Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage
After last year’s novelties I couldn’t wait to go back to Frederique Constant and Alpina and have a look at their current lineup. Again, the company (or I should say: companies) didn’t cease to amaze me, the one piece stood out the most was Alpina’s Seastrong Diver Heritage. Not because it was anything extraordinary or it had a deep haute horological technical background but because of pure aesthetics. Sometimes this is also enough. It has that cool vintage diver look we dig so much. I think the closest I ever felt a re-edition was a hit was when I had the chance to review the Junghans Meister Telemeter. The new watch became so true to the original it was astonishing. We are not talking about super expensive pieces here, of course, but great looking usable everyday watch. And the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage is such a piece.
When you think of heritage divers and super compressor cased divers in general the first brand that pops in your head is of course Longines. Their Legend Diver watch was such a great success if any watch company ever doubted about r-editions those doubts were out of the window immediately. Lately more and more brands retro their vintage models, some succeed, some luckily realize this is not their game – and give it up. I’m not too sure if this will be a long living trend but I look at those models with great interest. It is no doubt super compressor watches are the corner stone to any vintage – diver’s –watch collections. Mike talked about a good few already on his weekly #TBT series and now we have one from Alpina. Since they had this watch in their line up many years ago the decision to bring it back into an up-to-dated form was an instant success in my opinion. Now let me talk about the watch in details.
The most obvious characteristic of the watch is the case. It’s clear that it bears resemblance to its vintage counterpart, the Alpina 10 super compressor diver. Vintage super compressor diver cases were made in a way that the deeper the diver went the more pressure pressed the case back to the case, sealing the watch even better. Now the case of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage is not a super compressor case anymore, but one that looks just like that. It has a screw down case back with the Alpina logo in the center and the usual stuff around it like, model name, reference number, water resistance, serial number and so on.
The case back and the front of the case are polished while the sides are brushed steel. Though the vintage model is 36mm the reedition of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage is adjusted to modern standards. It’s a bit bigger at 42 mm. You can find the two screw-down crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock the above one has a grid-like pattern and the below crown sports the Alpina logo. This is the crown that sets the time and the quick-set date for you, the other one is responsible of setting the rotating inner diving bezel.
The Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage just like its vintage counterpart uses an automatic movement. The base movement is Sellita SW 200 (ETA 2824-2 clone) modified by Alpina and received caliber number AL-525. This is a 26-jewel self-winding caliber with 38 hours of power reserve and 28,800/h frequency. As with most diving watches it’s a time only watch with an added date feature. Nothing truly interesting but a robust movement that according to Alpina “have been designed for heavy duty under trying conditions, such as the Extreme Diver, Extreme 40 and the 12 Hours of Sebring Series. The movement is finely decorated and sports a specially conceived rotor.” During the time the watch was with me it showed great accuracy when placed on a winder or even picked up after a few days once the power reserve was over.
The dial of the reedition of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage looks almost like it’s vintage predecessor. The company really tried to stay as close to the original model as possible. It has the same creamy (off-white) color, very similar Alpina logo at 12, even the text “Automatic” at the 6 o’clock. The newer model also has the full name “Seastrong 300m/1000ft” below the “Automatic”. The Alpina logo is raised made of steel and the 10 is missing under the Alpina text but substituted with the year and place of the establishment of Alpina; 1863 Geneve.
Another interesting feature is the position of the date. I’m not sure if I should love it or hate it, it looks a bit like it accidentally slipped from the 3 o’clock position where the vintage version has it. The date window’s lower part touches the index at 4 but it’s not entirely there. A bit weird at first but you can get used to it pretty quickly. The hands are almost exact replicas of the original ones and so is the bezel. As you know one of the crowns operate the rotating inner bezel. You have 15-30 and 45 minute markers the rest of the indexes are just plain. The indexes of the dial are raised no numerals were used, you only see numbers on the bezel of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage.
Lug width of the case is 21 mm and 18mm on the buckle end. This is not your average strap size though recently more and more companies use odd number of 19 or 21 as their strap size. I personally am not a big fan of this as the majority of the aftermarket strap are not allowed in these sizes unless you have some custom made or buy it from a large company, but I see why brands like Alpina use it. The strap of the watch is probably not simplest (some might even think boring) part of the watch. It’s a plain black leather strap with off-white stitching. Of course it is water resistant and actual pretty comfortable but if you think of other heritage models like the Oris 65 or the Longines Legend diver you know what my comment will be about it; I wish the company made a nice rubber strap for the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage. A big-hole Tropic-like strap or any other rubber version. Well, either way it’s a great strap and somewhat matches the watch and gives it a bit of a dressy look.
Let’s look at all the reasons you should consider the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage: it’s a great looking watch, very close to the original model, it has a nicely decorated trusty movement, great size and wrist presence even of guys with larger wrists and the price is pretty handsome at 1550 CHF (around €1424). That should be enough reasons for somebody looking for a time only, out of the ordinary watch to make that purchase. I’ve seen and worn many watches and this was one comfortable model. If only they made a different strap for it. But then again, you can always swap it for something you like or get used to the one it’s on. Either way the Alpine Seastrong Diver Heritage is a sweet watch and we are sure it will be a great seller for the brand.