The imposing new Chopard Alpine Eagle Automatic versions 2.0 embody the best of the Maison
Editor’s note: This is a shorter Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) review of the new Chopard Alpine Eagle Automatic 2020 models that released alongside the stunning chronograph version reviewed here. For our other detailed reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here.
What is it: Generation 2.0 of the distinctive Chopard Alpine Eagle Automatic Integrated bracelet sports watches
Why: Becausethe watch community can never have its fill of integrated bracelet or dive watches. The new Chopard Alpine Eagle Automatic 2020 expands the existing collection with the addition of a three new models spread across the existing two sizes, 41mm and 36mm. The ‘Large’ versions — ref. 295363-500 with Aletsch Blue dial and ref. 295363-500 with Bernina Grey dial and diamond-set bezel — both being offered in ethical rose gold, and the ‘Small’ version ref. 298601-300 in Lucent Steel A223 but featuring a diamond-set bezel for the ladies. These additions expand the Alpine Eagle Automatic collection to a total of 13 references/variations. There is now plenty to choose from.
When released: 8pm AEST 12th October 2020
Where: Non-limited edition global release
Who is it for: For the connoisseur who liked the 2019 release but wanted to add bling to their lifestyle.
How does it do: It’s roughly the same watch as 2019, just with new cases and diamonds. Stunning as before, they are sure to impress lovers of both horology and bling.
Missing: I would have liked to see the new Pitch Black dial that has been added to the new Chronographs range included in here, in the steel version. And yes, a new location for the date window please. Or you know what, a simple, clean cut dial sans date.
Suggestion: A GMT version for Chopard Alpine Eagle 3.0 for 2021
The 41mm version
The 28.8mm diameter and 4.95mm thick calibre — 01.01-C — used is a self-winding manufacture movement comprising of 207 components and 31 jewels, beating at the frequency of 4Hz (28’000 A/h) and allowing for an impressive 60-hour power reserve
The 36mm Version
The 20.4mm diameter and 3.65mm thick calibre — 09.01-C — used is a self-winding manufacture movement comprising of 147 components and 27 jewels, beating at the frequency of 3.5Hz (25’200 A/h) and allowing for an okay 42-hour power reserve
Both these movements are COSC certified and made in-house in Chopard’s watchmaking workshops.
When it comes to making their own movements, Chopard has two branches: Fleurier Ebauches that makes movements for watches like Mille Miglia GTS Power Control, and Chopard Manufacture that makes movements for watches under the L.U.C banner. Only the calibre 01.01-C can be admired through an exhibition case-back, and that’s fair given only that one is exceptionally finished worthy enough to be showcased.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing cheap about the way calibre 09.01-C is finished, but the large oscillating weight pretty much takes over the case-back, not really allowing the user to see other parts. Also, in the case of the 36mm version, both the oscillating weight and the bridges feature the same Geneva Stripes stripes which to me looks a bit boring.
The 41mm version on the other hand features a nicely decorated oscillating weight that beautifully differentiates itself from the bridges. It also employs a vertical groove decorative pattern and makes use of similar sun-ray finish as that on the dial.
In the ‘Large’ models, the movement is encased inside a 41mm diameter and 9.7mm thick 18-carat ethical rose gold case that is water-resistant to 100m. Compared to the Chronograph versions, they feature a slightly smaller 7mm crown with compass rose.
And just like the Chronograph version, the bezel screws follow the form follows function mandate, in that not only are they are properly aligned with the curve of the dial, that also goes through and through to the back, thereby improving the water -resistance and forming a Hublot like sandwich construction. The bezels themselves are in 18-carat ethical rose gold with eight indexed screws, polished or set with 36 diamonds (1.25 carats).
In the ‘Small’ models, the movement is encased inside a 36mm diameter and 8.4mm thick Lucent Steel A223 case with a diamond-set bezel and again 100, water-resistance. Compared to the Chronograph versions (8mm) and the 41mm versions (7mm), they feature a even smaller 6.10mm crown with compass rose. I am pleased to note that to maintain geometry Chopard hasn’t adopted a cookie-cutter approach and simply used the same crowns on all versions. Often I have come across crowns that are too small to wind — the Audemars Piguet Millenary 15016ST is guilty of this — and one can clearly see that the brand has cut corners. Thankfully it is not the case here.
All cases are handsomely finished, with both polished and satin-brushed surfaces, especially visible on the nicely executed integrated bracelet. The bracelets are not easily adjustable, but as far as steel bracelets go, very comfortable too, taking the shape of the wrist pretty well.
The dials here are nothing new for 2020, but heck, the sun-burst pattern is so amazing that I don’t think anyone was asking for a new dial design. This blue pattern becomes even more prominent when enveloped by a rose gold case, bringing out the best in both the colours.
All three versions released — ref. 295363-500 with Aletsch Blue dial, ref. 295363-500 with Bernina Grey dial and diamond-set bezel, ref. 298601-300 in Lucent Steel A223 with Aletsch Blue dial — are brass stamped with a sunburst pattern that is achieved by galvanic treatment and like the 2019 models are inspired by the iris of the eagle.
Out of the three I reckon the 36mm version is my favourite, both aesthetically and price point wise. In terms of the retail pricing, the ref. 295363-500 retails for 43’820 CHF, the ref. 295363-500 for 49’290 CHF, and the ref. 298601-300 for only 13’800 CHF.
The way the bezel screws become integrated with the diamonds on the bezel, and how the lustre of the blue dial is further enhanced by the shimmering of the diamonds, reminds me why Chopard is both a watchmaker and a jeweller. To me this smaller timepiece epitomises what Chopard stands for today, the rare combination of exceptional in-house movements, definitive visual aesthetics, and a bit of understated yet elegant red carpet bling.
To find out more about the new Chopard Alpine Eagle Automatic 2020 and other timepieces from the Maison, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are © Chopard, All rights reserved.