The Chopard’s Alpine Eagle Foundation takes sustainable luxury to new heights
With Switzerland as its fatherland, Chopard and the family of Caroline Scheufele have always been inspired by the Alpine nature of their home. In fact, long time followers of the brand should know that many of Chopard’s creations have been influenced by nature, whilst the Maison’s more recent journeys into philanthropy come from a wish to protect the environment and ensure the beauty of our planet long into the distant future.
Earth Overshoot Day
Marked yearly since the 1970s, Earth Overshoot Day refers to the date when humanity’s use of ecological resources that year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate naturally. This date was first marked in the early 1970s, when the Earth went into overshoot for the first time. This deficit has increased year on year, but more recently at a startling rate. In 1974 the Earth Overshoot Day was in November. Last year we reached it on July 29th.
The deficit is caused by the product of our consumption of ecological resources, combined with the accumulation of waste, which is most markedly the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Whilst it is understood that the life of the planet is finite, the rate at which we consume resources is known to be speeding up the death of the Earth, and immediate action is necessary to improve our quality of life, and the environment we all live in.
Eagle Wings Foundation
Caroline Scheufele and the rest of the Chopard family, are concerned with the rate at which the Earth is heating up. The average temperature on our planet has risen by 2°C since 1984, and there have been 20% more sunlight in the Alps since 1980. This has led to a 60% decrease in glacier volume since 1850, which has contributed to the devastation of the environment of the Alpine mountains.
One of the wildlife populations worst affected by climate change is that of the golden eagle. White-tailed golden eagles are an endangered species. Their population disappeared from the French Alps more than 200 years ago, and only a few remain on the Swiss side.
Partnering with the Eagle Wings Foundation, Chopard has pledged to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of Alpine habitats, as well as helping to re-introduce the golden eagle to parts of the Alps..
Alpine Eagle Tour
With a focus on how humanity is ‘racing the clock’ with regards to the world’s glaciers, one of the first projects Chopard and the Eagle Wings Foundation undertook in their partnership was the Alpine Eagle Tour. This project, designed to help create an understanding of the effects of global warming, involved Victor, a nine-year-old white-tailed golden eagle, who was equipped with a camera and sensor and sent to the summit of five of the world’s highest Alpine peaks.
Equipped with a 360-degree camera on his back, Victor was able to soar above the mountain ranges of the five countries – Zugspitze in Germany, Dachstein in Austria, Marmolada in Italy, Aiguille du Midi in France and Piz Corvatsch in Switzerland – in just five days, capturing spectacular scenery, as well as some of the most important environmental images we have to date.
The Alpine Eagle Collection
To tie in with and help raise awareness of the Alpine Eagle project, Chopard has created the Alpine Eagle collection – a series of watches inspired by the majesty of both the Alps and the white-tailed eagle. Chopard has long been known for its use of ethically mined gold, is one of the frontrunners in the world of environmentally-sustainable luxury jewelry.
For this collection, the Maison took this a step further. Where gold appears in the Alpine Eagle, it is of the ethical variety, but the majority of the collection (six out of 10 of the new models) is fashioned from a new material called Lucent Steel A223 – a proprietary alloy four years in the making.
Lucent Steel is an important addition to the world of environmentally-conscious luxury, as it is comprised partially of recycled stainless steel. Aside from the ecological benefits, Lucent Steel A223 also offers plenty in the way of aesthetics. The steel is created by smelting the recovered steel at far higher temperatures, with special ingredients to give it a harder finish (223 Vickers strength). Lucent Steel A223 is beautifully light-reflecting, thanks to a unique crystal structure that happens during re-smelting, meaning that there are fewer impurities. It is also 50% harder and more resistant to abrasion than conventional steel.
Every part of the watch, including the bracelet and case, are forged in-house at Chopard. The company likes to create as much of their jewelry in-house as possible so that they can track each part of the process and ensure that watches are created completely ethically, and have that ring of perfectionism that distinguishes Chopard from other brands.
When it comes to the design of the Alpine Eagle collection, Chopard has harkened back to the much-loved 1980 St Moritz collection, boasting the classic style of Chopard’s first sports watch, but with an updated aesthetic to please the modern wearer. Whilst there are still eight screws on the bezel, the bezel itself has lost the 80’s fluting and is designed with a modern round style. Each watch features a fully integrated case and bracelet, with ingot-shaped links and a raised and polished centre link.
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