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Alpina is a company that dates back to 1883. Their beginning stages
consisted of the purchasing of parts and the assembly of movements.
18 years later, Alpina moved on to establish their brand and not only
build, but also manufacture high-end movements. Alpina may be a brand
you are not familiar with but the history is there, uninterrupted, for
nearly 129 years. To this day, Alpina not only continues to assemble
and modify ETA and Sellita based movements (keeping the price very
competitive), but also manufacture in house calibers that are
extremely high quality with out being too expensive.

The brand today is probably most recognized for their Extreme
Avalanche series
, especially the Extreme Avalanche Regulator. While
this piece was a much more modern design, Alpina has been producing
beautiful regulators since the early 1900's. The pieces I am
discussing today are a tribute to a vintage watch as well... The
Alpina Startimer.

In the 20's and 30's Alpina had manufactured military type watches for
pilot's that possessed the shock resistance, anti-magnetism, and
legibility that was necessary for the pilots. This year, Alpina
introduced their new Startimer Classic as a tribute to the originals.


AL-525SC4S6-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The first model of Alpina Statimer Classic (AL-525SC4S6) is their ETA
based AL-525 caliber, three hand with date. The design is vintage
with a 44mm case giving it a more modern look. The dial is silver
with large applied arabic numerals. The numerals give the dial great
depth and most importantly, making it incredibly easy to read. The
large crown is also a nice touch making it incredibly easy to unscrew
and operate. This is definitely something I have taken for granted in
the past. Once you have a beautiful 44mm watch with a tiny crown, I'm
sure you will understand.


AL-525SC4S6-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

I have a lot of experience with the AL-525 caliber. I've owned one
for about 5 years in my Avalanche Extreme Automatic. The movement is
gorgeous to look at, but also a workhorse. In the time I've owned
mine, it is within a few sec a day without ever being serviced. This
was far above my expectation, but not a surprise as Alpina tests all
their pieces in 5 different positions and thoroughly inspects every
piece before they leave the factory. Needless to say, I have been
very happy with mine.


AL-525SC4S6-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-9 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-525SC4S6-10 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The Classic versions all come on leather straps with a very nice
fold-over pull apart clasp and retail for $995 for either variation.


AL-525SC4S6-11 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

This next piece is one of my favorites... The AL-860 Startimer Classic
Telemeter Chronograph (AL-860SCP4S6)
.


AL-860SCP4S6-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Telemeters are used to measure distance utilizing sight and sound.
For Alpina (during WWII) this function was used to measure the
distance of bombs that were dropped. Basically it would work by
starting the chronograph as you would see the bomb make contact, and
then stop once the noise from the bomb has silenced. This function is
also handy for measuring the distance of lightning, starting once you
see the lightning bolt and stopping once the thunder has cleared. The
distance can easily be read on the dial, indicating the distance in
kilometers wherever the chrono second hand has stopped.


AL-860SCP4S6-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

While this function doesn't have much use to most people, it is still
a very interesting feature that gives the dial a lot of life and
character. The raised numerals are also very nice on this piece, even
though there are fewer of them in comparison to the other models in
the collection.


AL-860SCP4S6-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCP4S6-9 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Also equipped with the AL-860 movement is their Startimer Classic
Chronograph (AL-860SCR4S6)
. This variation is without the Telemeter
function, but using the same exact movement. There is an obvious
difference in that the strap is brown and the applied numerals are
rose gold, as opposed to the steel.


AL-860SCR4S6-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

This variation is great for someone who likes rose gold, but wants to
wear something more neutral. While rose gold is very beautiful, it
doesn't always go with everything. Using the stainless steel case
makes this piece more accessible to everyday wear. This has certainly
been one of our most requested items since its debut in Basel. They
have just started to deliver to the US with both rose gold and
stainless steel numerals.


AL-860SCR4S6-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The AL-860 movement is a Sellita SW500 base modified and decorated in
Alpina's Geneva factory. The Sellita SW500 is the answer to the
infamous Valjoux 7750 chronograph, that everyone knows and loves. The
nice thing about Sellita is that they are not a part of Swatch Group
(who has been threatening for years to take away ETA movements from
non-Swatch companies) and also a lesser price point with equal
quality. This keeps the price of this chrono very reasonable at
$2,450 for any of the 3 variations.


AL-860SCR4S6-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-860SCR4S6-9 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The 4th and final installment is the Alpina Startimer Pilot Limited
Edition in 18kt rose gold with the in-house manufacture AL-710
movement. To be clear, the Startimer Pilot series consist of 4
watches using all of the above mentioned movements and 2 variations of
in-house calibers (the other being a Regulator) in 5 styles. All
other models are in stainless steel only and range anywhere from
$1,150 (AL-525) - $2,795 (AL-860) retail. All stainless steel
Startimer Classics come limited to 8,888 pieces and include a Cessna
Citation Mustang private jet scale model.

The 18kt version I have pictured today is limited to 888 pieces (and
come with the model jet). There are very few of this variation coming
to the US, so I figured it would be a nice way to introduce the
series.


AL-710BARG-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-710BARG-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-710BARG-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The AL-710 caliber is decorated to every last degree and also
meticulously tested for accuracy in extreme temperatures to insure the
finest quality. Most importantly, the design and developing for this
movement is done completely in-house. This is nothing unusual to see
in itself, but one of my favorite aspects of Alpina is that they can
do it reasonably. They have a huge variety of in-house manufactured
movements for $2,000 - $3,000, where most manufactures easily charge
$5,000 for a simple 3 hand/date. I've even seen an ETA based with the
same function for $10,000! That just doesn't make sense to me, but to
each their own.


AL-710BARG-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Basically, what you have in the AL-710 is the simple three hand
display, with a date wheel at 6 o'clock, manufactured in house for
$2,195 in steel. The 18kt, of course, is the exception to reasonable,
at $10,900 (but still not too bad for in-house with 18kt gold). The
AL-710's have 28,800 bph with a Glucydur balance wheel, Nivarox
springs, Côtes de Genève on every visible part, blue screws and a
trademark PVD Geneva Striped Alpina rotors. They truly do a beautiful
job and performance has been outstanding.


AL-710BARG-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-710BARG-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


AL-710BARG-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Feel free to check out more Alpina's on AZ Fine Time...
AZFTAlpina.jpg

Finally.... We will be hosting an Alpina and Frederique Constant Trunk
Show here in our Scottsdale location on December 16th from 3-7pm. If
you are in the area, please come by and visit us and Alpina/FC sales
rep Amy. She's a pleasure to talk to and will be bringing in some
very special items from both brands for everyone to see 1st hand. We
are also going to be hosting a cigar party with 2 of the top
manufactures in the Cigar Industry, Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley Cigar
and Jonathan Drew of Drew Estates. We will have local award winning
chef Darryl King catering the event with some great free eats as well
as free drinks and even a complimentary cigar for attending. On top
of that you get to see and try on some very cool watches!

Click here for a map...
AL-FCtrunkshow.jpg

As always, thank you to everyone on the forum for all your support and
please let me know if I can ever be any help. That's what I'm here
for.

Happy Holidays!

Joe
 

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Very nice, I like them all, especially with the raised numbers! Sounds like a pretty good deal on the basic classic also.
 
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