The company’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is also the co-founder of the environmental organization. Through his work with the foundation, Mr. Scheufele works to protect Chopard’s most generous source of inspiration – the great outdoors.
Watching after wildlife
Named after one of Chopard’s most popular timepieces, the Alpine Eagle, the foundation’s work centers on protecting the golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle.
The birds have been emblematic of the brand for a while now, due to their iconic status in the Alps. The watch collection for which the organization is named is made from recycled steel, complementing Chopard’s use of 100 percent ethically-sourced gold – a practice in place since 2018 (see story).
The Alpine Eagle timepieces are reinventions of the St. Moritz watches, first introduced in 1980, having been marketed towards elite skiers who frequented the Alpine resorts. The look has since taken the luxury world by storm (see story), but for Chopard, it is a matter of heritage
Like the St. Moritz watches, the Alpine Eagle collection takes inspiration from the mountains that have hosted the Swiss watchmaking tradition for generations. From eagle feathers to Alpine bird irises to hardy durability, the Alps are at the heart of work at hand.
This Alpine history and culture is what drew Mr. Scheufele to founding the Alpine Eagle Foundation, seeing the project as a way to give back to the landscape that has offered him success, as well as protect it.
“Given that I personally find refuge in the pleasures of hiking and skiing, I appreciate the calm of the mountains, which are conducive to inspiration, reflection and serenity,” said Mr. Scheufele, in a statement.
“Preserving this environment is very important to us, and I am extremely proud that the beauty of our Alpine Eagle timepieces pays tribute to the Nature that inspired them and enables the funding of concrete actions to support the conservation of this fragile ecosystem.”
Founded in 2021, the foundation currently focuses on reintroducing golden eagles and white-tailed eagles to their natural habitat of the Swiss Alps. However, the foundation is now also focusing on other apex predators and other vital fauna to the ecosystem – including wolves and bears.
The foundation’s “Preserving the Alps” motto encapsulates this breadth of its philanthropic goals, as it works to take on Alpine issues from an educational and conservation-focused approach. As of late, the foundation is highlighting the successes had in the white-tailed eagle reintroduction efforts, taking to social media to spread the word about the cause.
Mountains of impact
Protecting the Alps is a vital investment for European companies, especially those that are more locally-based like Chopard.
The Alps are the biggest mountain range on the continent, spanning over France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. Controlling weather patterns across Europe and being the source for the Rhône, the Rhine and the Po rivers, Europeans have dubbed the mountain range “the water tower of Europe.”
Glaciers are key to these roles that the Alps play, but due to climate change, they are being severely threatened. Between 1997 and 2017, Alpine glaciers thinned out by 78.7 feet.
As 90 percent of Europe’s water is Alpine sourced, and the glaciers fuel over 500 hydroelectricity plants around the continent, these statistics mark a looming catastrophe for one of the biggest economies in the world – the home market of Chopard.
If Alpine ecosystems buckle, they will take with them the economic stability of the company, as well as the most historic source of inspiration for its timepieces. Getting involved through the foundation is a matter of environmental, financial and heritage-centered interests.