correctly from the materials used to the way it looks when on the wrist. As such, the dial of the Alpine Eagle watch is inspired by the retina of the eagle.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch Collection World Debut Hands-On

Lucent Steel — Or, What’s New In The Chopard Alpine Eagle?

As far as the exterior is concerned, everything is new, down to the material used. Chopard has been among those few watch brands at the forefront of traceable gold — 100% of the gold Chopard uses for its watches is ethically sourced, and a portion of it bears the Fairmined Gold certificate (with the limitation there being the fact that very few Fairmined Gold-certified mines exist, and the authorization process of new ones is slow). Now, with the Alpine Eagle collection, steel joins in this quest for traceability with Chopard’s very own Lucent Steel A223. Produced by European suppliers with reduced carbon footprint, Chopard’s Lucent Steel A223 is alloyed from 70% recycled stainless steel and 30% steel mined through 100% traceable sources. Mind you, Chopard also recycles 100% of its steel waste. More important to us, perhaps, is the fact that Lucent Steel is double-forged to remove as much contamination as is possible, therefore making it anti-allergenic and, in its chemical composition, on par with surgical stainless steel.

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  • egznyc

    41 mm size and design are not bad – though obviously intended to resemble other Genta designs by other names. Pricing might be very favorable too, but out of my league. This Eagle won’t be landing on my wrist.

    By the way, the comparison against the “tyrants of the segment” in the fourth-to-the-last paragraph made me chuckle. Surely that should be titans, though tyrannical titans may also clash in their competitive endeavors as well.

  • Christopher Karsten

    An extremely well written and honest review with ample amounts of all-important personal opinion and context. Yet another shining example of why I look forward to David’s writing above all others in this sphere!

    On the watch, I broadly agree with David; it seems like an excellently made example of a genre that bores me, driven by well done in-house movements. Bravo on picking a movement that fills most of the case in the 41mm as well. I am also curious as to how they managed to align the screws. I suppose Omega can do it with their screw-down case backs, as well (Naiad Lock).

  • The dial looks exquisite and the build quality up to the usual Chopard standards! The bracelet though…the design is ok but the polished center links cheapen the look.

    The end result feels more like ML Aikon than AP/PP — because of that bracelet.

  • Marc D.

    Another beautifully written if somewhat gushing review by Mr. Bredan, carefully avoiding the obvious issues with the watch design’s originality by, well, hardly discussing (case) design at all. For me personally, however, the Romans and the (placement of the) date window squash any desire without even considering the extent to which the design is actually derivative.

  • Swiss_Cheese

    Colour me surprised. Another 70’s looking Genta-esque, integrated bracelet, screw in the bezel sports watch. Sure, they’re popular, but couldn’t we gather 50 design students, throw them in a room and offer a student loan pardon to the one that comes up with the best design.

    The smaller ones look the best in my opinion solely for the lack of the date at 4.

  • Ugo

    they finally did it.
    they manage to do a Gentaish watch that i really like more than the Royal Oak 15300.
    kudos to Chopard.
    this watch is stunning. ?

    • Joe

      I know it’s a sports watch…buuuuuut I would love to have seen one of their movements from the LUC with a micro-rotor.
      I really like this.

      • Ugo


  • DanW94

    Can’t blame Chopard for jumping into the luxury steel sports watch arena. It’s a nice effort but I think they fail with the Roman numerals at 12, 3 , 6 and 9. Baton style indices look much better on this category of watch. I prefer the Aikon at a tenth of the price.

    • mach2guy

      My sentiments exactly regarding Roman numerals. Aren’t all the old Romans dead and gone?

  • Jared

    ever notice how every single watch gets called a homage these days?

    its like the enthusiasts have decided, ok these are the only 5 watches that matter, so everything else we need to try and equate to them.

    • Independent_George

      Generally, I agree, but I don’t see anything about this watch that says “This is a Chopard”. This is a cash grab.

      • Jared

        you don’t see the St Moritz at all in that?

        • Independent_George

          Since the St. Moritz was discontinued 20 years ago and Chopard, until now, never bothered to try to re-enter this market segment, no.

          • SuperStrapper

            Great comment. I assume you meant to say derivitave.
            I feel like this is Chopard taking a reach at some of that nautilus (etc) cake and front-running any ? by saying they actually just already have it in their history.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      It drives me nuts. Can watches not stand on it’s own merit these days.

  • Independent_George

    The Romans are incongruous with the cool, modern aesthetics a Genta-inspired watch is trying to achieve. Makes this watch look like a laughable quartz homage one might find hidden in a stall in LA’s Santee Alley.

