For a luxury jewellery maison like Chopard, the St. Moritz, a steel sports watch created by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in 1980, was something of a departure from the precious metals and gem setting associated with the brand.
Just 22-years-old at the time, the young Karl-Friedrich was taking a risk pitching a steel sports watch to one of the finest jewellery makers of the past 200 years, although it would have helped that he was a third generation member of the Sheufele family that ran Chopard. He is now co-president for the maison.
The St Moritz became a classic, and part of the wider movement to establish steel sports timepieces as a vibrant sub-category of the luxury watch market.
That sub-category has never been more vibrant than it today, and every major Swiss brand is battling for a slice of the rapidly growing boardroom to beach watch pie.
Chopard has unveiled a fresh contender today, the Alpine Eagle, which is a contemporary reinterpretation of the 1980 St Moritz.
With a starting price of £8,770, it is right in the same space as Rolex’s steel Submariner, the flag bearer for the category.
The Alpine Eagle comes in his and hers 41mm and 36mm models with integrated steel bracelets.
Both house chronometer-certified automatic manufacture movements: the 01.01-C calibre with a 60-hour power reserve in the 41mm watch and the 09.01-C with a 42-hour power reserve in the 36mm version.
Chopard has not completely turned away from precious metals and diamonds for the Alpine Eagle family, which comes with gold or bi-colour variations across the 36mm and 41mm lines. There are also several dial treatments in different colours.