Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas has participated in some of the most gruelling events in motorsport, from the 24 Hours of Le Mans (which he has won three times) to the infamous Dakar Rally. In 2019, Dumas set a new lap record for an electric vehicle at the Nürburgring Nordschleife — the global benchmark track for automotive performance testing — completing the challenging circuit in just over six minutes in a Volkswagen ID R. This month, however, Dumas faced a challenge like no other in his career: a drive up Chile’s Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest volcano.
Facing difficult terrain, temperatures of minus -30 degrees Celcius, and air containing half as much oxygen as is found at sea level, Dumas joined an elite club of drivers to have operated a vehicle of any kind under such extreme conditions. While his aim was to reach the volcano’s 6,646-metre rim, a feat first recorded in 2007 by a factory team driving Jeep Wrangler Unlimited off-road vehicles, accumulated snow and ice forced him to end his climb at 6,007 metres. “We have enormous respect for those who have gone higher,” Dumas said. “No one has seen so much ice and snow up towards the top of the volcano, but despite this, we went over 6,000 meters up, to the point where the walls of ice and snow meant we could go no further. I guess the only machines anywhere in the world higher than us today were aircraft!”
Along for the ride was the new Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono, a watch inspired by the soaring raptors seen around Chopard’s alpine Maison on the other side of the world. With a 44mm case made from Lucent Steel A223, Chopard’s proprietary ultra-resistant steel alloy, it’s paired with a hardy black rubber strap and a matching black dial with red accents, lending it a serious but sporty demeanour. Powering this chronograph is the race-ready Chopard 03.05-C column-wheel chronograph movement with flyback function (the latter a must for serious motorsports timing), created in-house by Chopard and holding three patents for its design.
While the Alpine Eagle Chrono XL’s robust case and movement made it an ideal match for Dumas’ off-road showdown at Ojos del Salado, its profile and details make it equally suited to less extreme pursuits as well. Distinguished by its 1970s-style case featuring a compass rose-engraved crown and a bezel with eight functional indexed screws (each perfectly and painstakingly aligned) the Alpine Eagle is that rare luxury sports watch that is as mechanically refined as it is adventure-ready.
“I have followed the many challenges taken up by Romain Dumas for several years, and it is a privilege for our Maison to accompany and encourage him in his successes,” remarked Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard’s Co-President and a friend of Dumas — as well as a distinguished gentleman racer himself.” With this new technical challenge, he takes to the — literally — highest levels the values of surpassing oneself and perseverance, which never cease to inspire our workshops and myself.”