At Baselworld a couple months ago I sat down with Alpina and was taken through their 2013 lineup. They presented an attractive collection, led by a couple of nice heritage pieces (i.e. modern day interpretations of historical pieces) that I will show you before long, as well as a nice variety of new models across three of their lifestyle-themed collections: Aviation, Diving and Sailing. The watches I want to comment on today are the new Startimer Pilot Chronograph Big Date models, part of the Alpina Aviation collection.
While some might (rightly) see that the design bears similarities to some in the IWC Pilot’s range, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph Big Date can be viewed as a much more affordable but equally attractive alternative to such pieces. As I have discussed before, Alpina generally positions itself at the entry-level of luxury watchmaking, and thus while many of you deep-pocketed Perpetuelle readers will find yourselves uninterested in these pieces (I guess now would be a good time to note that the movement is quartz), I recognize that not everyone out there has “IWC-money” to plunk down on their wrist style, and so I wanted to take a closer look at this watch in all its forms.
Several models of the Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph Big Date Watches are presented. The first three in the new range feature a 44mm stainless steel case with black dial and large white Superlumed numerals. Offered with a fabric “Cordura” strap with pin buckle in grey, green, or black. A bracelet is also offered but I find the Cordura strap best completes the look of this watch.
Another variation is a black PVD-finished steel case (also 44mm) with black cordura strap. I really like the integration of the big date window into the 6 o’clock subdial (on all models) — distinct but unobtrusive.
Next are a black PVD case with military green, 60-minute dial and a steel case with grey dial — both with beige colored luminous indices, on military green and military beige straps, respectively.
The green PVD model is vaguely reminiscent of the $12,700 IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar Chronograph (Ref 3880, ceramic+Ti case, automatic mech. manuf. caliber) but you can expect the Alpina to come in at more than $10,000 less. Which by comparison seems pretty good for what you get, right?
As I indicated above, the movement is quartz, with a robust 4-year battery life. Would a part of me like to have seen these Pilot’s watches with such a mechanical movement? Yes, yes I would. But I do still find these to be attractive watches for the money (and by the way, once I get firm details on pricing I’ll post an update), and on the plus side accuracy and maintenance should absolutely be non-issues.
Because Alpina is the official watch of the Cessna Aircraft Corporation, a Cessna Citation is engraved on the caseback. Not exactly a military plane but I understand the connection.
Overall, I do think Alpina did a good job with these Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph Big Date watches, they are an attractive set of Pilot’s watches that will be accessible to many. How about you? I’m always interested in reader feedback — let me know what you think, drop a comment below.