One of Chopard’s latest extensions to its still-fresh Alpine Eagle collection is the new-for-2022 Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon. I like this high-end timepiece because it is simple to understand, satisfying in its execution, and more than practical enough to serve as a daily wear. Indeed, Chopard celebrates the Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon as being among the (admittedly) rare watches that bear both the Poinçon de Genève (Seal of Geneva) as well as a COSC Chronometer certification. In a sense, the latter rating is a bit redundant, but since Chopard did seem to want to put the “Chronometer” label on the dial, the COSC certification is a nice little extra element for this accurate tourbillon-based timepiece.
While the Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon might not be the “most” this or the “thinnest” that, it is a very compelling package that does a lot of things well once you put it on your wrist. For a variety of reasons, people out there want to put a tourbillon on their wrist. Perhaps it is for status or because they love the animation of the spinning regulation system, but wearing a tourbillon in an otherwise sensible leisure watch is a goal for plenty of collectors. Accordingly, that’s more or less what Chopard seemed to have in mind here (with a logical competitor for this product being the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon).
The case wears a bit small for its size and is a sensible 41mm-wide and just 8mm-thick in a special alloy of metal that Chopard calls Lucent Steel. It polishes up a bit differently from the more standard 316L steel and appears to be a bit more white in tone. I do agree that Lucent steel makes for a great watch case material. The 8mm thickness is probably enough for Chopard to have claimed that this is an “ultra-thin” timepiece, but the company usually refrains from using such boastful adjectives in its names, which is something that I tend to appreciate. The Alpine Eagle case has side flanks that give it a very trendy look, and the integrated bracelet is well-made with a unique character that easily marks it as a Chopard product (versus something from the competition). More so, the case is water-resistant to 100 meters.
The textured blue dial is produced from a piece of gold that is given a spiraled texture that Chopard calls “the iris of the eagle.” The gold base is later treated with a blue galvanic treatment to achieve the desired color. It also feels like this is a Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon watch meant to go with jeans, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. The dial is also fitted with Roman numeral hour indicators and an opening for the flying tourbillon window at the 6 o’clock position No extra clutter, no extra complications, just the legible time with a textured dial and a Swiss Made rotating tourbillon system. While The Alpine Eagle is not technically part of Chopard’s more elite L.U.C product collection, it does have a movement produced by the L.U.C part of the brand’s movement manufacture, which is visible through the sapphire crystal case rear. The movement is produced in-house at Chopard and is known as the caliber L.U.C 96.24-L. The movement consists of 189 parts and operates at an uncommon 3.5Hz (25,200) frequency. It has 65 hours of power reserve between two stacked mainspring barrels, which is really impressive given that the movement is just 3.3mm-thick. Finally, the movement is an automatic, featuring a 22k-gold micro-rotor system. This L.U.C family mechanism also happens to be very pretty, with its traditional bridge architecture and corresponding hand-applied polishing and decoration. The addition of the two certifications helps prove the merits of the movements to those who don’t have the eyes to see it otherwise. COSC Chronometer certification is about attending a level of accuracy for the movement, and the more challenging and uncommon Seal of Geneva certification covers three areas. First, it attests to the fact that the movement was produced within the geographic canton of Geneva. Second and third, it attests to the cased Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon watch meeting certain performance standards and ensuring particular aesthetic and decorative standards. There are very few (if any) “cheap” Poinçon de Genève timepieces out there.
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono collection debuted with a selection of three-hand models back in 2019 and the Fleurier-based manufacture has used the little time since to expand upon the exceptionally successful recipe of the original. The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is a special addition to the collection because it is the largest and grandest rendition of the Alpine Eagle at 44mm-wide, making the best use of all that extra space to include the brand’s 03.05-C in-house chronograph movement. Chopard and motorsports go back decades, all the way to the late 1980s when the brand started sponsoring the Mille Miglia, “the most beautiful race in the world” with which it has been in continuous partnership ever since. It is no surprise, then, that the sporty Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, equipped with a tachymeter scale, is presented on the wrist of Jacky Ickx, six-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and long-time friend of the brand. The dial is characterized by red accents and amply sized and situated markers across the main display as well as the subdials to allow for the accurate reading of the measured time — an essential feature for chronographs rich with racing DNA. The backdrop remains the beautifully textured pattern inspired by the eagle’s iris, as it is on every Alpine Eagle watch. the subdials, tachymeter scale, and even the date display all feature numerals and texts in Chopard’s bespoke typography — yet another touch to indicate all-encompassing attention to detail from the brand and its co-president, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. The 44mm-wide and 13.15mm-thick case of the Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono watch is crafted from A223 Lucent Steel, an innovative steel alloy that is hypo-allergenic and robust with truly incomparable brilliance and whiteness achieved through a meticulous recasting process. A223 Lucent Steel responds beautifully to various surface treatments and on the XL Chrono it exhibits a combination of high-polished and intricately brushed elements. The pushers are discreetly integrated into the robust crown guards on the right hand side of the case while the screws securing the bezel are all perfectly aligned with the shape of the watch — again, testifying to the attention to detail all Alpine Eagle references are crafted with, all the way from the very material they are crafted from. The caseback reveals the 310-component Chopard 03.05-C, a self-winding and column wheel-equipped chronograph caliber developed and assembled by Chopard’s watchmaking workshops. With three patented innovations, including a unidirectional gear drive system to prevent energy losses while ensuring rapid winding and a zero-reset mechanism with pivoting hammers and elastic arms for the flyback function, the 03.05-C also boasts a patented vertical clutch system for the smooth and accurate starting of the chronograph. Making it all the more desirable and rare among modern chronographs is a flyback function to allow for the quick stopping, resetting, and restarting of the function at the press of just one button. Fitted with a stop-second feature for to-the-second synchronization with a reference time, the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is chronometer-certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute — as befits such a technical masterpiece. Already available with an integrated metal bracelet and a leather option, the Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono model is treated to a new look with a supple rubber strap with a pin buckle. Water-resistant, durable and comfortable, this new strap option lends a particularly dynamic look to this sporty chronograph that is water resistant to 100m.
The basic premise of a sport watch is pretty simple: It tells the time, you can wear it anywhere, and it shouldn’t be too expensive, relatively speaking, of course. The Chopard Alpine Eagle delivers on all these. Offered in two sizes – 36mm and 41mm – there’s a fit for pretty much any wrist. Chopard uses a different COSC-certified movement for each version: the caliber 09.01-C (36mm) or 01.01-C (41mm), which means each nicely fills up the sapphire caseback.
As with most watches in the sport watch genre, the bracelet is a defining feature of the Alpine Eagle. It doesn’t disappoint, a unique three-link construction, with the links secured together with a single screw on the back of the bracelet. It leaves the edge clean so that it’s polished and chamfered to provide a contrast to the brushed outer links. It’s an effortless update of Chopard’s original St. Moritz from the 1980s. Speaking of, the Alpine Eagle draws all kinds of inspiration from that original St. Moritz. Back then, a young Karl-Friedrich Scheufele realized Chopard Alpine Eagle needed its own sport watch to compete in the growing category.
In 2019, Scheufele and Chopard introduced the Chopard Alpine Eagle . Sure, the Alpine Eagle looks like some of the other modern sport watches, but the cues from the original St. Moritz are there: the paired screws on the bezel, the three-link bracelet, the dial finish (inspired by the iris of an eagle). At first glance, the Chopard Alpine Eagle feels familiar, but upon closer inspection, it’s the details that set it apart.