Fly Boy Friday is a series that looks at pilot and aviation watches. After previously featuring some of the world’s finest pilot watches from brands such as IWC, Bell & Ross, Zenith and Longines, as well as bringing you a selection of some of the most affordable pilot watches around, this week it is the turn of Swiss watchmaker Alpina to appear on the Fly Boy Friday radar.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930’s, Geneva based watch brand Alpina became well known for manufacturing watches specially made for military pilots. The watches were popular as they were not only incredibly accurate, they were also strong, durable and offered excellent resistance to shock and air pressure.
The earliest Alpina pilot watches were all made using the same three technical characteristics: a strong anti-reflective crystal glass, a large dial with luminous numerals, markers and hands for improved readability and an anti-magnetic escapement.
In 2011, Alpina re-issued a number of its pilot’s watches paying homage to some of their original pilot and aviation timepieces. Launched at Baselworld, the new line of watches, known as the Startimer Pilot collection, was featured in a joint marketing campaign with Cessna Aircraft and PrivatAir, which saw each Alpina Startimer Pilot watch packaged with a scale model of a Cessna Citation Mustang. The four variations of the Startimer Pilot are each limited to 8,888 pieces. Some of the other aviation watches produced by Alpina include the Startimer Classics range, as well as the limited edition Pilot Heritage.
Alpina Startimer Classics Automatic
Taken from the Startimer Classics range, this automatic pilot’s watch (model no AL-525SCR4S6) features an AL-525 calibre movement, which is known for being extremely accurate. The movement beats at a steady 28,800vph and includes 26 jewels and a power reserve of 38 hours.
The rose gold hands, hour markers and numerals stand out against the silver brushed dial, which also features a date window at 3 o’clock. The case is made from stainless steel and measures 44mm diameter with a thickness of almost 11mm. An excellent choice at £880.00
Alpina Startimer Classics Chronograph
This Startimer Chronograph (AL-860SCP4S6) features an AL 860 calibre automatic movement which is based on the Sellita SW500 chrono movement and includes a 46 hour power reserve. With a big emphasis on readability, the watch includes black numerals and luminescent coated hands set against a silver dial. At the position of 3 o’clock sits a small seconds sub dial with a chronograph sub dial at 9 o’clock. The outer ring of the dial displays the telemeter scale. The 44mm stainless steel case has a thickness of 14.7mm. From approximately £2,000.00
Alpina Startimer Pilot
The Alpina Startimer Pilot was one of the models relaunched in 2010. The watch is available with a black leather strap or metal bracelet (ref AL-525B4S6B) as shown above. Simple but very stylish, readability is again the name of the game with this watch as the matte black dial works to highlight the white luminous indexes perfectly.
Driven by the AL-525 calibre the stainless steel case includes a sapphire crystal and has a diameter of 40mm and is 10.25mm thick. From approximately £1,000.00
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Rose Gold
This is the rose gold version of the Startimer Pilot (ref AL-710B4S9), which features an AL-710 calibre movement that provides a 42 hour power reserve. We’ll call it rose gold for now as the 44mm diameter case is actually made from stainless steel, with the bezel crafted from 18k rose gold. The watch displays hours, minutes and seconds, with a small date dial found at 6 o’clock.
Alpina’s Worldtimer watch (AL-718B4S6) features the names of 24 cities inscribed on a rotating ring upon the outside of the dial. A second outer ring includes 24 hour markers which are used to display the time across different time zones, with the local time shown using the regular hour and minute hand.
The watch is powered by mechanical automatic AL-718 calibre movement which is decorated with 26 jewels and features a power reserve of two days. Water resistant up to 10ATM, the Worldtimer also includes a brushed and polished stainless steel case that measures 44mm in diameter and is complete with a convex sapphire crystal and see through case back.
Alpina Pilot Heritage
Launched in 2013, the Alpina Pilot Heritage (ref AL-435B4SH6) watch pays tribute to the brand’s classic pilot timepieces from a bygone era. Limited to 1883 pieces, the watch includes a hand wound AL-435 calibre movement that provides 42 hours of power reserve and is decorated with the Cotes de Geneve motif.
Displaying hours, minutes and seconds via the sub dial at 6 o’clock, the Pilot Heritage features a 50mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal and transparent caseback.
The watch is then finished by a brown calfskin strap complete with ivory top stitching and safety buckle. £1,340.00