Jeremy Webb takes a look at the new Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic. A classic looking timepiece which looks great on both male and female wrists and is designed to help you reach the heights.
Over the last decade or so wristwatches have been getting bigger in diameter, and not to fat shame them but chunkier too. Going against the trend, Alpina has produced a smaller diameter watch. Their Startimer Pilot Automatic case a case size of 40mm, shaving 4mm off the current model. It has not lost anything in its size reduction, maintaining its good looks.
Alpina has always designed their models for specific purposes as it has a heritage with Aviation, Skiing and Sports. We all hope Pilots are on time, and they will be with the smaller beautifully crafted Startimer Pilot Automatic. It joins five variations already in the collection which are already popular with collectors and general watch lovers.
For a Pilot functionality is paramount, then comes aesthetics. Hence, Alpina makes their watches robust and precise first, then build the beauty into each model. The 40mm model incorporates a favourite vintage-inspired, camouflage Stopwatch using a third hand as well as other characteristics from the larger 44mm model. A rose gold-plated or PVD coated steel case featuring a date counter, and the three hands are elegantly slotted into the 40mm casing.
Alpina sees the size reduction as a bonus as it now makes the 40mm Startimer Pilot Automatic Unisex, enabling women to feel equally happy to wear it. Sitting comfortably on the wrist, maintaining a professional look it matches well to a formal suit, or wear it Urban style with just a T-shirt and jeans, casually.
39mm and 40mm diameter watches have always been the choice of collectors, also historic watchmakers, particularly those located in Geneva. They believe they are more tasteful than larger watches and Alpina should know. They were founded in Geneva in 1883.
The 40mm Startimer Pilot Automatic maintains the essence of the other models within the range, using open dials with large luminescent hands so helpful in low light conditions. At the 3 O’clock position the date is displayed, while a long seconds hand sweeps over five-minute timer markers.
Enthusiasts of the Startimer Pilot Automatic will admire the Index hour markers at 12, and 6 o’clock have been replaced by luminescent horizontal indexes. This makes it easier to distinguish, especially when flying at night, with “II” and “I” referring to 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock respectively. Midday always features the vertical red triangle, the Brand’s Alpine symbol, which can also be found at the end of the second hand. Delicate ridges on the crown located at 3 o’clock improve users hold.
Alpina uses their mechanical self-winding AL-525 calibre which offers 38 hours of power reserve. The case is tested to 100 metres water resistance.
The success of the Startimer Pilot Automatic can be put down to collector demand. It’s proven to be so popular that the brand is bringing back the five iconic designs which helped to forge the legend.
There will be two steel versions which come with either a navy blue or white dial and a black calfskin leather strap. One in PVD coated steel with the same strap mentioned previously, and a rose gold-plated version with a grey dial and a brown calfskin strap.
The final design making up the five has a gold-plated rose coloured case and a navy blue dial with a black calfskin strap. This model perfectly captures the “aeronautical” spirit of the Startimer, drawing on the “nautical” bronze tones of the onboard fittings and naval blue, here replicated in the “aero” fuselage of the Startimer Pilot.
The 40mm Startimer Pilot Automatic starts at £820, which to me appears a bargain. You get a gorgeous looking watch which is skillfully constructed, with a history of use by actual Pilots. It is on my wishlist to add to my collection.
For more information on the new Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic and to view other timepieces currently available in the watchmaker’s lineup, visit www.alpinawatches.com.
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