Alpina Worldtimer Manufacture (Ref AL-718B4S6)

I guess you can call it “world timer” week here at Perpetuelle because fresh off yesterday’s Girard-Perregaux’s new ww.tc “Dark Knight” watch and Patek Philippe’s 5131J Geneva-dial world timer on Sunday, I have for you a spectacular new worldtimer from Geneva-based Alpina — with a manufacture (in-house) movement nonetheless!  I have never been a big fan of the “world time” watch, but I must say that if you like this style of watch you will definitely want to give this new Alpina Worldtimer manufacture a look.  I say this because as of today this watch is perhaps the best valued worldtimer watch that money can buy.  You see, until now world time watches are exclusively the domain of the elite brands and basically untouchable for under $10,000 — more often a multiple of this amount.  This Alpina Worldtimer is priced at$3,450.

This is not to say the watch is perfect, because I do have a few quibbles, which I discuss further below.  But no doubt this is a very attractive watch and Alpina is rightly proud of the outcome including the modestly decorated manufacture movement which is highlighted through a sapphire crystal display back (see close up below).  Bottom line is that for under $10,000 you can not come anywhere close to putting a Swiss manufacture worldtimer on your wrist — until now.  Well done, Alpina.  Read on for photos and my further thoughts and analysis of the new Alpina Worldtimer manufacture.

More Manufacture “World Time” Watches by Perpetuelle >>>  Jaeger-LeCoultre (Amvox 5 World Chronograph), Zenith Pilot Doublematic WorldTime,Girard-Perregaux ww.tc Worldtimer “John Harrison”, Patek Philip Ref 2523 Worldtime  Glashutte Original Senator Navigator Worldview, Breguet 5717 Hora Mundi, Breitling Transocean Chronograph Unitime, IWC Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer (Ref. 3262), Vacheron Constantin Patrimony World Timer

Update:  As an informed reader pointed out in the comments, another worthy choice in the $3,000-range is the Ball Master II EMII World Time, a watch I wrote about in 2010 — I specifically did not mention this watch in my original post because the movement is not manufacture but a modified ETA 2836.

Alpina Worldtimer Manufacture (Ref AL-718B4S6)

Limited Edition of 8888pcs (sorry Alpina but 8,888 pieces is not “limited edition”)

44mm Brushed and polished stainless steel case, automatic mechanical AL-718 Manufacture caliber (date, worldtimer adjustable via crown), black croc strap with stainless steel folding buckle; delivered in a special giftbox with a Cessna plane

Alpina’s Worldtimer features a rotating ring with the names of 24  cities inscribed on it. A second rotating ring has 24-hour markers. This is used to display time in different time zones. Local time is shown by a standard hour and minute hand.  The sub-dial at 6 o’clock is a date counter — I might have preferred this to be just a small window/aperture in order to give the dial a cleaner look.

The world time system works this way. First, the local city is set at the top by changing the disc via the crown. For example, Genève is set on top. It means that the hour and minutes hands are representing the time in Genève.  From the outer dial, the wearer can check the times in different time zones.  Under the label New York, the number displayed is 4, meaning that it is 4:07  a.m. in New York. Under the name Hong Kong, you see the number 17, meaning that it is 17:07 hours, or 5:07 p.m., in Hong Kong.  Time around the world at a glance!

As I alluded to above — there is one thing I absolutely do not like about this watch:  the hour and minute hands are far too long.  Compare the hands on this watch to some of the other worldtimers (such as those I listed above) and you will see what I mean.  This is an easy fix for Alpina, and I hope they will revisit the hand length.

The movement here is Alpina’s manufacture caliber AL-718.  Having not seen the watch in person I can not speak directly to the technical merits or reliability of the movement, but suffice to say that Alpina has no incentive to launch anything but a product it is very proud of and they clearly are given that the beautiful movement is fully visible behind the sapphire caseback.  Note the decoration which really adds to the attractiveness:

 In summary, I will say again that this is now the arguably the best valued Swiss (or German) manufacture world time watch on the market today, and an overall well designed and crafted piece from Alpina as I have now come to expect from the brand.

Editor’s Note:  Alpina is an advertiser on Perpetuelle as of the date of this posting.

  • Time2watch

    What about the Ball Master Ii WorldWide Diver? The only world Time watch with day / date, WR to 300m and is hub 3000$ retail.

    thoughts?

    • http://www.perpetuelle.com/ Perpetuelle

      Hi @8284514cfb4d24f3f8f81fe22a0798a0:disqus  My assessment was focused on world time watches with manufacture (in-house) movement, but this said, the Ball Master EMII world Time with modified ETA 2836 
      is a worthy choice at a $3k price point  —  it is a well spec’d watch, as you note.  I wrote about this watch in March 2010 — 
      http://blog.perpetuelle.com/dive-watches/ball-emii-diver-world-time-dg-2022a-sa-bk/ 

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  • r_s_g

    He said best valued MANUFACTURE world time watch. The Ball uses an ETA movement. 

    The GP WW.TC is easily available on the gray market for well under $10K. Zenith also has a pilot style worldtimer coming out–the cost could be under $10K.

    I like this Aplina but it sort of looks like an IWC knock-off. It looks an awful lot like the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer.

    • http://www.perpetuelle.com/ Perpetuelle

      Hi @r_s_g:disqus Agree that some of these watches can now be had gray market for sub-$10k.  You also make a good point that the Alpina is IWC-esque, particularly the new Pilot’s watch worldtimer (
      http://blog.perpetuelle.com/sihh/sihh-2012-iwc-pilots-watch-worldtimer-ref-3262/).  However the date execution is different (sub-dial on the Alpina vs. a tri-date aperture on IWC –I’m not a huge fan of either!), and the hands on the IWC are much more appropriately sized IMHO. 

      Thanks for the comment!
      Kyle, Editor

  • Bmoc

    I disagree with your opinion that the hour and minute hands are too long. They are perfectly sized. If you look at the other worldtimers, you will see that the hands on those watches are too short for the dial.