Lighter Than Air: Introducing The New Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF In Titanium
The manufacture celebrates 25 years of watchmaking in Fleurier with a limited edition, high frequency, lightweight version of its modern sports watch, the Alpine Eagle.
When Chopard introduced the Alpine Eagle in 2019, the brand was in the right place at the right time. Old edicts about when and where to wear a stainless steel sports watch went out the window. The Alpine Eagle’s design codes were inspired by Chopard’s St. Moritz from the 1980s. Yes, it sometimes hurts to think that watches from that era are considered vintage, but time marches on, and a whole new generation of enthusiasts are getting into the design of that decade.
The Alpine Eagle was an immediate success, and today, Chopard welcomes the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF In titanium. Moving the Alpine Eagle's story forward by embracing new materials and a souped-up movement. And the reason the brand can make moves like this is because of its independent manufacture in Fleurier. Which coincidentally is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021.
Fly Like An Eagle
The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF In titanium continues the tradition of being at the intersection of cutting-edge and classic design. It combines the comfort of titanium with the power of an elegant but sturdy mechanism. Plus, the 41 mm diameter timepiece houses one of the most advanced chronometer movements to emerge from Chopard’s workshops — the Chopard Calibre 01.12 C. This high-frequency escapement beats at 57,600 vibrations per hour (8 Hz) which is twice as fast as a normal automatic movement.
A high-frequency movement is necessary to achieve maximum precision in a lightweight watch. It’s also an aerodynamic caliber, measuring in at just 9.75 mm thick. Finding the balance between comfort and performance is not an easy feat to pull off. But more on that later.
The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF shares many of the attributes of its predecessors. At first glance, you might mistake it for the Alpine Eagle Large in Lucent Steel A223. Plus, there are other 41 mm models in the collection. But when you examine the piece in the metal, you can detect the differences, with the titanium being distinguished by its darker color. It also feels less cool but more comfortable to the touch.
Fans of the Alpine Eagle design codes will be comforted by the satin-brushed bezel, case middle, and wide bracelet link. The central caps of the links are polished, as are the case bevels, while the eight screws featuring slots are set at a tangent to the bezel circle. Thanks to the robustness of the titanium, the wearer won’t have to worry as much about scuffs and scratches.
The Eagle Has Landed
Many other luxe touches make the Alpine Eagle soar above most sports watches. The watch’s sunburst dial, which Chopard calls the “eagle iris” pattern, is a tribute to the stately raptor’s steely gaze. In the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF, the Vals Grey color was inspired by a Swiss village of the same name in the canton of Graubünden, which is known for its houses with quartzite-tiled roofs. The shade of this limited edition is hand-patinated, making each dial unique and, again, distinctive from the rest of the Alpine Eagle collection.
The rest of the display is also appealing. The minutes track is minimalist with baton-type hour-markers and 12 o’clock in Roman numerals. The dial bears two inscriptions: “8 HZ Chronometer” appearing beneath the brand name and a unique arrow-shaped signature reserved for Chopard’s high-frequency watches.
There is something emotionally satisfying about the layout of the movement as well. Luckily, the transparent sapphire crystal case-back reveals the H8F heartbeat of the Alpine Eagle Cadence. This watch represents another intersection - between the L.U.C Haute Horlogerie collections and the sporty Superfast lines.
One of the benefits of this internal evolution is that Chopard can use the properties of monocrystalline silicon to optimize the capabilities of the 8 Hertz frequency movement. This light, self-lubricating material is used for the pallet-lever, the escape-wheel, and the impulse-pin – basically, any component subject to lots of friction. In turn, this eliminates the need for traditional lubricants to lengthen the movement’s longevity.
The lightness and tribological properties of silicon offered the watchmakers the freedom to develop an escapement dedicated to high frequencies without taxing energy. This is how the automatic Calibre 01.12-C can deliver a 60-hour power reserve.
The Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF is available now and is limited to a 250-piece numbered edition. It is priced at $19,000.
(Images by Chopard, Federal Studio & Thomas Hennsinger)