While Frederique Constant has a clear classical, elegant and refined vocation, the other branch of the group, Alpina, is much more oriented on heritage and sports watches. Once again, the motto is the same: accessibility, value for money, very decent quality and functionality – but in another style category. The main collection of Alpina, the Alpiner, was mainly focussing on Chronographs and vintage-oriented pieces until now. This year, the brands adds two references in the catalogue, two robust sports watches, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic and the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic GMT Business Timer.
The Alpina Alpiner 4, the concept of four
The Alpina Alpiner 4 shouldn’t be forgotten when the concept of sports watch is mentioned. Indeed, Alpina was responsible for one of the earliest sports watches, as it is known today. In 1938, the brand introduced a watch that was a pioneer in terms of functionality. This watch, named the Alpiner 4, answered to the concept of 4 – Anti-magnetic, Anti-shock, Water-resistant and Stainless – that is today the basis of most real, sturdy sports timepieces. This could be looked at something usual with today’s standards, but it was, back then, a real innovation. Back in 2014, Alpina revived the Alpina 4 concept with its new “Alpiner 4” collection, dedicated to the Alpine sports universe. And just like its ancestor, the new collection combined the 4 functions dear to the brand. For 2016, the Alpiner 4 collection enlarges with 2 new references, a new Automatic watch and a new GMT watch, with Business Timer and a rather special rotating bezel.
The Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic
The first edition, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic, is a rather classical but effective watch; an automatic 3 hander, with robust construction. The Alpiner 4 Automatic is based on a legible dial with large applied indexes – luminous – and large hands – luminous too. Simple in its display, this new watch is a sort of essence of the sports watch. The dial is complemented by an inner flange, displaying the minutes and a second hand with the red triangle tip, logo of the brand. Around the dial is a rotating bezel, bi-directional, with 60-minute scale – which can be used to time activities or as a basic dive bezel (remember that the watch is water resistant to 100m).
The Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic is available in 3 editions (dark blue, silver, black, all with a nice sun ray pattern on the dial) combined to elegant leather straps (in brown or black) with red lining. The case, in stainless steel, measures 44mm in diameter and houses an automatic movement, the calibre AL-525 (26 jewels, 38h power reserve, 4Hz frequency – most likely a Sellita SW-200 base), with date window at 3. This watch, as being an Alpina 4, of course follows the rules of the concept of 4, as being antimagnetic, antishock, water resistant and resistant to stain. It is priced at 1,250 Swiss Francs (inc. taxes), and can be purchased online here.
The Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic GMT Business Timer
The second novelty of this year for the Alpiner 4 collection is based on an already known reference, the Alpiner 4 GMT (see it here), but adds an interesting function on its dial. Indeed, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic GMT Business Timer indicates the business opening hours. While the case is the same as the aforementioned automatic edition – same 44mm diameter, same satin-brushed surfaces with a polished bevel running on the side – the display is here different. The inner flange comprises a 24h scale, with a traditional (but always pleasant) “pepsi” look. However, while these pepsi scales are usually all blue and red, here you’ll have the blue area for the night hours (classical), a white area for the daytime and a secondary scale in red, from 9 to 17 for opening business hours – which can be very practical if you use this watch in a professional environment, to track a second time zone, where a client or a subsidiary company is based.
The rotating bezel is not carrying the same 60-minute scale as the Automatic version but instead is graduated from 0 to 36. Weird at first, it is actually a 360 degrees bezel. The functions of the watch are quite pleasant, with an hour hand that can be adjusted by one-hour increments (the central hour hand, which tracks the local time) and the GMT hand tracks the home time. The Alpina AL-550 “Jumping Hour” GMT movement shares the same as the automatic (26 jewels, 38h power reserve, 4Hz frequency). The Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic GMT Business Timer also fulfills the concept of 4, with 100m water resistance and resistance to magnetic fields up to 4,800 A/m. it will be available in 2 dial colors – white and black – for a price of 1,850 Swiss Francs (inc. taxes) – can be purchased online here.
Specifications of the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic and Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic GMT Business Timer
- Case: 44mm diameter – stainless steel, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal on front, plain caseback – 100m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre AL-525 (automatic) AL-550 (GMT), based on Sellita SW-200 – automatic winding – power reserve of 38 hours – hours, minutes, seconds, date (automatic) – hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT (automatic GMT)
- Strap: leather strap with red lining