The upcoming Alpina Startimer Automatic Pilot (Ref. AL-525B4S6) is going to be delivered in a special gift box with a scale model of the famous Cessna Citation Mustang business jet. And it is going to be limited to, ahem, just 8888 pieces.
Although the new Alpina Startimer collection of pilot watches has all the signature elements of an “aviator” –i.e. the oversized lume-covered hands, huge numerals, clearly visible minute track, and the inevitable white triangle at 12 o’clock– the timekeepers also retain a healthy share of the brand’s DNA.
This is primarily achieved with the typeface that was chosen for the Arabic numerals, as well as with the signature Alpina red triangle on the tail section of the second hand.
Well, the huge “Alpina GENEVE” inscription at 12 o’clock also does its part of the job.
According to the company, the Startimer Pilot AL-525B4S6, which is going to be officially presented next month in Basel, Switzerland at the annual Baselworld 2011 event, will be powered by the Caliber AL-525 self-winding movement.
Probably based on an ETA blank movement*, the caliber is personalized with a black PVD coated branded Alpina winding rotor.
The movement is placed inside a mid-sized 44.00 mm stainless steel case. Although the satin-finished body looks somewhat dull, this is an inevitable part of the military-themed package. Also, the polished bezel somewhat brightens the things.
Even if Alpina manages to keep the timepieces price below the $1500 mark, it won’t become an immediate hit. Not only its deliberately simple exterior design and an unassuming automatic movement that will play a role in it. A huge downer for many may be the number of timekeepers that they plan to manufacture: really, almost 8900 timekeepers looks like a bit too much for a market that is already glutted by all sorts of historic-style timekeeper from all sorts of manufacturers and with all sorts of possible price tags. However, the new Alpina Startimer will surely find its share of love and affection among those searching for a dressy pilot’s watch.
* UPDATE ON MOVEMENT: The Caliber AL-525 is now based on a Sellita SW200 ebauche, which is, basically, a clone of the good old ETA 2824-2. Whether it is good or bad, is for you to decide, but I think that $1500 for this sort of mechanism is a bit over the top. However, if you will be able to find the timekeeper at a good discount, I say go for it.
Alpina Startimer Automatic Pilot (Ref. AL-525B4S6) specification
Price: $1500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Alpina caliber AL-525 (base ETA 2824, Sellita SW200 in later versions,) Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Black PVD coated Alpina oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: 22/20 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with new stainless steel folding buckle (there is also a Ref. AL-525B4S6B version on a metal bracelet)