The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is available in three options, two steel versions and a third model featuring a bi-metallic case and bracelet ensemble. Building on the success of the inaugural Alpine Eagle models of 2019, these latest creations feature a fully integrated chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical coupling. In addition, they also provide the added convenience of a flyback function. Angus Davies explores the specification of the bi-metallic model in close detail.
In 2019, Chopard unveiled the Alpine Eagle, a collection of watches featuring integrated bracelets. Shortly after the models were launched, I travelled to the Swiss firm’s workshops in Fleurier and Geneva.
Over the years, I have toured numerous watch factories in my professional capacity and have grown accustomed to seeing the same processes and techniques. Nevertheless, during my time with Chopard, I was repeatedly wowed by its in-house capability, stringent process controls and the firm’s close attention to specification details.
The Alpine Eagle, a three hand model with date, was launched in two variants, large and small. The latter model was also offered with a gem-set bezel, exuding a sense of glamour and femininity.
While the Alpine Eagle looks fresh and contemporary, it shares some of its DNA with a former model in the brand’s back catalogue, the St. Moritz. This particular watch was conceived by Chopard’s Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, back in 1980. Interestingly, it was Mr Scheufele and his son, Karl-Fritz, who were instrumental in the creation of the Alpine Eagle, the spiritual successor of the St. Moritz.
The name of the Alpine Eagle pays due reverence to the eagles riding the thermals above Switzerland’s hillsides and mountains. The dial of each model replicates an eagle’s iris, while the small seconds hand is inspired by an eagle’s feather. Since launching the initial versions of the Alpine Eagle in 2019, the model has proved incredibly popular, so much so that the brand has released new variants of the Alpine Eagle Large and Alpine Eagle Small. In addition, Chopard has introduced a new chronograph version of the Alpine Eagle, the first time this complication has been paired with the raptor-themed model.
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono does not sacrifice practicality on the alter of style. In fact, throughout this composition this watch exhibits both functionality and beauty in equal measure.
Often a dial rich in detail proves interesting to behold but at the same time can appear cluttered and confusing. No such afflictions affect this chronograph. The Pitch Black, iris-inspired dial possesses a fascinating texture while the various snailed counters exhibit a sumptuous mien. The central chronograph seconds hand encompasses colour and a fletching-style counterweight, yet nothing inhibits understanding.
The additional episodes of 18-carat ethical rose gold enliven the overall appearance but without overburdening the composition with too much richness. The balance between the steel and golden hues proves attractive, yet elegantly understated. Moreover, the notable gleam of the Lucent Steel A223 makes the case and bracelet appear as if they are hewn solely from noble materials.
Beyond the pulchritudinous appearance of the watch, the Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is endowed with a sublime movement. Where some chronographs feature a base with a module affixed on top, the Chopard 03.05-C is fully-integrated and from the outset was always intended to be a chronograph. While some chronograph movements are cam actuated, the Chopard 03.05-C features the optimal pairing of a column-wheel and vertical coupling.
This latter combination means there is no hesitation when the chronograph is started and the pushers feel buttery smooth when pressed. With many chronographs, when the stopwatch is actuated the amplitude of the balance drops, adversely affecting the precision of the timekeeping functions. This situation is termed ‘drag’, but thankfully with the Chopard 03.05-C this does not present such a problem. Furthermore, by combining a column-wheel with a vertical coupling, the movement is less prone to wear and tear.
Chopard has created a watch that successfully combines functionality and beauty to a glorious conclusion. The model is infused with technical merit and the high quality of its construction is discernible. However, ultimately, I return to the interesting marriage of Lucent Steel A223 with 18-carat ethical rose gold, two metals with their own characters that harmoniously co-exist and share a propensity to gleam tastefully. The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono has now ascended to new heights. Where will it go next?