Alpina describe their ethos as a mission – a mission to combine sporty design with technical ambition and transform these ideals into reliable watches to withstand all kinds of extreme natural environments. Whatever the hurdle, hindrance or deterrent – Alpina will overcome it by refining their acquired and knowledgeable techniques to produce ever more capable timepieces each time around.
Last month at the Baselword 2015 annual event,we were shown the Alpina 4 Flyback Chronograph watch with an entirely new manufactured calibre. This may seem a common occurrence for those watch enthusiasts that see a plethora of new models released each year by multiple high tech Swiss grounded manufacturers, however this is a milestone for Alpina. Having spent an eventful history of 132 years in watch manufacturing, the brand is still challenging themselves on becoming bigger and better with each new innovation. They remain focussed on their direction within the watch industry, which is to become the best as what they specialise in – value for money in accurate timekeeping instruments that are specifically engineered to achieve high levels of capability. Furthermore the advantage of claiming their own chronograph, built and developed in-house is another notch to their belt and an impressive target to meet. The movement is powerful and comprises of 233 individual components, however only 96 are required for the flyback module. Alpina strongly believe that the execution of the movement does not fall short of quality or efficiency, as their work ethics are firmly believed to support the hypothesis that “Perfection is attained, not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.” – a wise saying from Antoine de Saint Exupery, the French poet, writer and aristocrat. It is only through hands-on experience with the watch for the first time that one is really given the opportunity to appreciate the relationship between all working components of the timepiece through and through; more to the point how the collective brotherhoods of those elements opperate in perfect unison with eachother to create a flawless working environment. Actuating the push piece situated just above the single crown, clearly demonstrates a certain measure of refinement through such a complex performance of craftsmanship noteworthy of Alpina’s accomplished watch makers themselves. The gearing, the under-dial work and the clutch all work in an established synergy, allowing the chronograph to stop as instantly as the push-piece is compressed providing maximum legibility. The calibre AL-760 is also equipped with a split-seconds function – a concept invented to make life easier for the pilot whilst airbound. In this particular case, the Alpina movement performs 3 functions in one; the disengaging of the clutch, followed by the resetting of the chronograph to “0” position, and finally engagement of the clutch once more. If we take a closer look at the movement itself we can see that it takes on a slightly different layout than what would naturally be expected of a typical column wheel chronograph mechanism. The Alpina 4 Flyback construction takes the form of a star shaped central column controlling the start/stop reset functions. Overall the control lever works in exactly the same way as you would expect a classic column wheel to perform, minus the discreet nature of a conventional arrangement.
Not only does the Alpina 4 Flyback distribute a butter smooth operation in the form of an ergonomic framework but the timepiece is also characteristic of Alpina’s familiar sporty aesthetic. The 4 in the watch’s title, similar to other models within the same line, denotes four qualities found within the timepiece; water resistant to 10atm, antimagnetic, Incabloc shock protection and anti-rusting protection. The silver dial emphasises clarity between the beautifully sculpted chronograph sub-dial chapter rings and sharp Super-Luminova hands. Alpina have certainly moved with the times to benefit their customers with technical advances capable of matching the demands within the sporting and watchmaking industry collective.