A luxury sports chronograph is well done.
Luxury sports watches are today’s fashion, and brands in every price range offer products in this category. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Chopard launched the “Alpine Eagle” last year. Although the “Alpine Eagle” was a restart of St. Moritz in the 1980s, this fact is unexpected because the “St. Moritz” Not really affected. However, St. Moritz cleverly reworked it to produce a beautifully-looking, typical Chopin-style watch, well-made and reasonably priced.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono Chopard has all the characteristics of last year’s basic model, but all the performance of the chronograph has been better reflected. Although more complex and therefore more expensive, the value of the chronograph can be said to be higher, even the best in its class.
When Alpine Eagle came out almost a year ago, it made its debut with a 41mm three-person pistol along with the date. What impressed me was its fit, finish and price. The value proposition is good.
But the three-handed “Alpine Eagle” is not particularly noticeable. To be fair, the basic model Alpine Eagle manages to avoid the common pitfalls of luxury sports watches-looks derived and is too similar to the most famous watches in the category-but it is a bit simple.
On the other hand, the style, size and substance of the new Alpine Eagle XL Chrono are convincing. Visually, chronographs are better than three-hand watches because the subdials are well proportioned and ideally positioned, so they fill the dials and accentuate the sporty appearance.
A chronograph with a diameter of 44 mm fits perfectly. It is large, chunky, and shiny-the case and bracelet are made of a new type of proprietary steel-and it has been refined from the inside out. The case and dial have exquisite details, while the movement has been carefully designed and finished in a quiet but worthwhile way.
Even the bracelet, due to its simple and ingenious structure, is thin and strong, which is worth mentioning. But the bracelet also contains the only design that does not fully work: the polished central stripe looks too narrow for a watch.
Importantly, Alpine Eagle chronograph , which may make it the highest value among high-end, luxury sports chronographs. In fact, the Alpine Eagle chronograph is better than most competing products in terms of fit and surface treatment. Its only weakness is the higher market promotion and visibility of competitive products.
Bring back to the 80s
The Alpine Eagle is modeled on St Moritz, a luxury sports watch that came out in 1980 and looks very important. In fact, even in later iterations, St Moritz still looked like a watch from the 1980s and was in production until the mid-2000s.
Chopard screened the fragments from the 1980s, streamlined and improved St Moritz to create the Alpine Eagle, retaining the best features of its predecessor. As a result, the bezel is now a perfect circle with no bumps or kinks, and at the same time has clear beveled edges. The bracelet is slightly narrower, making the case look larger; the wide bracelet of the original strap is almost as wide as the case, which makes the watch look small.
All Alpine Eagle steel watches are made of Lucent Steel A223, which is an alloy developed by Böhler, a subsidiary of the Austrian industrial group Voestalpine. Like the gold used by Chopard in its watches and jewellery, A223 is sustainable and is made of 70% recycled steel.
After about four years of development, A223 was cast twice during the manufacturing process-melting and solidifying, and then casting again-to reduce the number and number of inclusions in the alloy. This produces a dense, pure alloy that has properties useful in watches. First of all, A223 has 50% higher “wear resistance” than traditional steel used for watch cases. According to Voestalpine, this quality is achieved by “changing the molecular structure and optimizing the microstructure.”
And A223 has a higher white appearance than typical watch steel, which usually has a gray tone. The color difference in metal is not very obvious, especially in indoor lighting, but Alpine Eagle does have obvious luster, which is undoubtedly the result of surface treatment, but it also depends on the nature of the metal itself.
Case and bracelet
The Alpine Eagle Chronograph is a large watch, 44mm wide and 13.5mm high, but it is the ideal size for a sports chronograph. Due to the angle of the lugs and the bracelet, it can also fit well on the wrist.
From a design point of view, since the eight screws on the bezel are arranged in pairs and the polished stripes on the bracelet are very narrow, it can be recognized that it is from St Moritz. The protruding side of the case is actually part of the bezel, which is indeed reminiscent of the Hublot Big Bang; the similarity is not that the “Alpine Eagle” looks like a replica, but exists here.
Even if some parts of the watch do attract the attention of the competition, the finishing of the case and bracelet is better than other watches in the same price range. Both are finished with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces, and each surface is separated by a clear boundary.
