November 16, 2020
Although the watch retail landscape continues to evolve in 2020, a large portion of luxury watch sales still come through the traditional route of brick and mortar jewelers and watch boutiques. German retail chain Wempe stands tall in this space as one of the world’s most famous and prolific watch retailers, and November 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of its flagship 5th Avenue boutique in New York. To celebrate, longtime partner Chopard has built a special limited edition variant of its integrated bracelet Alpine Eagle sports watch available exclusively through Wempe boutiques. The Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition adds a classically handsome new colorway to the design, along with a specialty nod to the famous New York boutique.
Like standard variants of the Alpine Eagle, the 41mm case of the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition is rendered in the brand’s proprietary Lucent Steel A223 stainless steel alloy. Lucent Steel A223 is a whiter, more reflective alloy than the more common 316L stainless steel, leading to a brighter appearance on the wrist, and Chopard also claims improvements in scratch resistance over alloys like 316L. The case maximizes the properties of this alloy with a mix of even vertical brushing and broad polished chamfers, along with the distinctive polished square center link connecting the integrated bracelet to the case. The look is more or less completely carried over from the standard Alpine Eagle here, with the exception of the sapphire display caseback. For the Wempe 5th Avenue Edition, the sapphire itself is printed with a broad “5th Avenue” in reference to the original Chopard 5th Avenue watch made for the New York Wempe retailer on its debut in 1980.
The dial of the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition harbors the only major changes from previous variants. While this new version keeps the distinctive, heavily grained spiraling “eagle eye” texture that made the original Alpine Eagle such a standout, here this dial surface is rendered in a bright, slightly cool silver tone the brand refers to as Vals gray. The mix of applied Roman numerals and baton indices, along with the wide baton hands, contrast this with a classic blued finish. It’s a timeless and handsome combination, drawing slightly from the traditional marine chronometer aesthetic, but unique enough to be instantly recognizable. Curiously, while other models in the Alpine Eagle line use dial matching date wheels for the 4:30 date window, the Wempe 5th Avenue Edition opts instead for a white date wheel with black text. It’s a minor detail, but one that slightly unbalances the visual flow of the dial in initial images.
Inside the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition beats the manufacture Chopard 01.01-C automatic movement. Decoration for this movement is decidedly restrained, limited mostly to a fluted pattern on the signed rotor and perlage across the baseplate, but the Chopard 01.01-C is an impressive performer. COSC chronometer certified for accuracy, the movement also offers a hefty 60 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
The Alpine Eagle’s signature integrated bracelet returns in Lucent Steel A223 for the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition. Instantly recognizable with its contrasting raised central segments and hidden butterfly deployant clasp, the mirror polishing and smooth brushing of this bracelet make it truly dynamic in changing light conditions.
With a clean and classic look that adds a splash of new color, the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition is a subtle and restrained riff on its new cornerstone sports watch design with a reverent nod to one of its most prestigious retail partners. Only 40 examples of the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Avenue Edition will be made, available now exclusively through Wempe boutiques at an MSRP of $12,900. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.