The cheap watch gods answered my prayers with a gold version of the brand’s iconic sports watch.
I’ve spent a lot of time, more like an unhealthy borderline time actually, complaining about the prominent use of rose gold in the watch market today. Frankly, I just don’t like this stuff. But I’m a sensible, empathetic person when I need it – and I understand that rose gold, despite being an inferior precious metal in my eyes, must somehow appeal to a broad crowd. Those people certainly weren’t in my social circle, but I guess every Swiss watch exec in attendance couldn’t be entirely wrong.
The use of rose gold wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for the fact that gold seems to have been completely annihilated at the hands of these executives. So I went out on an investigative mission, one driven by anger and sheer confusion.
“Dear CEOs, why the rose gold agenda?” I ask every chance I get. My friends love gold, every fashion editor I know loves gold, and gold has historically been worn by some of the most famous and glamorous fashion icons; Paloma Picasso, Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor (especially Her Cleopatra) to name a few.
Earlier this year I wrote an article for Houdinki Magazine
Sadly, so few brands produce their novelties in the precious metals I love. At the beginning of this whole article, I had an incident with Chopard’s PR representatives after the 2019 Alpine Eagle had just launched. She appeared in the photo shoot with two iterations of the watch; one in stainless steel and one in, yes, you guessed it, rose gold. I am clearly unhappy with this product and I simply cannot understand why there is no gold model. I reacted to her as if the whole thing was a personal attack; luckily for me, she took it lightly and we remained friends.
Readers, I am happy to say that after a long and bumpy journey, we are back where we started. The watch gods answered my prayers: the 41mm Chopard Alpine Eagle is made of gold, and I can’t believe it.
Despite the famous rose gold event in 2019, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Alpine Eagle. This is a very well made and beautiful looking watch. Which brings me to my next point, the brand Chopard doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, it often feels underrated among many of its watch peers. Acquired by the Scheufele family in the early 1960s, the house as we know it today is more associated with its prominence in high jewelry and its sponsorship of the Cannes Film Festival. But Chopard started out as an actual watchmaker, founded in the 19th century by its eponymous founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard.
The brand is currently run by the German-born Schaefer family, which launched the Alpine Eagle predecessor St. Moritz back in 1980. Then 22-year-old Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now co-president of the brand) insisted that the family join the dominant market trend of stainless steel sports watches. While I admit that 1980 is the deadline for such product concepts, I, like you, are probably as weary of Gérald Genta’s design purist arguments. I admit, of course, that he is solely responsible for the concept of the trend, and let me be clear: I love and admire Royal Oak and Nautilus, and often feel a strong desire for it. But can we agree to move on and accept that the field welcomes other watches? Especially those watches that were conceived in and around Genta’s heyday.
St. Moritz is Chopard’s take on sexy, youthful, luxury lifestyle products; an identity that sits alongside the infamous Alpine ski resort town from which the line is named. Back in 1980, when the brand was primarily focused on jewelry and gold dress watches, I discussed with Mr. Scheufele his decision to take the brand in a whole new direction. “I really feel we need to open up to a more casual lifestyle. My thesis is that people are getting more and more addicted to [lifestyle] sports: tennis, golf, skiing — that was my case, and it still is. I can’t go skiing with a gold watch.” I then asked him if he felt the decision was a response to changing trends in the watch world. “I’m a firm believer that we need to evolve with the times, yes.
The story of St. Moritz began in 1980, then announced in Basel in 1982 and launched in late 1983 and sold in three colours: stainless steel, two-tone (steel and gold) and solid gold. “We’re obviously very good at making gold cases and bracelets,” Mr. Schaeffer muses with a laugh. “But stainless steel cases and bracelets. That’s the real novelty. That’s something that takes some convincing.”
We talked about my obsession with gold, and Mr. Schaefer seemed to get it right from the start of my explanation. In fact, he got it with almost no prompting from me. The reaction from Swiss watch executives was refreshing. “When I started in the watch industry, every gold watch was basically gold, and I think we can now palpably feel the comeback.” That’s probably the best message I’ve heard from any watch CEO, or Really hear it from anyone who works at any swiss watch brand. I’m trying to keep my cool and not get super New York and rant. He continued, “Yellow is more edgy in a way. Or you could even say, more modern.” I did let out a little squeal, but I think Mr. Schaefer might be a little looser because I had such a strong reaction. Take a breath.
