Alpina watches have been closely associated with sport, adventure and extreme endeavours since 1938. That was the year that Gottlieb Hauser, who founded the “Alpina Swiss Watchmakers’ Corporation” at the turn of the century, identified the four essential properties that he believed a sports watch should possess: it had to be anti-magnetic, shock-resistant, water-resistant, and the case had to be stainless steel. Thus the “Alpina 4” principle was born. Today, Alpina continues to perpetuate the philosophy of its founder by making strong, sturdy, precise and reliable watches that people engaging in demanding activities on the ground, in the air or underwater can wear with complete confidence.
At the peak with Alpiner
The Alpiner 4 models launched in 2004 as part of the Alpiner collection all have these three four properties. Young Alpine skiers, seasoned freeriders such as Aurélien Ducroz (now also making a name for himself as a yachtsman) and Arctic explorers are the chosen ambassadors for this collection dedicated to mountain sports. All Alpiner and Alpiner 4 models have self-winding mechanical movements; they come in 3-handed models with date (from CHF 1190), chronographs and GMT versions. Alpina’s top-of-the-range collection also includes a “Manufacture” three-handed model with a small date at 6 o’clock, driven by manufacture calibre AL-710, with discreetly vintage styling signalled by a cream-coloured dial, and an Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph with a choice of silvered, black, black-and-blue or beige dials in a steel and black PVD case. This sophisticated model, with dual ISO certification for resistance to shocks and magnetism, is driven by the AL-760 manufacture calibre incorporating the patented Direct Flyback system, which supplies a 38-hour power reserve. It is available for the price of CHF 4750.
Alpiner 4 Automatic © Alpina
Buy an Alpiner from CHF 1,190
Into the abyss with Seastrong
The red triangle brand dedicates its Seastrong collection to diving enthusiasts, a demographic it has worked with for fifty years. While the Alpina 4 of 1938 was water-resistant, it was what we would now consider shower-proof at best. But in 1956, Alpina designed a two-part case featuring a rigid rubber gasket around the screwed caseback, and a mechanism that sealed the case even more securely when water pressure was applied. This “Super Compressor” was water-resistant to 200 metres, and the case would be reused in 1967 for the famous Alpina 10. The watches in the Seastrong Diver collection are the heirs of this classic model. Today, they have a depth rating of 300 metres and all the usual features of a dive watch, including a unidirectional rotating bezel, a generously proportioned 44 mm case and large luminescent hour markers. Starting at CHF 995, the Seastrong Diver 300 Big Date Chronograph is equipped with a quartz movement, while the Seastrong Diver 300 with three hands and date, launched this year, reveals its automatic AL-525 movement through a transparent caseback. The Seastrong Horological Smartwatch is water-resistant to 100 m.
Seastrong Diver300 © Alpina
Buy an Alpina Seastrong divers’ watch from CHF 595
Up in the air with the Startimer
With the help of ambassador Michael Goulian, a Red Bull Air Race pilot, Alpina Watches Luxembourg Replica is repositioning itself in the world of aviation. In the first half of the 20th century it enjoyed an enviable reputation as a supplier of pilots’ watches for various national air forces. Today it is turning to air sports. The Startimer collection, introduced in 2011, offers a range of pilots’ watches that faithfully follow the codes of the genre, with their contrasting dials, large numbers, luminous indices and screw-down crowns. The Startimer Pilot, Big Date and chronograph models are available in quartz and mechanical versions. Lovers of fine watches can treat themselves to the Startimer Pilot Automatic introduced at this year’s Baselworld, with a 100 metre depth rating and a power reserve of 38 hours, for less than one thousand Swiss francs. More demanding connoisseurs will appreciate the vertical or horizontal bi-compax chronograph models, or the “Manufacture” and “Worldtimer” models.
Startimer Pilot Automatic © Alpina
Buy an Alpina Startimer from CHF 495
At a fully modern 44mm wide by 13mm thick, the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic is by no means a little watch, however the lug-to-lug span is a merciful 49mm, meaning the watch remains proportionate, and sits flush on even my apartment 6.75″ wrist. The faces of the case and bezel exhibit some wonderful lace and high-polished finishes that provide a sharp contrast to the vibrant anodized bezel insert — in this case, red. Alpina was wise to keep matters classic with an aluminum insert rather than after the ceramic trend — that could have felt considerably out of location here.The bezel itself has a crisp, satisfying rotating activity with zero drama. Its edges are not super grippy, but using a set of serrations each ten minutes, there’s more than sufficient to catch, even with moist palms. There are 12 raised, glowing hour markers implemented on the bezel insert, together with the initial 20 minutes also being luminous — an unexpected touch. But it would have been a nicer surprise if the lume on the dial and hands were as good as the lume on the bezel, but that’s a small nitpick — that ain’t a Panerai, whatsoever.