Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Perhaps best known for their Seastrong diver’s collection and their Startimer pilot’s watches, Alpina have, in recent years, branched out by producing their own manufacture calibers as well as their first smartwatch. However, Alpina’s core strength remains their ability to produce high-quality casual and sports watches at far more accessible prices than many of their larger Swiss relatives. We’ve covered Alpina’s outgoing Startimer pilot’s watch collection before right here, and earlier this year Alpina released an updated Startimer collection, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Al-5 25 watch, a 44 mm tool watch that we go hands-on with here.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Taking even a brief look at the Startimer Automatic, it’s clear to see that Alpina are tipping their hats to some of the great military and pilot’s watches of the past. On the dial, oversized applied luminous numbers for hour markers alternate with big rectangular luminous indices at twelve, three, six, and nine which all sit inside of a printed ring graduated at one-minute intervals and labeled in five-minute increments. Taken together, the dial parts very purposefully provide the aviation instrument feel. The dial itself, and indeed the watch, are available in four distinct variations; black, white, white with gold accents, and a sort of dark gray. A red triangle, an Alpina signature, sits prominently at the top marking the sixty/ zero minutes position.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

The luminous hands are a slim, curved sword style with a stick seconds hand which once again features the red Alpina triangle, this time as a counterweight. Dial printing of the Alpina logo and signature is large, though given the 44 mm case and ample dial real estate, it is not overpowering. Other than that, the dial is marked with” Automatic 100 M-3 30 FT” and “Swiss Made” in its traditional six o’clock locating. Overall, the dial is effective and attractive. One of the key elements of any pilot’s watch is instant legibility and the Startimer Automatic has that in spades devoted its clear and clean layout. Some may take offense at the repetition of Alpina’s triangle which appears no less than three times in the dial and hands but, quite frankly, that is simply how Alpina rolls and you consider their logo everywhere in their collection. The inclusion of an anti-reflective sapphire crystal ensures unfettered viewing of the dial despite variable lighting conditions.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Moving to the lawsuit, which is 44 mm by 10.7 mm in size with a brushed finish and an extremely minimal utilitarian design, we insure again how Alpina are paying homage to important pilot’s watches of times long past. Absent are any intricacies in alternating finish or complicated suit shapes or bevels. The tool watch feel is evident here and devotes the watch a no nonsense aesthetic which plays into the pilot’s watch notion. A simple but neatly engraved case back adds to the utilitarian idea. A minor issue for me is the use of example plating on two of the four variations of the Startimer Pilot Automatic. While I understand the drive to produce a “gold” and a “titanium” version, I think the idea of suit plating is a little distasteful for some who know this plating can easily wear off with use, especially on a tool watch.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

In addition, the Alpina Startimer Automatic’s width of 44mm at a relatively thin 10.7 mm could be a challenge for those with smaller or rounder wrists though I understand why the watch is a bit big as size is another important aspect of a pilot’s watch. Consider the popular IWC Big Pilot at a whopping 46.2 mm or a real vintage military pilot’s watch such as the Laco B-Uhr at a now unwearable 55 mm( designed to be worn over a flight-suit) and the Alpina begins to look like a more reasonably sized alternative with just enough heft to let you know it was designed with aviation heritage in mind.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

When you’re talking about a fully featured Swiss constructed watch at a price point like that of the Startimer Automatic, you expect to end up with a somewhat less impressive movement to provide some savings but in this case, the Alpina AL-5 25 caliber gets the job done. Although it’s essentially a base grade ETA 2824 -2 with an Alpina rotor, the 38 -hour power reserve AL-5 25 is exactly the right kind of movement for the spirit of this watch and enables the extremely approachable cost of entry. When you get right down to it, a pilot’s watch requires little more than an accurate and robust movement and the ETA 2824 -2 has had that exact reputation for decades. Servicing is also easy with such a ubiquitous caliber and any capable watchmaker should be able to keep it in shape. One thing I want to mention that I really like is the large crown, which is a nice tapered design.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Frankly, I can’t argue with what Alpina has done with the Startimer Pilot Automatic. Sure, there are more impressive watches with aviation styling but not many come close when you take into account the listing of features on the Alpina. You’re get a reliable Swiss movement in a Swiss constructed package with a tastefully done pilot treatment for a price of around $1,000, which is a sweet spot for many collectors and general buyers alike. In a watch world of ever increasing options, with micro brands nipping at the heels of major players, Alpina have survived and thriven by creating value propositions like the Startimer Pilot Automatic. Alpina have mastered the art of taking some of the higher aim design ideas of larger brands, sending them through the Alpina mixer, and releasing them at costs regular people can actually afford. Despite my minor issues, for me, it’s a concept which really takes off.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Keeping the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic faithfully attached to your flight-suit, or in most cases, your wrist, is a heavy black leather strap with contrasting white stitching, which is the same no matter which of the four versions you select. No word of a bracelet has been yet announced. As previously mentioned, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic AL-5 25 is available in four variations; stainless steel with a black dial, stainless steel with a white dial, a polarizing rose gold plated version with a white dial, and a” titanium colored” version with a dark grey dial. The two steel versions will retail for $995 while the rose gold plated and titanium versions will come in at $1,295 and $1,050 respectively. alpinawatches.com