Chopard is opening a new flagship boutique in the historic Crown Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. The city has sentimental value to the Scheufele family. The first St. Moritz campaign was shot on a studio in New York, a day Mr. Scheufele still remembers vividly. He also explained that his grandfather’s wish was to open a boutique in Fifth: “My grandfather went to America for 18 months in his 20s. He worked as a goldsmith in New York to fund a trip he wanted to go to the West Coast .” Already in 1976, Chopard opened its first American subsidiary in Rockefeller Center.
I got my hands on the new 41mm model in time for it to debut tomorrow at the brand new Fifth Avenue boutique. The watch functions nearly identically to the 41mm rose gold and stainless steel versions. The satin-finished bezel with beveled edges rests on the tonneau-shaped case (9.7 mm thick) and is screwed in to ensure water resistance to 100 meters. The compass rose motif on the crown is located at three o’clock, between the polished crown guards, as is at nine o’clock. While this feature does have similarities to the Nautilus design, it keeps things looking symmetrical. fake luxury watches
The screws on the bezel sometimes have a tendency to be slightly misaligned, but this seems to apply to all screw heads in watch design – except the Royal Oak, which features bolts rather than screws, and the turn nuts that hold them from behind are often misaligned . So there, we solved the problem! I personally don’t care much about tiny screw misalignments, but if you’re a stickler for this kind of detail, it’s forgivable considering the quality of the watch’s finish: vertical satin-brushed strap, tapered bracelet, mostly brushed surfaces , offset by a polished center cap (each individual link can actually be easily removed with a screwdriver, bonus!), and polished facets on the edges of each link. And, of course, the textured dial, reminiscent of an eagle’s iris, a feature Mr. Scheufele confirmed was inspired by the name.
The dial is certainly what makes this model stand out from its competitors in the market. It is more similar to the dial one would normally find on a Grand Seiko; the deep ridges are (intentionally) uneven to evoke a more natural look. The swirl pattern is almost hypnotic to me – well, I’m not sure if it’s the pattern or the fact that I’m staring down at a chunk of 18-karat gold, but either way, the dial is impressive. There is a sapphire crystal display case back through which you can see the in-house movement Chopard 01.01-C which offers a power reserve of 60 hours. Movement with engraved central rotor in 22-carat gold.
The Alpine Eagle features an anti-glare flat sapphire crystal that helps the wearer appreciate all the fine details on the textured dial, as well as the Super-LumiNova-enhanced gold-plated applied hour markers and numerals such as the gold-plated baton hour and minute hands. The arrow-shaped seconds hand with eagle-feather weight is made of bronze and plated with gold. The date window displays between four and five o’clock, and the gold disc complements the dial.
The bracelet, while attractive, is very rigid and expands the case significantly. While it’s definitely too big for my 6″ wrist, if you’re playing with a watch in this size range, I think it’s important to consider that it’s more like a 42mm than a 41mm. There is a sequentially folded butterfly clasp which, when closed, is engraved with a very small and understated Chopard logo.
This watch is 18 karat solid gold; that’s quite a heft. The bracelet feels very refined on the steel version and chunkier on the gold version. The specs are the same, but the weight just gives the watch a different quality. Mr Scheufele explained that Chopard fake was one of the first brands to use “fair mined gold” – gold that comes directly from mines the brand is familiar with, operating in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, or gold as early as 2013 , it sources into jewelry and watch production from a supplier with the correct certification. As of 2018, the brand was able to announce that they now only use fair-mined gold.
Perhaps my overall rating for this watch is to be expected? I made a case for very specific changes to a watch I already liked, and got what I wanted (well, I still wanted the 36mm, but Mr. Scheufele told me to be patient!). I just hope other brands take note of this shift in consumer tastes. I will wait. You know where to find me.