World premiere of the Chopard Alpine Eagle watch collection

The double forging process has two additional benefits. First, as the name suggests, Chopard’s Lucent A223 steel is harder than normal steel, with a Vickers scale of 223, compared to about 150 for standard 316L stainless steel. Second, its whiteness and brightness are truly incredible, so much so that in taking about 90,000 photos of a watch for the first time in seven years, I first struggled with the reflectivity of a luxury stainless steel case and bracelet Struggling to watch.

If you see my image is darker than usual, it’s because I had to make adjustments to compensate for the brightness and whiteness of the Lucent Steel. I’ve never seen anything like it – Rolex’s 904L steel, AP or Patek Philippe, and nowhere else. It’s immaculately white but richly coloured, and its propensity for luminescence is reminiscent of “now, this is what a luxury steel watch should be.” The quality and excellent appearance of this material is immediately apparent even to a novice with untrained eyes. It’s important to note that neither the bright glow nor the lack of its inherent color doesn’t look cheap — quite the opposite. Just look at the very uniform glow and orange reflections on these two external links, as shown in the image below. Such things do not happen by chance, nor do they happen by chance;

It doesn’t take a PhD in engineering to know that the harder the material, the harder it is to work with. (Of course, making a quality watch case out of marshmallows is equally a daunting challenge, but I’m sure you know what I mean.) In watchmaking, though, this attribute often translates into more beautiful, exotic surfaces , made of it. According to the product launch presentation, Chopard’s engineers were on the verge of giving up the material for months (I guess they kicked out the doors of their factory in Fleurier while playing all sorts of french expletives) – that’s how much In the process of making the Lucent Steel as beautiful as possible, they had to endure mechanical (and neurological) failures.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Design and Wear Resistance
The design itself is based on Chopard’s 1980 St. Moritz collection. With the times, even today’s 36mm version is wider and thicker than the original – but neither it nor the 41mm version feel or appear bulky, or large for the sake of “sport”. The layout of the triple-link bracelet looks unchanged, but is actually different in other ways: the links are still held together by octagonal pins, allowing for the perfect combination of rigidity and flexibility. Thanks to recent advances in case manufacturing, the center link is raised rather than flush as it used to be on the original 40 years ago, and the integration between the bracelet and lug construction now includes a more complex lug design.

The flow of the original bezel and case profile remains the same, although the latter is more blocky on the new model to support the larger side. Some of the floral sophistication and playfulness of the original is gone in the new design, I hope not. Then again, this more angular and structured look is exactly what the market wants in a 41mm wide luxury sports watch today. It’s just my gut that tells me that public taste will continue to return to the lighter, more airy designs of the ’80s, of which the original St Moritz is such a good and flattering example – but here and now , the Alpine Eagle is just where it has to be, for as many spectators as possible to sit there.

An interesting detail – and testament to Chopard’s detail-oriented approach to management that I praised above – is how Chopard overcame the hassle of designing the functional screws of the case and bezel so that their grooves align with the flow stops. plate. So yes, what Hublot didn’t bother to do, and what AP achieved by cleverly solving problems, Chopard managed to find an engineering solution. Reading this, you probably belong to one of two groups: a) Misaligned screws in Hublots (and other watches) have never bothered you, or b) You think they are the antithesis of good watch design. If you belong to group a), you can ignore this paragraph – but the rest of us won’t refuse to nod our heads for Chopard’s attention to detail.

Long-term wearability remains to be determined by wrist time review. For now, all I can say is that the narrow links easily follow a narrow wrist shape like mine, but, thanks to their figure-of-eight pins, they are also rigid enough to not feel floppy or cheap to manufacture. The double-folding clasp is completely hidden beneath a pair of links in the middle of the bracelet; opening it just requires enough force to feel secure, not a hassle. Both versions have a thin case that allows the sleeve to slide over the watch — I rarely struggle with a sleeve crawling over a luxury sports watch when taking pictures, but alas, that’s the case here.

The 41mm wide version is noticeably smaller than the recommended size. For example, it is smaller than the Datejust 41 and looks more shapely. As such, this version has a 41mm watch combined with elegance and restraint, just like the original 39mm wide Royal Oak. The proportions on both models are so excellent that I wouldn’t expect to see any changes to the bezel, case, bracelet or dial size – a rare feat, especially when it comes to proportions.

Every size and every variation in the Chopard Alpine Eagle collection is equipped with an automatic movement produced in-house. Both movements of all watches are certified by the COSC Observatory. The larger version features the Chopard Calibre 01.01-C, a proper in-house movement with a modern 4Hz operating frequency, 60-hour power reserve, and a blend of industrial finishing techniques and traditionally shaped bridges and bridges. At 28.80mm wide, it fills the larger Alpine Eagle’s 41mm case nicely.

Powering the 36mm Chopard Alpine Eagle is the Chopard Calibre 09.01-C, pictured above, also produced in-house at the Chopard Fleurier Ébauches Manufacture. It runs at 3.5Hz (25,200 vph) and matches a 42-hour power reserve with its compact architecture and 159 component count. This is clearly a movement designed around the proportions of the basic ETA movement, allowing Chopard to replace the supplied movement with its own without having to redesign its existing case and dial. The ball-bearing oscillating weight and neatly marked bridges complement the decorative details of the case back and bracelet. This attention to detail helps negate the idea of ​​a simple movement being swapped for a female model on a “can-do” basis.