To be presented next March during the Baselworld 2012 event, the new Alpina Heritage Pilot (Ref. AL-435B4SH6) limited edition watch features the easily recognizable styling of their pilot’s watches, but is now equipped with a nicely decorated hand-wound movement, which is protected from accidents with a solid hunter case cover.
Like its sibling, the latest Frederique Constant Carrera Panamericana Limited Edition, the new timepiece is, too, powered by a hand-wound caliber. In this particular case it is called AL-435, but, probably, is built on the same base movement.
Judging by its specs and the layout of its bridges and the gear train, I could say that this is the same good ole’ Unitas 6498-1 ebauche.
It is nice to see that, while many other brands of the same, um, caliber, tend to install the ebauches almost unfinished, this one features some personalization that goes very well with the overall vintage-inspired aura of the watch.
Besides the usual Cotes de Geneva motif on its bridges and plates, as well as blued screws that come as a standard with Elabore-grade calibers, the movement also features a nicely executed Alpine logo and a pair of blackened gear wheels with “Alpina – Geneve” inscription on the larger one. Although I have an impression that the timekeeper’s main components were left intact (i.e. not upgraded to higher specs that some of us expect from a watch that costs $2000 USD,) it is still nice to have such a cool-looking engine driving the hands of your new gadget.
As I have already mentioned many times before, the movement was originally developed to power pocket watches and therefore sports quite an impressive diameter of more than 37 millimeters.
It was only logical to put it inside the gargantuan body of the new Alpina Heritage Pilot that measures whole 50 millimeters in diameter and easily dwarfs such vintage-inspired pilots as the last year’s Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 Reserve de Marche or even the Oris Big Crown X1 Calculator, which is even bigger than the former.
The rest is pretty much the same and, if you have seen previous aviators from Alpina, you probably won’t be surprised.
The piece features the signature leaf-shaped hours and minutes hands, as well as 11 luminous Arabic numerals that are accompanied by white railway-styled minute track.
The winding crown, also definitely oversized, looks absolutely proportionate to the overall size of the piece and doesn’t hurt your eyes.
Perhaps, the only thing that needs to be changed is the black leather strap that simply begs to be replaced with a worn-look brown leather.
The Swiss watchmaker plans to limit the timekeeper’s production to just 1883 pieces. Alpina plans to sell this particular model at approximately $2000 MSRP (that will depend on your location) and the price doesn’t look very steep considering how good it looks and how finely the mechanism is decorated.
Alpina Heritage Pilot Hand-Wound (Ref. AL435B4SH6) specification
Price: $2000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber AL-435 (base ETA Unitas 6498,) Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneva, Alpina logo
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel, polished
Case size: 50.00 mm
Case height: 11.50 mm
Lug/Strap width: 22/18 mm
Hour markers: White
Hands: Stainless steel, luminous
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with contrasting white stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, convex
Case back: Transparent, hunter-style cover