3 November 2020
After receiving the best design award for the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, we are proud to share the words of Wei Koh from Revolution magazine.
"Even before we get to the design of Chopard’s 2020 release and extension of their Alpine Eagle range, inspired by the St. Moritz integrated-bracelet sports-chic watch created by company Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in 1980, there is plenty to admire about the watch. It is the only watch in the luxury watch industry made from Lucent Steel A223, which features up to 70-percent recycled steel.
Because it is twice forged, it has a higher Vickers hardness than the ubiquitous 316L steel used by almost everyone else. In the two-tone version of the chronograph, the watch features elements in ethical gold, an expression of the Scheufeles’ insistence on the underlying ethics of their Maison.
The watch uses a movement derived from the single most impressive automatic chronograph movement on the planet, the Chopard 03.05-C — the first chronograph with a zero-reset function for the small seconds. While the Alpine Eagle doesn’t have this function, it still boasts an astounding number of features, including a 4Hz vibrational speed, a free-sprung balance, a column wheel, a vertical clutch, a flyback function and, get this, the only precise jumping minute counter in an automatic chronograph.
OK, now that its credibility is well-established, let’s talk about the design of the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, which is not only devastatingly stunning and totally unique, but also features the best visibility around. Every counter, hour marker, and decoration found on the dial was the result of the devotion and attention to detail of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele.
Mr Scheufele explains: "One of the reasons our chronograph is so easy to read, is that when we designed the movement, we placed the subdials higher — above the horizontal line of the crown — to create more balance on the dial and to allow us to make them much larger.” These two counters for hours and minutes dominate the visual impact of the dial. Both of these counters, and that for the small sub seconds, create a sense of dynamic energy with the use of bold radial indices.
The real stroke of genius here is how these aggressively functional subdials are dynamically contrasted by the diaphanous, swirling pattern that evokes an eagle’s iris. More details abound: look at the way the applied Roman indices curve sensually around the subdials, and notice how the tachymeter found on the dial’s flange actually features tiny hash marks — I’m offering a prize to anyone who can tell me how many of these there are — to aid the precise reading of average speed.
The date aperture is immense and offers incredible legibility, while the judicious use of red for just the tip of the chronograph seconds hand, the hands in the hours-and-minutes counter, and selected markers on the tachymeter, adds the perfect burst of colour. The 44 mm case does the perfect job of framing all this visual brilliance with a design that is made more aggressive with the chronograph pushers that seem to extend from the crown guards."