In 1963 a young German goldsmith and watchmaker by the name of Karl Scheufele was on a business trip in Geneva, hoping to expand his company by working alongside reputable Swiss watch producers. A chance meeting led him to Paul-André Chopard, a horologist whose family had been making time tellers since 1860. The two struck an instant bond and the business was signed over to Scheufele on the same day.
Move forward to 2019 and Chopard remains a family Maison that continues to produce a range of stylish and elegant timepieces, with one particular wristwatch that ties three generations of the Scheufele family together, a testament to their hard work, creativity and ability to move with the times.
The Birth of the Alpine Eagle Collection
When Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, son of Karl, joined his father’s business as a young 22-year-old in 1980, he was eager to implement an artistic, conceptual approach to watchmaking and produce an innovative piece that reflected the times, away from the diamond set gold watches his father’s company had become synonymous with.
His idea was to create Chopard’s first-ever steel watch, created for the lifestyle sports market – a calculated risk for a Maison closely associated with luxury high-end pieces – to which his father reluctantly agreed.
Karl-Friedrich had been inspired by luxury Swiss alpine resorts of the time when sport and chic collided on the powdery slopes. He was intrigued by the presence of the surrounding Alps, something he wanted to represent in watch form. Something bold, beautiful and natural – something that belonged.
The result of this inspiration became the St. Moritz, which went on to become one of Chopard’s best-selling watches for the proceeding ten-year period, a feat that led Karl Scheufele to elevate his son’s position to Chopard Co-President. The timepiece’s fresh design, functional screws and comfortable bracelet acquired worldwide renown, becoming an iconic watch of its time.
A Design Created Across Three Generations
With Chopard’s new sport-lifestyle Alpine Eagle timepiece collection, history is repeating itself. Five years ago Karl-Friedrich’s son, Karl-Fritz, saw a St. Moritz on his father’s desk and decided to try out the watch for himself. He was immediately taken by its modern design, comfort and practicality. So much so, that after wearing the piece for a week, he came up with the idea of a modern redesign, without sacrificing the essential elements that made the original so iconic.
At first, his ideas were met with scepticism, his Father rejecting the notion that such a piece should ever be tampered with, especially one that was the foundation of his whole career. So young Karl-Fritz elicited the help of his Grandfather, and together they came up with the blueprint for the Alpine Eagle Collection.
Once Karl-Friedrich saw the designs, he realised the strength of his son’s conviction, a likeness to himself nearly 40 years previous – someone with a drive to succeed and an eye for opportunity. He then used the blueprints and found inspiration in the Alpine Eagle that reigned supreme over the Alps, soaring in the skies above the mountains. He saw strength and elegance in an animal that had no peers – nothing that could touch its rule in its native land. The eagle was strong, majestic, elegant and above all at one with its surroundings.
The collection was also inspired by American architect Louis O’Sullivan and the belief that form must follow function, meaning the watch served its user during every occasion, made to be worn daily by the modern, aspiring man.
It was these concepts that Karl-Friedrich used as the basis for the Alpine Eagle Collection – Chopard’s superb new range based on the St Moritz.
The watch is created with a variety of references to the eagle, from its rock-like textured dial forming the iris of the Eagle’s eye, to the hands that use the form of a feather. There is also a theme of colours that reflect mountain shades, from the Aletsch Blue of shimmering glaciers to the granite-like hue of Berina Grey.
To bring the Alpine Eagle to life, Chopard has created a new material, Lucent Steel A223, which is hypoallergenic, 50% more resistant to abrasion than conventional steels, and extremely pure, enabling it to reflect light in a unique way.
“At Chopard, creativity is fuelled by our family members’ passions, which inspire our collections.”
– Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President
Family values created in-house
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has a deep commitment to fine watchmaking. All Alpine Eagle watches have been developed exclusively in Chopard’s watchmaking workshops, and chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control, which is extremely rare for watches in the sports lifestyle category. Moreover, every component of this collection has been produced and assembled in-house.
Redefining What It Means To Be A Classic
The Scheufele’s 40-year love affair with this iconic model has been reshaped with an outstanding new collection of time tellers. And, thanks to their exquisite eye for detail and conceptual excellence, they have certainly gone some way towards cementing their legacy for years to come. Check out some of the highlights from the collection below.