The Alpina Alpiner4 Chronograph With An Unusual Bezel — Now In New Colors
From my own experience as a customer, it’s not easy for any watch brands to get on my shopping list if I’m not watching them already. There is a lot of competition in the €2,500 range, but the Alpina Alpiner4 has some aces to get noticed.
I was never a big-case watch guy. Honestly, with each millimeter over 41, my interest in a watch falls exponentially. So you may wonder what am I doing here with a 44mm wide, almost 16mm tall chronograph today. Well, as one old saying goes, it’s not difficult to get it on when you are in the mood to get it on, is it? So, when Nacho asked me to look at the news from Alpina, it was a good opportunity to have a fresh look outside of my usual vintage garden.
From vintage to modern Alpina
If you read our #TBT series, you know I am a big fan of vintage Alpina watches. I reviewed the scarce Alpina 943 chronograph for Christmas two years ago, the eclectic Alpina La Ronde, and an unusual Alpina “Monaco”. I explained the interesting phenomenon of the Alpina LeihUhr and shared the authentic story of the OG Seastrong 10 that belonged to one of the Swedish diving pioneers.
When it comes to modern production, a bronze PVD Seastrong diver 300 with a brown dial would be my top pick from the Alpina lineup. Our very own RJ wrote an interesting hands-on review of its brother with a white inner diving bezel here.
First impressions of the Alpina Alpiner4
I see a sporty “muscle watch” with a twisted-lug touch and fresh dial colors. As a watch nerd, though, I couldn’t breeze by that bezel without any concerns being raised. Is that 0-36 graduation I’m seeing? This very GMT-like style can be misleading and make you think, “Where on Earth is there is a 36-hour day?” Well, stop thinking; this bi-directional coin-edged bezel has a completely different use.
A nerdy compass bezel
The Alpiner 4 belongs to the Alpina Land collection, and a 360° bezel can help hikers navigate on their trails. To do that, you need to use it with the inner 24-hour ring. You simply rotate the bezel so the 36 is aligned with the local 24-hour time on the inner bezel. When you point the hour hand at the sun after that, the 36 shows north. Well, there are definitely easier ways to navigate back to the camp, but still, I find it quite cool and really unusual.
The real nerds can notice also dots in between numbers, which mimics the markings on a typical 24-hour bezel. Though it takes a bit of counting, you can use the 360° bezel like a 24-hour bezel for another timezone.
A story behind the Alpiner4
Rolex will probably never ask you what a watch you would like to see or buy next. Alpina, however, decided to get closer to its fan base, and between April and June 2021, ran a special Crowdsourcing Community Watch Project. Instead of scrapping non-used watch components such as cases, hands, dials, and straps, Alpina gave fans the opportunity to mix and match their own watch. One of the final three pieces was the Alpiner4 Granite. Alpina says it was so popular among fans that the brand decided to make it a stable star in its collection.
So here we are
The Alpiner4 Chronograph Automatic is available in three colors, with the Granite version receiving an all-new dark gray sunray dial. If you fancy other colors, you can get it with a light blue dial. This supposedly takes inspiration from the alpine lakes. The last one has a deep green sunray dial that is reminiscent of the alpine forests. No matter the marketing, there seems to be a good sense of consistency in the color selection. And while I haven’t had a chance to see these in the flesh, the dark green version looks the most interesting to me. It’s also the only one offered on a strap, which, in my view, allows the bezel to shine even more.
From a visual standpoint, I also like the rectangular pushers that seem to promise the comfortable operation of the 30-minute chronograph. Would the watch be better with a 12-hour recorder? Yes, if you ask me, as I often need to time events longer than half an hour. But getting back to pushers, they look really good. They do not stick out much and they are integrated with the case design nicely. They almost look like natural crown guards.
What else do you need to know?
The Alpina Alpiner4 Chronograph Automatic is powered by the AL-860 movement. This is basically a Sellita SW510, which beats at 28,800vph. The movement has a power reserve of 55 hours, and no date, which some think of as a big bonus. My personal preference is for a date on chronographs with two registers and no date on a chronograph with three.
Comparing all three models, the green one is the most unusual. But the blue dial suits the red detailing best. By the way, there is also a lot to read on the dial. If you don’t feel “Rolexy” enough, you could even use it as a backup if you need to read your kids some fairytales before bed.
Last thoughts on the Alpiner4
Are you puzzled by the 4 in the name and the dial printing? Well, let me explain the background. In 1933, Alpina introduced an antimagnetic, antishock, water-resistant, and stainless steel model. This Alpiner4 takes those four characteristics of sturdiness and puts them into a modern chronograph. There is no transparent case back over the movement, so happily, the Alpiner4 stays in line with its challenging character. The retail price is €2,795 for the two on steel bracelets, and €100 less for the green one on leather. Feel free to discuss in the comments below!