Chopard launched an “extra-large” chronograph version of its sport-luxury Alpine Eagle model in 2020, consisting of two references with cases and bracelets in Lucent steel and a third in a bi-material execution combining Lucent steel and the maison’s “ethical” rose gold. For the latest iteration of the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, released at the end of 2021, Chopard once again offers a two-tone, bi-material timepiece, this one pairing its ethical gold with ceramized titanium and mounted on a new calfskin leather strap.
Like its predecessors, the watch has an “XL” 44-mm case with right-side-mounted chronograph pushers that are elegantly integrated on either side of the crown guards. The gold used for the bezel, crown, pushers and caseband is sourced from the ethical supply chain that Chopard famously established in 2018, and the bead-blasted ceramized titanium used for crown guards and caseback, a material used in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries, boasts exceptional hardness (700 Vickers), friction and corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. The material, which Chopard also showcased in a pair of L.U.C travel watches earlier in 2021, derived from an electroplasma technology that oxidizes surface layers of titanium at extreme temperatures. The gold bezel features eight functional indexed screws at the key points, and the crown sports an engraved compass rose.
The textured-motif dials, inspired by the visual of an eagle’s iris, are in Chopard’s recently unveiled “Pitch Black” color, which was developed to represent “the intense blackness of mountain nights” and serve as a reminder of how urbanization and man-made lighting have disrupted the natural beauty of Alpine vistas. The seconds hand features the hallmark counterweight shaped like an eagle feather and the black counters at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock — for 30 chronograph minutes, running seconds, and 12 chronograph hours, respectively — have been designed for optimum legibility of their readouts. Surrounding the tricompax dial is an inner bezel ring with a tachymeter scale, highlighted at the 100, 160, and 240 markers with red detailing. The motif is echoed on the hands linked to the chronograph function, which have contrasting red inlays.
Chopard’s chronometer-certified, self-winding Caliber 03.05-C beats inside, behind a sapphire caseback. Boasting three patents, the manufacture movement is equipped with a column wheel to drive the chronograph functions, including the flyback mechanism that enables quick and easy successive time measurements via its use of three pivoting hammers. Its vertical clutch guarantees accuracy in stopwatch start times, and its built-in Variner device helps keep the movement’s rate stable by compensating for varying levels of inertia. On display behind the caseback’s sapphire window, and wound by an openworked tungsten rotor, Caliber 03.05-C beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz) and amasses a power reserve of 60 hours. The new Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is also the first in the series to come mounted on a black calf leather strap rather than an integrated bracelet. The strap apes the bracelet’s styling with its embossed central cap and its red bridle stitching further echoes the chronograph details on the dial. The watch retails for $34,500.