Chopard Soaring high with Chopard
The new Alpine Eagle collection combines family values and eco-sensibility
There aren’t a lot of family-owned grandes maisons d’horlogerie left in our industry. You could count them on one hand, even if that hand belongs to someone from that digitally-deficient tribe depicted on The Simpsons.
People tend to think it’s all some kind of marketing ploy, but there really is something different about a family-owned company. The sense of legacy tends to be stronger. There is a much higher potential for autonomy, compared to companies answerable to their profit-minded, non-executive shareholders. And there is a greater fidelity to the past, an emphasis on personal relationships, closer and more rewarding ties to clients.
If you’re trying to find a watch that encapsulates the paradigm of development and production in a family-owned company, look no further than the new Alpine Eagle collection of Chopard.
Alpine Eagle, large model © Chopard
On first glance, the Alpine Eagle is an extension of Chopard’s sport-chic watches, a category which includes the Mille Miglia and Happy Sport collections. A round bezel, anchored by eight screws, surmounts a case tapering towards an integrated bracelet of stepped, geometric links. It’s a fresh look for those familiar only with Chopard’s current models. Those who have known and loved Chopard over the years, however, will recognise its design provenance.
St. Moritz Advertising Campaign in the 1980's © Chopard
The St Moritz watch, created in 1980, at the peak of the trend in watches with integrated bracelets and the sport-chic leisure aesthetic, is the direct predecessor of the Alpine Eagle, both in terms of design and philosophy. The originator of the St Moritz was Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who is now co-president of Chopard, but in 1980 was in the first years of his journey within the family company. When Karl-Friedrich Scheufele first convinced his father, Karl Scheufele to produce the St Moritz, it became the first sports watch and the first steel watch to be series-produced by Chopard. It was a bold move, prompted by the ambitious young Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who later went on to establish such company milestones as the integration and expansion of Fleurier Ebauches and the haute horlogerie collection LUC.
History comes full cycle in the Alpine Eagle, as it was Karl-Friedrich’s son, Karl-Fritz, who unearthed the St Moritz within the archives of Chopard and persuaded his father (with some strategic behind-the-scenes support from his grandfather Karl) to revisit and update the St Moritz for a new generation of Chopard clients.
Three generations of the Scheufele family © Chopard
As a result, the Chopard Alpine Eagle watch is built on values that span different generations. The collection has philosophical affinities with the newly formed Eagle Wings Foundation — an organisation dedicated to the preservation of alpine biomes — of which Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a pioneering member. The materials used in the Alpine Eagle are also in line with the increasing awareness and importance placed on eco-sustainability by younger generations.
Chopard is one of the few watch manufactures to possess its own gold foundry, and the Alpine Eagle expands this rare metallurgical expertise into a new and significant realm. Making its debut in the Alpine Eagle is a new steel alloy created by Chopard, known as Lucent Steel A223, which is formulated entirely from recycled steel. The ethical advantage of Lucent Steel is further augmented by the mechanical properties of this alloy, which boasts hypoallergenic qualities similar to surgical steel, improved hardness (of 223 Vickers, a number reflected in the name of the alloy) and a greater material uniformity and purity resulting in a brighter aesthetic appearance. Polished watch clasps are regularly subject to abrasion, but the use of scratch-resistant Lucent Steel A223 allows the Alpine Eagle to confidently engrave the Chopard logo across its polished buckle.
Alpine Eagle, grand modèle, acier © Chopard
Central to the Alpine Eagle collection is the dial decoration of its unset models, a radial pattern that recalls the iris of an eagle and also bears familial resemblance to the dials used in the LUC watches produced in Fairmined gold. (The Alpine Eagle collection incorporates only ethical gold in its cases and bracelets, as part of Chopard’s ongoing commitment to responsible gold use). The eye of the eagle is an apt symbol for the philosophical ties of the collection to our environment, but it also represents the guardianship of the Scheufele family over the long-term future of Chopard.
Alpine Eagle, sélection de petits modèles © Chopard
Maison Chopard epitomises the alliance between watchmaking and jewellery. It has always known how to meet the expectations of its day, relying on four essential values: expertise, tradition, innovation and commitment to philanthropy, whilst working hard to pass on knowhow and skills to future generations.Find out more >
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