As the first luxury sports watch of its kind, Chopard’s St. Moritz was a feat of innovation and determination at the time of its release in 1980. It also marked the earliest watchmaking project spearheaded by the current co-president of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, when he was just a youthful 22-year-old employee starting out at his family’s business. Forty years later, the St. Moritz has transcended into timelessness as one of most sought-after collector’s pieces in the Chopard archives.
An innovative move for the luminary Swiss watchmakers, the St. Moritz was crafted entirely from high-grade steel, making it the first timepiece to be made of this unconventional alloy in its workshops during an era when the Chopard name was regarded as a specialist in gold and diamond-set gold watches.
At the time, the St. Moritz represented a real and carefully calculated risk, but also the perseverance and determination that have always been the hallmark traits of Chopard. Now, history is repeating itself as, at the insistence of his son Karl-Fritz and the secret support of his father Karl, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has set out to resurrect the St. Moritz with a modern interpretation for the next generation – called Alpine Eagle.
A GENTLEMEN’S STORY
The perfect fusion of classic watchmaking and high-end jewellery, Chopard’s timepieces provide testament to the house’s commitment to precision and exquisite artistry – and the family legacy on which the 159-year-old company was built.
Even at a family-run business like Chopard, it’s not often that three generations of the same family come together to collaborate on the design and development of a new collection, especially one with a vision to reinterpret a masterpiece, the St. Moritz. It was this family spirit and creative process that made all the difference when it came for the time to create Alpine Eagle.
As one of the first to sense the strength of the bonds between passionate enthusiasts of the automobile world and of watchmaking mechanics, for Alpine Eagle, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was driven by his love for the Alps, by the lofty power of the eagle and by his son's strength of conviction.
Crafted from an exclusive, ultra-resistant and light-reflecting metal named Lucent Steel A223, the Alpine Eagle series of timepieces beats to the rhythm of a Chopard chronometer-certified movement. Dedicated to the aspiring men who outperform in their daily lives and whose vision inspires and elevates others, the collection was formed with the foresight and determination to act on the challenges of tomorrow while innately aware of the importance of environmental issues.
After being the very first of the major watch and jewellery brands to commit to 100 percent ethical gold, Alpine Eagle has provided Chopard with an opportunity to reveal its new commitment to protecting the Alpine environment through the launch of the Eagle Wings Foundation – of which Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a founding member.
This innovative and multidisciplinary environmental project – designed to raise awareness and galvanise the public with respect to the importance, beauty and fragility of Alpine biotopes – will offer a new vision of the Alps through the eyes of human beings, satellites as well as the eagle, which is especially renowned for its piercing gaze.
A hiking and skiing enthusiast, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele finds inspiration and serenity in the high altitudes of Switzerland. Sensitive to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan's initiative, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele joined the Alp Action programme in the 2000s. In unveiling the new Alpine Eagle collection, whose design bears the imprint of nature’s influence, he sought to associate this collection with a new sustainable approach.
DESIGNED TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS
Inspired by nature, the greatest artisan, the Alpine Eagle collection of unisex timepieces embraces the life force that is the impetus behind all those seeking to conquer – the inspiration of those who see beyond.
Contemporary, refined and assertive, the latest collection of Chopard’s luxury sports watches provides a state-of-the-art reinterpretation of the ever-classic St. Moritz timepiece, an icon of its time as the first luxury sports watch ever created in steel.
Like the original, the Alpine Eagle strives to encapsulate a glamorous and flamboyant lifestyle; however, instead of drawing on the famous Swiss village that inspired its forefather’s name, this collection features a wealth of references to its namesake, the Alpine eagle and its biotope.
With a design that is both refined and contemporary, the timepiece presents a rock-like textured dial to evoke an eagle’s iris, while its hands call to mind the raptor’s feathers and the cold, glinting steel is reminiscent of glaciers.
The case is distinguished by a protrusion protecting the crown engraved with a compass rose, an instrument that has helped adventurers find their way since ancient times. Today, it becomes the emblem of a new generation of explorers capable of choosing the right direction in the pursuit of their destiny.
Alpine Eagle's round bezel is punctuated by eight screws, grouped in pairs at the four cardinal points, a technical yet sophisticated finishing carried over from the St. Moritz. These screws also serve to guarantee a water resistance of up to 100 metres.
Like the snow-covered rocks of the Alps that change their appearance according to the light, the Alpine Eagle constantly alternates between polished and matte finishes. The hours and minutes hands, like the hour-markers, are coated with Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 to enhance nocturnal legibility.
Available in unisex models in two diameters, 41 mm and 36 mm, Alpine Eagle is a particularly rich collection with a range of options in steel, gold, bi-material or diamond-set gold, all carefully satin-brushed to elevate the watch’s already glimmering array of light effects.
LUCENT STEEL A223 – AN ALCHEMIST’S QUEST
To bring the Alpine Eagle purpose to life, Chopard has created a new material that is as rich, precious and complex as gold called Lucent Steel A223. A rare and extraordinarily precious metal in a league of its own, Lucent Steel A223 is the product of a very complex manufacturing and re-smelting process which required no less than four years of research and development to produce.
The industrialisation of this new alloy provided a real challenge for Chopard, in order to manufacture the steel to meet the Swiss watchmaker’s rigorous specifications, manufacturing time was significantly increased, due to the wear and tear of the machining tools involved.
But the efforts were well rewarded, resulting in a steel that is made up of a hypoallergenic composition (comparable to that of surgical steel) that allows it to be highly dermo-compatible. With its 223 Vickers’ strength and unique hardness, the Lucent Steel A223 alloy is also 50 percent more resistant to abrasion than conventional steels.
Boasting far fewer impurities than conventional steel alloys, Lucent Steel A223 reflects light like a diamond. With a superior homogeneous crystal structure, Lucent Steel A223’s particular level of purity guarantees brilliance and brightness comparable to that of gold.
THE MOVEMENTS OF CHOPARD
Since 1963, Chopard has been actively integrating the highest crafts of timepiece creation throughout its manufacturing process. Thanks to its vertically integrated production methods, all Alpine Eagle timepiece feature Chopard movements fully developed in-house at their Fleurier Ebauches workshops, from the components of its movements to the making of its case and bracelet in either Lucent Steel A223 or 18-carat ethical rose gold.
Staying true to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele's deep commitment to fine watchmaking, the Alpine Eagle collection seeks to achieve new heights by modernising the classic St. Moritz. Each Alpine Eagle timepiece is a work of horological beauty chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control – a rare event for watches of this kind.
The 41mm timepiece in Lucent Steel A223 features a sunburst motif inspired by the iris of an eagle’s eye, and at its heart: the Chopard chronometer-certified (COSC) 01.01-C mechanical movement with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve. In addition to the sunburst motif, the 36 mm models are adorned with a mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond-set bezel and host a 09.01-C mechanical movement with automatic winding and a 42-hour power reserve – with an 8-ligne movement that has become one of the smallest to receive COSC certification.
More than just a collector’s piece or even a sports watch, the Alpine Eagle collection of timepieces radiates as a testament to the Swiss watchmaker’s long-standing commitment to pursuing its embrace of breath-taking beauty – of steel, of nature and of the Alpine Eagle.