    The date at 4:30 is understandable on a Chrono, but unfortunate on a three handers.

    If B&R gets crap for the BR05, then Chopard should get even more, because the BR05 at least adheres to B&R’s established design language.

    If you are going to spend five large on a Genta-inspired watch, buy a Laureato or an Octo Finnisimo instead. Better yet, buy an MLX Aikon and put the $10,000 saved towards something else.

  • Daniel Harper

    Genuine perfection all around in my humble opinion

  • Andre Braz

    Looks like an 90’s design.

    • Ren


  • Raymond Wilkie

    Very smart indeed. For the size I would opt for the Alpine Eagle watch in 41mm ( A223 )
    Eagle shmeagle, who cares.
    The ladies model has an awful bezel.
    Design wise ( which doesn’t seem popular ) I think it understated restrained elegance.

  • NaJo

    I do not find anything new in this watch. Zenith defy inventor has made these attempts from so called Luxury brands amateur!

    • Ugo

      i’m convinced that the silicon oscillator (or carbon oscillator if the case) will be the future of horology.
      nonetheless, this is another exercise.

  • PR

    The Piaget Polo was a better effort. This one somehow manages to give off a slightly dated vibe already. Sure the finishing looks exceptional and the dial texture is neat, but the sticking out thinner polished center on the bracelet has a very 90s feel and the Roman numerals and number of screws on the bezel….something doesn’t gel. Price is a tad on the higher side, should sit alongside the Polo S imo.

    • Ugo

      as much as i love Piaget, the polo never convinced me with that ovoidal shape.
      in this one the dial is much more interesting and something that can stand between the kinda-boiled tapisserie and GrandSeiko’s awesome snowflakes. and without poems on the face.
      the roman numerals are tasty and done right.
      and, FFS, this is the way to do a date window: position, dimension, orientation. perfect.
      could’ve been better? sure. you’re right the polished center link is very ’90s, but it’s not ugly at all. nonetheless here i still prefer the double link of AP.
      and maybe i’ve had gone with a flush crown without bulging, bud i can understand that that’s the way you try to give a more “masculine” appearance…

  • david x. droog

    Fit and finish look great but the design is a bit meh.
    Saratoga – Polo – Aikon – bit of Ebel even, with the Romans?
    I see what they’re going for with the St. Moritz tie-in. But, at this point it very much feels like everyone’s trying to get a piece of this Nautilus pie, with just a minimal sprinkle of their own DNA / Heritage / Homage / History in order to hide how desperate they’ve truly become.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Call me when the 41mm solid rose gold with diamonds comes out.

    • Gokart Mozart

      When you make comments like this I can never tell if your being serious or sarcastic.

      Use a winking face or something.

      I think serious.

      • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

        Serious, love the gold one.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Ah yes. Quite the formula for making sure it hits the target market. Far safer than going your own way! Here’s how that design committee came up with this one:

    1) We need fake screws like the Royal Oak! Let’s move them a little, nobody will know. Wait, let’s make them real screws, sort of. Perfect!

    2) We need a bracelet that looks like the other steel sports watches that are knock-offs of the Royal Oak! Job done!
    3) Oh-oh — it’s looking a little too much like a Royal Oak. Let’s slap on the lump on the opposite side from the crown like the Nautilus has! Brilliant!
    4) Still a little too much Royal Oak. Let’s make the bezel rounder like some of the other Royal Oak rip-offs. Great!
    5) Now for the dial. We need something “fresh”. Hmmm… how about roman numerals?

    There. Now we have the perfect watch that will be appreciated by both old fart rich fools and old fart poor fools and just plain fools. Well done, committee! Lunch!

    • Independent_George

      Haven’t seen you ’round these here parts for a while. The mods let you back in?

    • Independent_George

      6.) We need a dial texture. Hobnail? That’s too Royal Oak, people might notice. Lateral stripes? Too Nautilus. Hmmmm, this is hard . . . wait, how about Grand Seiko? Yeah, they do things with dials, don’t they? Here’s one, a “Mt. Iwate”. Good, it’s Japanese, so no one will notice, and if they do, we will just say the Swiss did them first.

      • Mikita

        Exactly same thoughts!

    • FS1900

      Welcome back, TrevorXM. It’s been a while.

  • FS1900

    I can’t decide if I like the dial texture. I think I like it more than I dislike it, but it does look a little rough.

  • ??????

    Can anyone explain to me why they have to destroy the watch’s geometry by putting the date window at 4,30 instead of 6 o’clock?

