For 2022, Alpina is giving its Startimer collection, designed for aviation enthusiasts, a complete overhaul, taking it back to its origins with a new design inspired by the pilot watches created by the brand at the beginning of the last century. A new case, new bezel, new hands and a brand new 41mm diameter. Two versions in this collection are already bearing this new fuselage, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic and the Startimer Quartz Chronograph Big Date. With three new models each, they feature a blue, black or green dial, a steel or black PVD-coated case, and finally a steel or top-stitched calfskin leather bracelet.
Pioneer in aviation
Whether it is a matter of reaching a summit to determine a change of direction, fuel consumption or reaching a turning point, or simply calculating the duration of a flight, the watch and the aviator have always been intimately linked.
Founded in 1883, Alpina was present during aviation’s pioneering days, and has become a benchmark for professional pilots’ watches. Over the first half of the last century, Alpina was the official supplier of military aviation watches to air forces on the continent. These instruments had to meet strict requirements, they had to be extremely precise and offer the ultimate shock-resistance. Furthermore, Alpina pilot watches were mostly equipped with an anti-magnetic case, and high-contrast dials with luminous hands and numerals for instant legibility.
A new case reminiscent of the design of the era
In 2022, Alpina returns to the original design of its aviation watches, and gives its Startimer collection a new 41mm case, the carefully considered ergonomics of which resemble the brand’s first military timepieces. This size offers the perfect compromise between the more generous size of 44mm, and the 40mm version (which remains in the collection).
A new bezel has also been designed to accompany this new case, with its typical notched profile, symbolic of the period. It was designed in the early days of aviation, to make it easier to grip with gloves on. The famous Alpina red triangle is engraved at 12 o’clock, facing the twelve-hour index marker which also adopts the same geometry.
The crown, also especially designed to revisit the original aviation styles, is positioned at 3 o’clock and displays a fluted “onion” profile, of a more discreet size. Screwed down, it ensures that the case is perfectly waterproof, guaranteed to 100 metres.
Finally on the back we see the traditional engraving that accompanies all Startimer pieces. This one features an aeroplane about to fly over a mountain, accompanied by the vintage version of the Alpina logo, as it was at the time.
The return of cathedral hands
The hands have also been revised. Initially a leaf shape, they have regained their cathedral inspiration with this larger body filled with luminous material, ending with a finer tip that enables the index markers to be read more precisely. The seconds hand has been refined and preserves the identity of all Alpina timepieces: a triangular counterweight, the emblem of the brand.
These hands point to Arabic numerals in a smaller font, which contributes to clearer and sharper legibility, in conjunction with a more open 41mm dial. The minutes hand has a “railway track” look, similar to a railway line encircling the dial, with the five-minute intervals distinguished by a luminous marker opposite each index marker – on the Startimer Pilot Automatic model, this is accompanied by Arabic numerals every five minutes.
Startimer Pilot Automatic: elegance in flight
For this occasion, the Startimer Pilot Automatic has a new date window at 6 o’clock, unlike the previous version where it featured at 3 o’clock. Hours, minutes, seconds and the date are powered by the FC-525 automatic movement, thus continuing the tradition of pilots’ watches. With its understated, sporty and elegant aesthetic, the new lines come in three variations.
The first, with a black dial, is designed entirely in steel: case, bezel and three-link bracelet, alternating between polished and satin-finish surfaces. The hands as well as the white-coloured index markers encourage perfect legibility, with a modern and functional aesthetic for a piece designed for an everyday lifestyle.
The second version with a black dial and a steel case opts for a raw-touch black calfskin leather strap, adorned with top-stitching in a similar tone to the index markers – a vintage off-white reminiscent of the heritage this version is inspired by.
The third version flaunts a trendy blue dial, combined with a steel case, all set on a brown calfskin leather strap with off-white topstitching. The final detail that will be appreciated by collectors: this vintage strap is trimmed in red, the same colour as the Alpina logo on the counterweight of the central seconds hand.