Presented in two colors of its laconic, easy to read dial, Alpina Alpiner Manufacture makes the time-proven Caliber AL-710 in-house automatic movement its selling point. The “Manufacture” mechanism slowly replaces third-party mechanisms from their relatively inexpensive lines. Accurate and reliable, the AL-710 greatly increases the timekeeper’s collectability while still making it a nice daily wearer.
The Swiss watchmaking specialist Alpina, somehow reminds me of a young guitarist that, as the joke goes, can’t find the three right notes on the fretboard. During the last couple of years, the brand has continuously updated its Alpiner collection of higher-end watches while still trying to choose the right combination of hands, dials, and case shapes.
While they have finally settled on the way the body should look (after all, there are not so many options after you decide the follow the ‘living classic’ route), the dial and the hands are still a work in progress.
On a personal note, I must admit that I am writing this brief review with a smile on my face: I like the way the watch looks now. Perhaps, at least when it comes to the model with an off-white “Cream” dial, they have finally created something that looks great.
The self-winding Caliber AL-710 movement that powers this new pair of timekeepers (well, actually it is the same timekeeper, it just happens that it is available with two different dial colors) is nothing terribly new: we have first seen it more than four years ago if memory serves well. It is still a great pleasure to see that the in-house calibers gradually replace the mundane ETA and Sellita workhorse movements even in this relatively affordable category of sub-€3000 watches. Even though having a manufacture-made movement in your watch can sometimes be not convenient when it comes to servicing it, it still increases its collectability and makes them more unique in a good way.
Case & Strap
With its diameter of 41.5 millimeters, the Alpiner looks a bit more massive than its classic design suggests in these photos.
Still, matching in size the last year’s Alpiner Chronograph AL-750SG4E6B, and, I’d dare say, will look great on a normal wrist. After all, the lugs of this piece are nicely curved and not excessively long.
Its setting crown, too, is perfectly proportional and is easy to grasp, even if your fingers are relatively, um, stubby.
Although, when it comes to dressy timekeepers sold below the $3500 mark, there is a tendency to equip them with “Alligator-look” leather straps, this new Alpina Alpiner Manufacture Caliber AL-710 comes with a plain-looking, yet comfortable strap that doesn’t try to look like something it is not. I actually like this honest approach and, again, those who feel like they want something more upscale can always order the real thing from a third-party brand knowing that they get the best bang for their buck.
After all, given its sporty appearance (yes, dress watches can look sporty, too), there is a good chance that it will often be worn during all sorts of physical activity that don’t require close contact with liquid water (the 50 meters water resistance rating of this trinket is a bit disappointing, let me clear about that), so the original strap will probably be ruined after 18 months of wear, so you would anyway have to buy another strap (or maybe even a nice bracelet) to better match the way you prefer to wear the timepiece.
The watch, by the way, features the same in-house Caliber AL-710 self-winding movement that also animated the 2011 Startimer Pilot Manufacture Aviation.
Judging by official specs, the mechanism has gained an extra ruby (now 26 against 25 in the 2011 model, although I feel that it may be some sort of typo on a PR agency’s part) and features the same 42 hours of power reserve.
Unlike its closest competitors that sport nothing more impressive than modified (and sometimes adjusted in an extra position) ETA blank movements, this one is equipped with a mechanism that features a higher level of finish that is rarely available in this price range. As you can see, its oscillating weight sports an unusual “delta” shape and is blacked out to give the meanest look possible. The whole assembly is finished with a fine Geneva stripes pattern and features blued and polished screw-heads: too, a nice touch for a timepiece that costs half the MSRP of an Omega Speedmaster.
The dial is currently available with only two finishes. The silvered one looks more modern, while the off-white one has a nice vintage feel about it that perfectly matches the overall ‘timeless classic’ of this timekeeper.
While I do think that they should have chosen some finer typeface for the calendar ring, I must also admit that the dial of this new accessory is perfectly visible in any lighting condition: there is enough high-quality Superluminova both on its hour markers and the hours and minutes hand for the Alpiner Manufacture Caliber AL-710 to be readable even in scenarios when your eyes have to adapt after intense, prolonged staring at a large bright object: consider my tastes low, but a movie theater with a good bright screen showing an explosive Marvel superhero blockbuster is my favorite place to test lume on a new watch.
This one will possibly pass it with honors. Probably not with flying colors (it’s not a pilot’s watch after all), but without sweating too much.
Pricing & Availability
The gadget is available right now at a recommended price of CHF 2790 / USD $2900.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Alpina Alpiner Manufacture Caliber AL-710 (refs. AL-710S4E6 & AL-710KM4E6) specification
Price: CHF 2790 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber AL-710, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, black branded oscillating weight, blued screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, circular date
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.50 mm
Dial: Silvered / Cream
Numerals: Arabic, applied
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Genuine leather strap in brown or black with contrast stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective