Alpina is celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2023. This very special year also marks the brand’s first time at Watches and Wonders. At the event, Alpina is honoring one of its showcase ranges, the Alpiner Extreme, by adding four models: two new versions of the Alpiner Extreme Automatic and two Alpiner Extreme Automatic Regulators, the latter being in a limited edition of just 888 pieces. The major new feature is the integrated steel bracelet on three of the models.
In 1883, Switzerland saw the birth of a watchmaking brand with an approach and specifications that ended up defining what would later be known as the ‘sports watch’: timepieces that were non-magnetic, waterproof, rustproof, and impact-resistant. The brand in question? Alpina.
In 2023, Alpina is celebrating its 140th anniversary, and kicking off a series of celebrations by being present for the first time at the Watches and Wonders watchmaking exhibition in Geneva. To honour this anniversary event, Alpina is adding four new models for thrill-seekers to its Alpiner Extreme range, relaunched last year.
Two of the pieces – each in a limited edition of 888 – are new versions of a rare complication, the atypical Automatic Regulator; Alpina is probably one of the last brands to still be making it. There are also two new versions of the Automatic, whose three central hands offer a more traditional reading of the time.
The advent of the integrated steel bracelet
In a first for the brand, three of these new Alpiner Extreme Automatic and Alpiner Extreme Automatic Regulator models now feature an integrated steel bracelet. Especially designed for the Alpiner Extreme line, the bracelet does away with the first link (which often forces a case to be wider). To ensure plenty of flexibility and comfort, Alpina has opted for transverse links and a wider, slimmer central link.
The bracelet is one of the most exposed parts of the watch, so the brand has given it a brushed finish here. This unusual choice is in fact the only way of dealing with any scratches caused by extreme conditions. The buckle, adopted only after a barrage of strength tests, remains exactly the same: it already used a deployment clasp on the rubber strap, and still does on the steel version. The timepiece offers an imposing presence whilst preserving plenty of elegance and comfort, its gentle curves fitting snugly on the wrist.
The sign of the triangle
Alpina has kept the Alpiner Extreme line’s iconic signature on the dial: a triangular motif that draws inspiration from the brand’s logo. The motif also features on the counterweight of the seconds hand on the Automatic version, recalling Alpina’s beloved snow-capped mountain peaks.
On both the regulator and three-hand versions, all the hour markers are applique and, like the hands, luminous. Only the date is present on the Alpiner Extreme Automatic (at 3 o’clock), whereas the Alpiner Extreme Automatic Regulator adopts a highly distinctive layout of three counters: the hours at 10 o’clock, the seconds at 6 o’clock, and a large central hand for the minutes. This unusual way of telling the time is in fact very simple and intuitive, with the trio of hours, minutes and seconds read off from left to right and from top to bottom.
Three versions with steel, one with rubber
The first Alpiner Extreme Automatic Regulator really has been designed around its new steel bracelet, which sets the overall tone of the piece. Here, it comes with a blue dial and grey sun-brushed counters. The shades are at once clear-cut and seamless, with the blue and grey going together as naturally as the sky above a sunlit Alpine peak.
The new steel bracelet takes even greater pride of place on the Alpiner Extreme Automatic: both models are fitted with it. On one, the dial’s grey colour is matched by the brushed grey of the bracelet, while the second version sports a navy-blue dial with a touch of the same blue on the crown grip.
The fourth and final model is the Alpiner Extreme Automatic Regulator on a rubber strap, with its two counters set on a black dial. This assertive, sporty design is also very easy to read, with silver hour markers and hands.
A family likeness
While each of the models has its own distinguishing features, they clearly have an extensive shared ancestry, too. The most obvious example is the robust steel case, very much the style signature of the Alpiner Extreme line. Refusing to be merely round or square, it comes in an atypical and imposing 41mm x 42.5mm cushion shape for which Alpina has chosen alternating polished and brushed matte finishes, true to the traditional Swiss Made look.
Positioned at 3 o’clock, the crown is well protected by two side lugs and fitted with a knurled rubber grip for perfect handling. Each crown is screwed down, too, ensuring the piece is water-resistant to 200 metres.
All the models are equipped with an automatic movement visible through an open caseback. The three-hand models use the AL-525 caliber (28,800 vph), while the Regulator models feature the AL-650 caliber (also 28,800 vph). Each boasts a power reserve of 38 hours – more than enough with which to set off for the mountain-tops.