As a lot of you probably know, two of our team members are Dutch. Our little nation is actually comparable to Switzerland in land mass, but not when it comes to watchmaking culture – obviously. That is why we tend to get somewhat excited – and simultaneously a little critical – when new projects emerge with Dutch origins. The latest newcomer to the watchmaking game is Reiser Watches, soon launching its first collection: the Reiser Alpen Date.
Reiser Watches is a new startup watch company and is launched by Hicham Biktat, a 33-year-old Dutchman. Starting as a businessman at 18, he found himself at a crossroads when he became a new dad. In 2019 his son was born, and despite being a successful entrepreneur, this pushed him into another direction altogether. From that moment onward, Hicham knew he wanted to create a legacy for his newborn son.
While the destination was the creation of his own watch brand, the route to that destination was unpaved. Learning everything he could about watches from scratch, he devoted his time to find out how to start a watch business, design a watch, have a prototype manufactured and eventually fine-tuned and assembled into a finished product. Now, some two years after taking the first steps in this direction, Reiser Watches is ready to launch the first collection, the Alpen Date.
The Reiser Alpen Date is designed by Hicham himself, as is the concept behind the brand. Taking inspiration from various illustrious names in the industry, including J.C. Biver, Hicham aims at paying tribute and inspiring the next generation of watch enthusiasts and future collectors. The inspiration of the brand can be linked to the Rhine river. The Rhine river sprouts in the Swiss Alps and has several sections. The Alpine and High Rhine run through Switzerland before crossing the border into Germany, becoming the Upper, Middle and Lower Rhine. It enters the Netherlands in Spijk, close to the brand’s headquarter in Elst, near Nijmegen. Joining the river Maas and Schelde (Meuse and Scheldt in English) rivers, it is part of the largest river delta in Europe. It also happens to pass through the German town of Pforzheim, which is relevant to Reiser Watches (we’ll explain later).
Now that we’ve established the symbolism of the name “Alpen”, we can look at the watch. The Reiser Alpen Date joins the crowded segment of steel sports watches with an integrated bracelet, a genre that we get to cover regularly these days, with more and more entries from established and newborn brands. A total of four different models will become available, three in steel and one in gold PVD. All of them are equipped with a steel integrated bracelet, which can be swapped for a leather strap.
The design for the Reiser Alpen Date can be described as a blend of other, mostly iconic and MUCH more expensive watches in the segment. There are elements of the Patek Phillipe Nautilus and even the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. What Hicham has attempted to do is take the best elements that define a proper steel sports watch and combine them into something fresh and new at a very competitive price. The design is apparently patented at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
And it looks good. The 41mm wide steel case is 11.45mm in height, making it a suitable watch for most wrists. The case is finished with polished chamfers and brushed surfaces throughout. The bezel is shaped and follows the profile of the case closely. When looking at the watch head-on, you can notice the slight change in curvature and width of the polished edge of the bezel. The Alpen Date has a flat sapphire crystal with AR-coating and a see-through caseback.
The dial for the Alpen Date comes in three colours: green, blue and black, with the latter coming in either a steel or gold PVD case and bracelet. The dial is stamped with a geometric pattern, and a glossy finish and a matte dial ring. Applied hour markers, filled with Super-LumiNova, are placed every hour, with a double one at 12 o’clock. The large hour and minute hands are faceted and filled with luminous material as well. At 3 o’clock, there’s a date window, the disc being white with black numerals on all models.
The movement selected for the Reiser Alpen Date is a Seiko NH35A automatic calibre. It has been upgraded, visually at least, with a custom-made rose gold-coated rotor decorated with Côtes de Genève and the brand’s logo. It runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3Hz) and has 41 hours of power reserve. It is a movement that is regularly found in more affordable watches, often employed by micro-brands.
As mentioned, all Reiser Alpen Dates come on a steel H-link bracelet with a folding clasp. The bracelet is attached to the case with a centre link and can be swapped for a more formal leather strap, matching the dial colour (the gold PVD being the exception with a brown strap). These taper from 25mm wide at the case to18mm at the folding clasp.
Assembly of the watches will start at the end of April and will be done by a family-owned watchmaking company in Pforzheim, hence the “Made in Germany” stamp on the dial. It will be available for orders from the 10th of May, with delivery scheduled for late May, early June. Prices for the three steel versions will be EUR 499 for the leather strap and EUR 529 for the steel bracelet. The gold-coloured model is priced a little higher, at EUR 539 or EUR 559.
More information and orders at ReiserWatches.com.