Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph “Race for Water” Limited Edition (Ref. AL-860AD5AQ6) Swiss

With its extremely clean, visually lightweight dial and a nicely proportioned (as well as elegantly decorated) stainless steel body, this beautiful Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph “Race for Water” Limited Edition (ref. AL-860AD5AQ6) has only one major flaw: its total production run will be restricted to just 400 pieces, which, I am afraid, will not be enough to justify the demand from the general public. Well, at least there is a chance that the resale value will not plunge as swiftly as it is often the case with products delivered by second-tier brands.

As far as I understand, the new timepiece is mechanically based on the gorgeous Startimer Pilot Black Star Automatic Chronograph (Ref. AL-860GB4FBS6) that the Swiss brand has introduced back in January 2014. However, this new model features a radically different, a lot more modern styling, while the aforementioned Startimer was deliberately archaic with its leaf-shaped hands and all. Also, equipped with a compass-style unidirectional rotating bezel and featuring “stubby” hour and minute hands, as well as a silvered sunray dial with blue sub-dial rings and inner bezel flange of the same color, the “Race for Water” version looks a lot more, err, premium.

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph "Race for Water" (AL-860AD5AQ6, solid case back)

As usual for this sort of expensive accessories, it is those little things that matter. Like an audiophile-grade tube amplifier leaves miles behind a modern and sexy digital receiver in terms of craftsmanship and attention to the smallest of details, this new Alpiner 4 leaves your average Swiss-made chronograph in the dust. It is the notched bezel that is easy (and also pleasant) to grasp; it is the machine brushed sides of the stainless steel body and ergonomic chronograph push-pieces; it is the 12 applied hour markers that perfectly match the hour and minute hands.

Delivered in the same 44-millimeter case, the wristwatch is animated by the same Alpina AL-860 automatic caliber, which is based on the well-known Sellita SW500 blank movement. Since the mechanism is not the most spectacular thing to admire when it comes to this timekeeper (it usually features a plain finish with just a personalized oscillating weight to make the mechanism look more unique), it was prudently hidden behind an engraved case back cover that features the usual Alpina logo.

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph "Race for Water" (Ref. AL-860AD5AQ6, wooden presentation box)

Somewhat surprisingly, the use of solid cover didn’t lead to an increased water resistance rating: officially it is good for just 10 ATM, which is still adequate for a sporty timekeeper, which is not supposed to be used as a diver’s companion.

Also, be aware that visually the gadget is even more massive than the aforementioned Startimer Pilot, so trying one before buying would be a good idea.

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph "Race for Water" (AL-860AD5AQ6, side view)

If you still hesitate whether you want to spend a hefty chunk of cash for this cold beauty, the Swiss watchmaker kindly provides you a good excuse at doing so. As they report in their press release, the company will donate 50 Swiss francs from every watch sold to the “Race for Water” foundation: an institution that raises public awareness about the scarcity of water on this planet. While 20,000 CHF doesn’t look like a lot of money (Alpina will make only 400 individually numbered Alpiner 4 Chronograph), it still quite generous of them.

See also: Alpina Alpiner Automatic Chronograph (Ref. AL-750SG4E6B)

Photos: Alpina Watches

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph "Race for Water" Limited Edition (Ref. AL-860AD5AQ6)

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph "Race for Water" (AL-860AD5AQ6, silver sunray dial)

WWR verdict

Originality 4/5
Build quality: 5/5
Usability: 5/5
Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for money: 4/5

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph “Race for Water” (Ref. AL-860AD5AQ6) specification

Price: CHF 2990 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Alpina AL-860 (base caliber Sellita SW500), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 30
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Shape: Round
Size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: 22/18 mm
Dial: Silvered, sunray
Hour markers: Applied, luminous
Hands: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire
Back: Solid, engraved

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