Inspired by the design of the Alpnach-based Swiss Air Force Eurocopter AS532 Cougar helicopters, the new Victorinox Swiss Army Alpnach Power Gauge (ref. 241382) automatic chronograph aviation watch features a unique-looking four-blade small seconds indicator resembling the 4-blade rotors of the European multi-mission choppers.
Just like any normal Swiss pilot’s watch, the Victorinox Alpnach Power Gauge combines high legibility of a pilot’s watch (something that is extremely rare with modern-day chronographs, especially those that try to grab your attention with ‘novelty’-kind styling of their dials) with a multitude of functions.
Besides the usual hours, minutes and seconds, the timepiece also features a small date aperture at 6 o’clock, a full-fledged chronograph with a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute totalizer at 12 o’clock, as well as countdown timer on the bezel, and a rudimentary tachometer on the bezel flange.
And, of course, there is also a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock: a nice little complication that not only makes the watch more comfortable to use -especially if you don’t wear it on a daily basis-, but also make it sort of stand out among millions of other chronographs out there.
The small hour markers above the Arabic numerals, as well as hour and minute hands are treated with Superluminova fluorescent coating in order to ensure better legibility during night flights.
The countdown function employs the same principle used by diving watches. If you want to measure a 25-minute interval, just align the “25” numeral on the notched rotating bezel with the minute hand and wait till it reaches the small PVD-coated triangle, which is here for “00.”
Looks like a very useful feature for those doing high intensity interval training or practicing a music instrument (however, using a watch that costs more than €1000 as an egg-timer may be a bit too eccentric even for die-hard enthusiasts of time management techniques).
The timekeeper’s ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement, which is known for its bullet-proof robustness and reliability, is encased in a mildly oversized two-tone stainless steel body with black PVD treatment and a transparent screw-down caseback with a nice sapphire crystal giving you a view of the movement. Measured without the protruding PVD-coated setting crown, the case will fit nicely even an average wrist, although some may find its thickness of whole 16 millimeters not especially comfortable to wear with certain types of dress.
By the way, the use of the 7750 ebauche here is a sort of pedigree sign, since most second-tier Swiss watchmakers often use simple automatic movements with add-on chronograph modules that, while helping to save a dollar or two on manufacturing costs, also make the watch look cheaper due to ill-aligned setting crow and chronograph push-pieces.
Another sign of good quality is the use of a sapphire crystal with triple antiglare coating that, too, increases legibility of the watch.
Photos: Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox Alpnach Power Gauge (ref. 241382) automatic chronograph watch specification:
Price range: $1400 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: date, chronograph, tachometer, countdown timer
Power reserve: 46 hours
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Case material: Stainless steel, PVD
Case diameter: 43.00 mm
Case height: 16.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, applied
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather with white stitching
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with antireflective coating