Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF (High Frequency): Feel the Need for Speed!
by Martin Green
It has always surprised me that mechanical movements running at a “high frequency” have never become more popular. While they certainly have their challenges, the higher frequency means that they are less susceptible to outside interference, which means they run more precisely.
While there is no official rule in the watch world as to when to call a movement “high frequency,” the most generally accepted definition is anything above 4 Hz (28,800 vph). While there are quite a few brands with a watch powered by a high-frequency movement at some point in their histories, few have had them more or less consistently in their collection. Zenith comes to mind, mainly with the El Primero, as well as (Grand) Seiko, who has shown a true commitment to the concept for decades.
Chopard joined this exclusive club in 2012 when it launched the L.U.C 8HF. This watch was unique in that it both ran at a frequency of 8 Hz (57,600 vph) and was chronometer certified. The case back of this model specifically mentioned that it was an experimental movement, yet Chopard still made 100 of them in the initial run.
It proved to be a development here to stay as the Alpine Eagle is now available with the 8 Hz movement.
Chopard is rarely a brand that shouts things from the rooftops. And this has not been different with the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF. In fact, chances are that most people will mistake it for a “regular” Alpine Eagle.
The major visual difference is the wording on the dial and the fact that baton hour markers have replaced the Roman numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The dial remains a treat with a pattern inspired by the eye of an eagle. It gives this Chopard model something distinct, yet again in an understated way.
Titanium, not lucent steel
Another thing one might notice is that the case and bracelet of the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF have a slightly different color than other watches in this collection. That is because it is not made from the sustainable Lucent Steel like the others, but titanium.
This makes the watch considerably lighter and plays nicely into the theme of being a high-performance sports watch. It reminds me a bit of the Italian and British “Superleggera” sportscars: light, powerful, and beautiful.
The movement of the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF has more of an industrial look and finish than we are used to from Chopard. What I would consider a downside in any other creation by this brand is an upside for this Alpine Eagle because it fits the theme so perfectly.
And even more so because of the high-performance movement. One of the challenges with high-frequency calibers is that they are very power hungry. Chopard mediated this in part by creating the escape wheel, pallet lever, and impulse pin in silicon. This reduces the negative effect of friction almost altogether and as a bonus lubrication is not needed.
This contributes to the fact that the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF has a power reserve of a generous 60 hours. This is a momentous achievement on the part of Chopard and underscores how well designed this watch is.
Like its predecessor, this watch is also chronometer certified, further adding to its reliability and exclusivity and guaranteeing to some extent its exceptional performance. I feel that the C.O.S.C., which officially certifies Swiss chronometers, should have more stringent requirements for high-frequency movements as right now they are tested the same way run-of-the-mill 4 Hz movements are, while they should easily outperform them.
I doubt that will happen anytime soon as so few brands offer high-frequency movements and even fewer have them chronometer certified.
The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF will remain a delicacy for the few at any rate since Chopard is only making 250 of them. For me, it is the most desirable version of the Alpine Eagle collection.
For more information, please see www.chopard.com.
Quick Facts Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF
Case: 41 x 9.75 mm, Grade 5 titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber Chopard 01.12-C; 60-hour power reserve; 8 Hz/57,600 vph frequency, officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified; silicon escape wheel, pallet lever, and impulse pin
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 250 pieces
Price: CHF 19,000
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