What’s cooler than a super compressor case? A bronze super compressor case! Alpina released their Seastrong Diver Heritage with a PVD bronze case and brown dial. Let’s have a closer look.
The Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage PVD Bronze isn’t a new watch. Already in 2016, we reviewed the stainless steel version (here) and concluded it resembles the original 36mm Alpina Seastrong 10 from the 1960s pretty well. The size is bumped up to 42mm, and of course, there’s a modern movement inside. Perfect for today’s diver watch enthusiasts. This year, Alpina (belonging to the same company as Frederique Constant) comes with the same watch in a cool bronze color scheme. It isn’t a ‘solid’ bronze watch but made of stainless steel with a bronze PVD treatment. Let’s have a closer look.
When I unbox a watch for review, I always try to think of the target audience for a particular watch. Who has Alpina been aiming when developing or designing this watch, for example. In my opinion, vintage watch enthusiasts are challenging to persuade buying something modern. Only occasionally they are prepared to shell out some money for a modern version of a specific watch. I am pretty convinced this Alpina isn’t an obvious choice for this group of people. For who is it then? Perhaps you can’t always categorize a buyer, but I think that someone who loves the look of a vintage watch with a contemporary touch could be very interested in a bronze-colored diving watch in a super compressor case. I wonder if it is clear to them what the super-compressor case is about, or have an understanding of its history, but I assume that most buyers today do their homework before pulling the trigger. The most important reason to buy a watch, of course, is that you like it. How it looks, its specifications, and also important, the value for money.
To start with the latter, Alpina has put a €1595 price tag on this Seastrong Diver Heritage in PVD bronze. That’s €100 more than the standard versions, in stainless steel. If you like the color of bronze or gold, the extra €100 will not hold you back from buying this PVD bronze version of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage, I am sure.
There are two versions of the Seastrong Diver Heritage in PVD bronze. The model we have here today for this article (reference AL-525BRC4H4), with a white inner diving bezel, and then there’s a version with an internal brown diving bezel (reference AL-525BR4H4). If you don’t like the two-tone effect of the white diving bezel, the all-brown version might be a great alternative.
The dark brown tone goes very well with the bronze color of the case. The white outer ring for the inner diver bezel gives a nice contrast, and I prefer it over the all brown version. To each his or her own, of course. At 3.30, you will find a date aperture with a bronze-colored frame. The white date disc corresponds nicely with the white outer ring of the dial. I know some people prefer to have the date disc in a matching color with the dial, but for readability reasons, I think a white date disc with black printing works better. The center part of the dial has a sunburst finish, which works nicely in the sunlight. On the dial, you will also find the printing of the Alpina logo and the two lines below the center pinion in this gilt color. It is pretty amazing that this is readable under any angle, Alpina designers used precisely the right color for a subtle contrast without compromising its readability. The brown printing on the white inner bezel perfectly matches the dial color. The dial of the watch is very balanced, and I have nothing to criticize here. A job well done by Alpina.
One of the diver’s watch characteristics is luminous hands. In this case, the rose gold plated hour, minute, and seconds hands are luminous. Although not mentioned in the specifications of the watch, I’d say it is Super-LumiNova. You will also find the triangle on the diving bezel to illuminate, be it less prominent than the hands. That might have to do with the surface color. In any case, there’s no faux-patina, just white. In low-light conditions, the hands will glow in green.
I won’t lie to you; I like the bronze and gold tones on watches these days. We’ve been talking about it here often, and mentioned it more than once in our podcasts, and this Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage in PVD bronze is no exception. It just looks cool. The color is a bit redder than you’d expect from a bronze case. This might have to do with the PVD treatment. The watch almost looks more like it is red gold than bronze, to be honest. Both crowns (one of the operating the bezel, the other for setting time and date) and the screw-down case back all received the same treatment. Usually, you will find that a lot of bronze watches have a steel case because the skin doesn’t always respond well to bronze. I hope it is different when there’s a PVD bronze case back instead of ‘solid’ bronze. I’ve worn this watch a few days in a row, and nothing happened to my skin. Also, nothing happened to the surface of the watch. Where you’ll find patina very quickly on bronze cases, nothing happened here so far (although fingerprints are very visible). So if part of the fun in owning a bronze watch is the patina, you have to look elsewhere.
The upper crown is used to rotate the bezel, the lower crown to set the time and date. Both crowns are screw-down, to ensure water resistance. The Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage has a water resistance of 300 meters. On the case back, you’ll find the Alpina logo in bas relief and all the necessary information engraved around it. Inside the watch, we find the caliber AL-525 movement. This movement is based on the Sellita SW200, which is a reproduction of the ETA2824-2. A robust automatic movement that indicates time and date. According to Alpina, their AL-525 “may” be undecorated. Given the closed case back, I will assume it is undecorated. This doesn’t influence the performance of the movement (38 hours of power reserve), but it is just good to know.
This is a pretty easy watch to wear. The size of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage is pretty modest (42mm x 10.7mm and a lug-to-lug size of 49mm), but aside from that, the watch is just easy on the eyes. It looks good, the dimensions are good, easy to operate, and the leather strap is soft and comfortable. This could be a daily wearer for someone who likes the super compressor case and the bronze tone.
My only point of criticism is the shine on the case. The surface is very smooth, and even the brushed case band has this shine to it. It can feel a bit like wearing a doublé (or gold-plated) watch at times. A tool watch, like a diver, should be a bit more matte. Or that’s at least what I expect them to be. I can imagine that after a bit of proper wear, the watch will receive some scratches and becomes a bit more mat. At this stage, my worry would be how long the PVD treatment will last when it comes to scratches. The watch I received for this review was brand new, and I didn’t feel like scratching it on purpose to see what will happen. I don’t think this should hold you back from buying this watch if you fancy owning one, but at least be aware that a PVD treatment is not scratch resistant.
All-in-all, I like this watch, and I think I would pick it over the stainless steel version that Balazs reviewed a few years ago. The bronze tone looks good, and it is definitely something different. The Sellita base movement is a solid performer, and at this price point, a good choice. Those who have vintage aspirations might want to look elsewhere, but if you aren’t comfortable buying a vintage watch (and I can imagine) but love the looks of one, this Seastrong Diver Heritage is a cool alternative with a bronze twist.
As mentioned above, the price of the Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage in PVD bronze is €1595,-. It comes on a soft and nice looking leather strap with a pin buckle.
For more information, visit the Alpina website
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more