    • I think Chopard has decided that there should be no compromise in the applied Roman numerals layout XII, III, VI, IX. If the date window was placed at the 6 o’clock position, then you would get a situation where either the elegant VI numeral is absent or if present, would be squished or compressed vi since the date window would be positioned above the numeral
      The Roman numerals must at all cost stand bold and proud like the Alpine Eagle!

      • spice

        Agree with your explanation, but still not with the date location.

    • Ugo

      are you kidding me?
      that date window is perfect: unobtrusive, color matched, right place.

  • Very classy gorgeous lucent steel A223 bracelet, I could just stare at that stamped sunburst dial at every given opportunity.Too bad I can’t afford 0ne????

    By the way David, the dial looks like the IRIS of the Alpine Eagle NOT RETINA which is the photosensitive layer lining the back of the interior eye

  • cluedog12

    I happen to like Chopard as a brand and Mr. Scheufele as the public face of the brand. I like birds of prey as well, but for whatever reason I am not warming to this collection.

    I think it is the thick, luminous Roman numerals that I dislike. I never liked them on the Nautilus 3800/1 either, but that watch is going secondhand for $40,000. So bang on effort to Chopard. These should sell like hotcakes, but it’s not half the watch the underappreciated LUC 8HF is.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    It’s like they decided what side the crown was going on then forgot to tell the bezel….weird.

  • Dan F

    It’s a beautiful new watch. Unexpected, yet welcome! Good thing the old man listened to his kid… the time is certainly right to bring this baby back! They stayed very true to the 1980 original, beefing it up a little for the man’s model. Which is in very great contrast to Piaget, who recently had to resort to some crazy contortions to make the new Polo fit for the wrists of the likes of Ryan Reynolds. To the extent that it is completely devoid of any resemblance to its namesake! A very sorry situation indeed! I like Chopard very much. As alluded to by David, the emphasis is on the product, not the brand name. Obviously, he has done his homework. If all the detractors can do is lamely repeat the worn out line that it’s just another Genta rip off, then I would counter with, cheap shots are a dime a dozen. Do your homework and then we can talk…

  • SuperStrapper

    David: i notice in many of these images (lovely photography, as has been usual) that the watch appears to be sitting ‘high’ on your wrist, meaning when the watch is facing you there is more visible bracelet below the watch than above ( not that the watch looks thick, which it does not). Would you say this was about it’s natural resting position?
    I find that many of my watches that i wear on bracelets all find their own home on my wrist, but with straps i can better set where i want the watch to live.

    • AlbieC

      “I find that many of my watches that i wear on bracelets all find their own home on my wrist…”
      My braceleted Omega Aqua Terra does tend to wander… annoying when it wanders “high” as you describe, and ends up tending to knock on my desk.

  • Joe

    I really like this Chopard…and I’ve been looking at their LUC XPS series longingly for a while.
    The only dislike is the date window. Here, I wonder why more companies don’t do it like B&R.

    This also makes me wonder why IWC changed course with their Genta-esque Ingenieur?
    Maybe all it needed was a display back and a more in-house movement (although I was still interested with the 2892 Habring-improved version).

    • AlbieC

      Agree! Feel like IWC isn’t really trying with their Ingenieur. If IWC had done as you said, it would have been on my shortlist last year for my “The One” watch buy.

      • Independent_George

        The Genta Ingenieur was marketed all wrong. It was clearly a Genta steel sport watch, but IWC, pre-Richemont, positioned them as anti-magnetic, engineers’ tool watches. The RO and the Nautilus were favored by playboys and jet setters, and the engineers, being much more conservative in fashion, favored Rolex and Omega, so the old Ingenieur was trying to appeal to both but attracting neither.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I don’t understand the gushing over all these steel sports watches that have these flat or oddly shaped lugs.

    Iny opinion these distract from the beauty of the case and ruin the effect of the watch with a strap.

    I much prefer a traditionall lug with a well designed bracelet like Rolex on the Oyster(see I can be complimentary about Rolex) although they suit a leather strap more.

    Then you have a choice of what to pair it with.

    In my opinion most steel watches are a flawed designs that can be improved with traditional lugs.

  • Gokart Mozart

    This sort of reminds me of the Moser franken watch using steel sports watches as a basis rather than big brands.

    Shame as I am a big fan of Chopards.

    Should I start the “how do they line up the screws on the bezel” conversation again?

  • Gary Mark

    How does this compare to Grand Seiko Zaratsu cases/polishing?

  • Mikita

    This dial looks exactly like Grand Seiko Mt. Iwate dial.

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