HANDS-ON: The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono offers a sportier version on an integrated rubber strapD.C. Hannay
With the heat from integrated-bracelet sports watches showing no signs of cooling off, more and more brands are getting into the game. And in some cases, they’re resurrecting those bold designs from their own back catalogues, which is exactly what Chopard did in 2019, when it released the Alpine Eagle to great fanfare. The Alpine Eagle is a reboot of one of Chopard’s classic ‘80s references, the St. Moritz, and it’s been one of their biggest hits since. So it’s only natural that they’d be keen to expand the line, which is exactly what they did upon the release of the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono. This big, bold timepiece was initially only offered on a bracelet, but now, you can also get the XL Chrono on an integrated rubber strap. Let’s take a look.
The Alpine Eagle XL Chrono’s 44mm case keeps the lines and overall look of the three-hander, but on an outsized scale. It’s an indisputably gorgeous watch, a real head-turner, and it brings that Big Watch Energy to the Chopard line. The eight-screw vertically brushed bezel is the focal point of the case, all rendered in Chopard’s Lucent A223 Steel, which is harder than standard stainless, and partially recycled, too. The “lugs” are not lugs in a traditional sense, given their proprietary strap attachment, and they slope sharply downward, similar to the profile of an Oysterquartz or Hublot, which aids in the wearability of a larger case. The signed crown at 3 provides excellent grip, and is flanked by dual guards. The elongated chrono pushers are well-integrated, and provide a visual balance with the dual bumpers near 9. The case depth is reasonable, too, at just over 13mm, not too shabby for a flyback chrono with a display caseback. Sapphire covers the caseback, as well as the front crystal, treated for antireflectivity.
Since the Alpine Eagle was introduced, the dial has garnered the lion’s share of attention, and it’s easy to see why. The galvanic treatment used is meant to evoke the iris of an eagle’s eye, and it does just that, with a mesmerising iridescent swirl. If you haven’t seen this one in person, I urge you to do so, as the effect is unlike almost anything else. Available in Pitch Black, or a seductive shade called Aletsch Blue, you’ll find yourself lost in the details that seem to reveal something new each time you look at it. The chrono subdials also get some fine finishing with a circular snailed pattern, but the eagle eye is the star of the show. The subdials’ functions include a jumping 30-minute counter at 3, running seconds at 6, and a 12-hour counter at 9. The baton hour and minute hands are rhodium plated, and the central seconds as well, but stylised as a red-tipped arrow with an eagle feather as the counterweight. The hands and applied Roman numeral “12” and hour markers all feature a generous application of Grade X1 Super-LumiNova for superb low-light visibility. A sunken date window resides at 4:30, colour-matched for minimal visual disruption.
Chopard has gone fully in-house with the XL’s movement, the 03.05-C, a self-winding column-wheel chrono that’s COSC-certified, features a 60-hour power reserve, and a flyback function for timing those record-setting ski runs. It sports 45 jewells, a 4Hz beat rate, and is built by Chopard’s own Fleurier Ebauches. There’s a nice view through the caseback, where you’ll find some tastefully clean decoration, including Geneva-striped bridges and a circular-grained mainplate. The whole package is lovely, and just what you’d expect from a fine jewellery maker like Chopard.
Now available on the XL Chrono, you can specify a colour-matched integrated rubber strap that bumps up the sporty look, while cutting down on the mass that comes with the substantial bracelet. The centre ridge from the case flows easily into the ridge on the strap, unlike some integrated bracelet watches’ attempts to retrofit a strap to an existing design. There’s a signed flat-pin buckle, also in Lucent Steel. The wearing experience is a delight, with the strap in that supple, high-quality rubber that you’ll find in other luxury sports watches like the AP Royal Oak Offshore, and you’ll find it comfortable enough to wear all day, no matter what you get up to.
If you’re attracted to the bold look of the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono but have been waiting for a sportier, more casual option, your wish has been granted. Yes, it’s big, but wearability is improved for slighter wrists with this new strap option, which has the bonus of allowing for more casual looks. You can now enjoy the hypnotic beauty of the dial in any setting, even while hitting the slopes in the Swiss Alps, and the watch is perfectly suited as a fine dining companion after a day of playing in the snow.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono pricing and availability:
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono is available now. Price: A$28,200 /US$18,200
Brand – Chopard
Model – Alpine Eagle XL Chrono
Case dimensions – 44mm diameter, 13.15mm case height
Case material – Lucent A223 stainless steel
Water resistance – 100 metres
Crystal – Sapphire
Dial – Aletsch Blue or Pitch Black, galvanic “eagle eye” sunburst finish
Strap – Blue or black rubber, signed Lucent Stainless pin buckle
Movement – Chopard manufacture 03.05-C
Power reserve – 60 hours
Availability – Now
Price – A$28,200 /US$18,200