It is hardly a surprise to anyone at this point that the Alpine Eagle collection by Chopard has been a hit. Launched a few years ago as the brand’s entrance into the trendy “men’s integrated bracelet” watch market, the Alpine Eagle has won over enthusiasts with its distinctive looks, very high-quality construction, and comparatively fair pricing. There is romance in the design, as well. Chopard likes to tell the story of how the Alpine Eagle represents three generations of leaders at Chopard, including Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, his son, and his father, as each of them contributed in a way to the overall composition. The core design itself is a more modern and massive recreation of the Chopard St. Moritz watch that Mr. Scheufele was also instrumental in bringing to market some time ago. New for now is this reference 295363-0001 Alpine Eagle 41 that debuts 18k yellow gold as a case material for the Alpine Eagle.
The Alpine Eagle 41 18k yellow gold watch debuted in tandem with the opening of the Chopard brand boutique flagship store on New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue. Chopard has had a presence in New York City since 1976 and was previously in two different retail store locations on Madison Avenue. I visited the new Chopard Fifth Avenue store and really admired the aesthetics and concept. Its ambiance is very high-end and a world away from some of the less interesting ways that many of us may have seen Chopard watches displayed in traditional third-party watch retailer environments.
Until now, Chopard has produced the Alpine Eagle in “Lucent” (partially recycled and polishes brighter) steel, 18k rose gold, and a small number of limited-production titanium models. 18k yellow gold is a new material for the Alpine Eagle family and debuts in a gold-on-gold style with the 41mm-wide case. It is entirely likely that smaller versions of the Alpine Eagle will also be produced in 18k yellow gold. This is especially true because of how nice the Alpine Eagle case and bracelet design look in the bright tones of yellow gold.
The gold itself is prepared by Chopard at its in-house foundry. It is “ethical” gold, meaning that Chopard pays a slight premium for gold that has been prepared through a supply line that focuses on sustainability and ethical work conditions. Chopard has been integrating ethical sourcing into its metals and precious stones since about 10 years ago when the trend started with (I believe) ethically sourced diamonds. Very few watch brands have their own foundries, let alone make their own cases. This asset gives Chopard the ability to make excellent-quality components with known alloy blends that meet their precise standards. Chopard even likes using recycled steel because the extra processing allows the steel alloy to be stronger, which allows it to polish up better.
While the titanium version of the 41mm-wide Alpine Eagle is a delight unto itself, the weighty feeling of gold in your palm and on your wrist is a pleasure that is hard to replicate with other materials. Gold has always suited the Alpine Eagle design well, but I like it better in 18k yellow gold than 18k rose gold. One reason is that I personally like 18k rose gold for curvier cases, while 18k yellow gold seems to be a bit more versatile and can adapt well to cases with a lot of curves or with a lot of sharp angles, which is the “case” (no pun intended) with the Alpine Eagle’s design.
The 18k yellow gold case and bracelet are matched with a yellow gold-tone dial that completes the overall look. For sure, Chopard will offer this watch with optional diamond decoration, but like the Rolex Day-Date “President,” the clean appeal of the all-gold with no precious stones version is very classy and masculine while also being a status symbol. The Alpine Eagle dial also benefits from sporty legibility thanks to the lume-painted applied hour markers and matching hands. The case is water resistant to 100 meters with a screw-down crown and display caseback. The 41mm wide case doesn’t wear too large and is among the more modestly sized of the integrated bracelet watches that come in this diameter. The case isn’t overly thick or thin, but I think Chopard might want to consider coming out with an Ultra-Thin variant of the Alpine Eagle at some point in the future.
Inside the three-hand version of the Alpine Eagle is the in-house Chopard calibre 01.01-C automatic movement. The 4.95mm-thick movement operates at 4Hz with 60 hours of power reserve. It features the time with central seconds,and date indicator window. Each of the movements is COSC Chronometer-certified for accuracy.
The 18k yellow gold version of the Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 might be beautiful and a decent value, but it is still a very premium watch with a price just under $50,000 USD. Rolex still offers a bit of a bargain in comparison, but not by much. Chopard still comes in appreciably below similar watches from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. It really isn’t that Chopard isn’t charging enough, but rather that some of the competition simply prices too high. Look for the reference 295363-0001 Chopard Alpine Eagle 41mm in 18k yellow gold at select Chopard boutiques. Price is $49,100 USD. Learn more at the Chopard watches website.