When Karl-Friedrich Scheufele submitted his sketches for a watch named St Moritz, he would not have realised that it would eventually lead to the first tri-generation Chopard timepiece. That was in 1980 and he was all of 22 years old. Scheufele had just joined the family business and, eager to prove himself, pushed for a new vision that would rejuvenate Chopard’s image as a traditional jeweller.
Against all expectations, St Moritz became Chopard’s first sports watch. Until it was launched, the brand exclusively made gold and diamond-set gold watches such as the iconic Happy Diamonds. Profoundly innovative for the manufacture, it was also the first water-resistant, sport-chic timepiece made in stainless steel to emerge from Chopard workshops. Back then this posed a risk for the company: would it excite customers or would it diminish the brand in their minds?
It was a hit. St Moritz went on to become one of Chopard’s bestsellers for the next decade. With a mid-sized case and integrated bracelet, this watch has a distinctive notched bezel held down by eight screws positioned in pairs at the four cardinal points. It was at once unusual and classical, and evoked the timeless glamour of the eponymous alpine resort town.
Unfortunately, it was discontinued in the ’90s, a period that Chopard dedicated to the restoration of haute horlogerie to its Fleurier manufacture. In 1996, Scheufele founded the Chopard L.U.C manufacture in the same town where the company’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard, plied his craft in 1860. Scheufele understood that for Chopard to be regarded as a true watchmaker, he needed to invest in quality in-house movements and complications.
Through the years, Chopard’s identity as a watch manufacture grew from strength to strength. But Scheufele never forgot St Moritz, or at least his son Karl-Fritz wouldn’t let him. Having just been inducted into the business, the younger Scheufele persistently requested to revive the watch. With the blessing of Scheufele’s father Karl Scheufele III as a matter of fact, Karl-Fritz advocated for Chopard to give St Moritz a new lease of life.
At first he was reluctant, but upon seeing how passionate his son was about this timepiece, Scheufele was reminded of his own conviction 40 years ago that Chopard needed a watch like St Moritz. So finally, he agreed to bring it back from the past, but not before giving it a discreet makeover with a little rebranding thrown into the mix, resulting in the new and improved Chopard Alpine Eagle.
Just like St Moritz, the Alpine Eagle is a homage to the majestic Swiss Alps. The mountains of Switzerland are dear to the Scheufeles, who are hiking and skiing enthusiasts. Named after the European Golden Eagle, the watch is updated with a smooth circular bezel and a dial that features a radiating sunburst engraving reminiscent of an eagle’s iris. The eight bezel screws remain in the Alpine Eagle, but here they are set at tangent to the bezel—a sure sign of high watchmaking sophistication. And its seconds hand is tipped with a counterpoise made in the style of a feather.
Most significantly, the steel models in the collection are made of a new material called Lucent Steel A223, which is proprietary to Chopard. Cast from recycled steel, it goes through a complex procedure that produces steel with far less impurities. As a result, Lucent Steel has a purer shine than ordinary steel, resembling white gold in brilliance. Meanwhile, the gold models are made of ethical gold.
All of this points to the Scheufele family’s deep concern for the environment. Karl-Friedrich himself is one of the earliest members of Alp Action, an initiative by UN official Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. So as Chopard launched the Alpine Eagle watch, so was the Eagle Wings Foundation inaugurated to raise awareness and educated the public on the importance, the beauty and fragility of alpine biotopes.
This sustainable approach to luxury runs deep in the veins of Chopard. Spearheaded by the company’s second-generation owners, it is more relevant today and Alpine Eagle is Chopard’s commitment to a bold future.
Visit the Chopard website to view the range.