Alpina Startimer Classic – Vintage Sells

For you regular readers out there you may recall we already wrote about the Alpina’s Startimer collection on several occasions (here and here). Recently Alpina announced a new addition to the Startimer collection, the Startimer Classic. For a collection of watches that already “oozes” vintage, this one is aimed for the true vintage diehards. Who could really blame Alpina, we are in a middle of a retro-craze. Old is once again cool and everybody is jumping onto the bandwagon. And why wouldn’t they. You don’t make money by going completely against the trends although an argument could be made for attempting to set the trends rather then merely follow them. However, in some instances the trends align nicely with your core values so you are nicely protected against the accusations of selling out.

This certainly is one of those cases if there ever was one. Alpina (originally founded in 1883) was once an official supplier of air force pilot watches (back in 1920’s and 30’s). How convenient :)  The brand was devastated during the quartz crisis and has only been revived relatively recently and has been on the upward path since then among other things producing their own movements in-house.

The Startimer Classic collection is comprised of two watches, the automatic chronograph and a three hand calendar version. The stainless steel  chrono version (Cal AL-860) pictured in the image above can be had with blackened or rose gold indexes. The design is dominated by the two chrono subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The watch showcases the retro-looking but more or less useless Telemeter indicies (bonus points for anyone out there that can give me an example of a practical use of a telemeter function on the watch for a regular person, and no you cannot use the lighting distance example everyone always defaults to).

Alpina Startimer Classic

Alpina Startimer Classic Three Hand Automatic with Date feature (Cal AL-525)

Your other option is a cleaner looking three hand automatic with a date calender at 3 o’clock (Cal AL-525). No frills, clean classic design with a slightly oversized crown is available in a stainless steel case and alse available with either black steel or rose gold indices. The sort of a “safe” design that won’t make anyone’s jaw drop but that will appeal to people already partial to this sort of clean and simple design.

All in all a nice example of a company exploiting its past in a current retro-loving market. However, with a company with the past such as theirs, I would personally like to see them apply themselves a little harder. For vintage pilot fans out there its not that difficult to produce a product they will go ga-ga over, but that shouldn’t abdicate you from at least attempting to push the boundaries a little.

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