The modification of the case extends to the smallest details, which are well done. For example, the screw holes on the baffle have polished countersunk holes. The rectangular chronograph button has a uniform, polished bevel along its length. Even the crown is neatly finished with a brushed top and smooth sides.
The bracelet is also well-made-each link has a beveled edge-and ends with an elegant hidden clasp. However, the polished central band looks disproportionately thin. It is not thick enough to accent, but it is too narrow to be a characteristic of a bracelet.
At the same time, the bracelet is relatively thin. It is sturdy enough to fit the size of the watch, but not bulky. Due to its simple but unconventional structure, it also has high flexibility.
Instead of the usual pins or screws, the bracelet links are held together by plates that slide into the sides of each link. Then, fix each plate with the large screws on the back of the chain links. The screws in turn also maintain the polished links, which form the strap on the central length of the bracelet. This structure allows the bracelet to bend while still maintaining rigidity.
The dial design of the Alpine Eagle is unusual, although it has the predictable colors of a luxury sports watch, namely blue, black and gray.
This pattern is atypical, because most luxury sports watches have linear or geometric patterns on their dials. In contrast, the Alpine Eagle dial is deeply imprinted with a spiral, radial pattern, and its granular texture is inspired by the eagle eye iris. The pattern is most obvious on the blue dial, but less obvious on the black dial.
The dial has done a good job in surface treatment and design, obviously the details have been considered. For example, the subdial and hands are designed to distinguish the chronograph from the time display.
All three hands of the chronograph are filled with red Super-Luminova, while the time hands are white. The subdials of the chronograph are all made of brass, while the constant second hand is recessed in a smaller concentric shape, stepped and surfaced.
Although not obvious at first, the position of the sub-dial is higher than usual. This provides more space for the registers, so that the dial can avoid clutter.
One element that can be removed from the original St Moritz is “XII”. The 12 o’clock mark is not a sought-after item, but because the Roman numerals tend to have classical meanings, it feels out of date compared to everything else that is modern and concise.
The movement inside the Alpine Eagle chronograph is Chopard 03.05-C, which is a high-level internal movement, which is derived from LUC 03.03-L, which is at the high end of the brand. It can be found in the LUC Chronograph.
Even calibration. 03.05-C did not find many successes in the L.U.C movement, but it is still a first-class movement, especially in sports chronographs at this price.
First of all, the movement has a considerable power reserve of 60 hours. It has both a vertical clutch and a column wheel, which has become the standard configuration of today’s mid- to high-end chronographs.
Both help to ensure more accurate operation of the timer, while the vertical clutch allows the timer to run without affecting the timing. In other words, the vertical clutch does affect maintainability because it must be replaced as a whole. More notably, cal. 03.05-C has a flyback function, which is not very common.
The decorations are high quality and handcrafted, which means that most of them are machined finishes and monochromatic appearance. However, it is clear that the details have been handled appropriately.
Screws and jewels are inlaid in the countersunk holes, while the wheels have round grains. It’s worth noting that the edges and notches of the screw head are chamfered-negligible but can clearly contain a tiny detail.
The Alpine Eagle Chronograph debuted in three styles, two in stainless steel and one in two tones of steel and gold. The appearance of the two-tone watch is slightly outdated, which is the least attractive to me, and the price is more expensive. However, the two-tone watch is particularly attractive, and anyone who likes this look may find it superior to the other two watches.
Between the two steel watches, the blue dial is easier to attract the eye and shows the dial pattern more clearly. However, it is a bit formulaic, because almost all luxury sports watches now wear blue.
The Alpine Eagle Chronograph has a very high price/performance ratio. In fact, this may be the best in the class.
Hublot has a more aggressive and unique style, while the “Alpine Eagle” wins in terms of surface treatment and mechanical properties. Vacheron Constantin (Vacheron Constantin) and Audemars Piguet (Audemars Piguet) for the same price hovering at the $30,000 mark, but in terms of quality, Alpine Eagle is comparable.
But unlike its peers, Chopard does not have much history in luxury sports watches, so Alpine Eagle does not sell its backstory. But on its own, Alpine Eagle is an excellent watch.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono
Reference 298609-3001 (blue dial stainless steel)
Reference 298609-3002 (black dial stainless steel)
Reference 298609-6001 (steel and gold, black dial)
Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 13.5 mm
Material: Lucent A223; also comes with 18k rose gold decoration
Water resistance 100 m
Movement: Chopin 03.05-C
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: stainless steel bracelet