Introducing – Alpina KM-710, inspired by WWII German Kriegsmarine wristwatches (specs & price)
Like many other Swiss brands, Alpina delivered watches to military forces during Second World War. For example, in addition to high-precision sea chronometers and navigators’ watches, stop-watches and wall clocks, the Kriegsmarine (the German Navy) also needed service watches with clearly legible dials and hands, delivered to officers and ordinary ranks, who required more precise coordination on timing. This led to the creation of the Alpina “KM” Watches, which is the inspiration for today’s revival, the new Alpina KM-710, a nice vintage- and military-inspired sports-watch, with interesting in-house movement.
The new Alpina KM-710 (right), next to an antique WWII Alpina KM-593 Kriegsmarine wristwatch (left)
Antique WWII Alpina KM (for Kriegsmarine) watches were small (from 32mm to 35mm) but highly legible and reliable timepieces. They featured a white dial with contrasting Arabic numerals and distinctive railroad minute track, as well as a small second sub-dial. The hands were typical of the WWII military watches, with large baton shape, filled with radium luminous material – and so were the hour indexes. These watches were named Alpina KM-586 or KM-592, depending on the type of calibre ticking into their cases – both movements were hand-wound / small second types. This watches, well known from collectors, is the inspiration of today’s revival watch, the Alpina KM-710, using the same kind of nomenclature, as a reference to the calibre fitted.
Without being a proper re-edition, this new Alpina KM-710 uses many of the codes of the antique Alpina military watches. This is especially visible on the dial. On a silvery-white background runs large black baton hands filed with faux-patina luminous paint. A bold railroad track, large black Arabic numerals and indexes mimicking the antique Kriegsmarine watches completes the military / vintage look. The layout is also rather close but one main evolution can be noticed: instead of a small second layout, the new Alpina KM-710 features a central second hand and a subsidiary dial with date, intelligently recreating the look of the vintage watch – this is due of course to the use of a modern, in-house movement.
Just like evoked by its name, the Alpina KM-710 features the manufacture 710 movement. This movement, shared with Frederique Constant (both brands are owned by the same group), delivers 42 hours of power reserve and ticks at a modern frequency of 4Hz. Its finish is pleasant, with Geneva stripes, circular graining, beveled bridges and blued screws. The main feature remains the triangular-shaped rotor which is inspired by the pendulum rotor used in the Calibre 582 introduced in 1949. This movement is large (30.5mm) and comfortably fills the case.
As a modern re-issue of a military watch, the Alpina KM-710 has a much larger case, at 41.5mm, made out of brushed stainless steel, with several nicely executed polished accents, like the bezel or a chamfer on the lugs. The overall look remains sporty and military-oriented, with a contemporary touch. The Alpina KM-710 will be priced at 2,495 Euros (with EU taxes) or 2,790 Swiss Francs.
Specifications of the Alpina KM-710
- Case: 41.5mm diameter – stainless steel – sapphire crystal on front and back – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre Alpina 710 – Automatic – 42h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and seconds on the central axis, date at 6
- Strap: black calfskin leather with steel pin-buckle
- Ref. AL-710KMV4E6 – Price: 2,495 Euros / 2,790 Swiss Francs
I remain baffled by many brands ability to glorify the WW2 German military. IWC is very much in that club, too. Maybe it plays well in the Middle East market?