It’s easy to end up in an exciting discussion about Heuer, Omega, or Rolex watches. But didn’t know many collectors that would lose track of time when discussing Alpina until I met Bas from Vintage View. Today, we will look at his personal treasure, a Valjoux 13-powered Alpina “Leftie”.

I got to know Bas on Gallet fan pages. He had a nice MultiChron 12 with minty-green lume that I bought from him at some point. We started to follow each other on Instagram shortly after. I could not believe my eyes when he posted a simple Alpina time-only watch. To my greatest surprise, he kept posting his new vintage Alpina additions, including some of the brand’s rare chronographs.


My soft spot for Alpina

There’s a special place in my heart for vintage Alpina watches, which do not get the recognition that they deserve. Without recognition, there is not much attention, and without attention, it’s not easy to find other watch nerds to discuss the history of the brand or specific models. In the last five years, I have introduced a few interesting Alpina watches. Among them was a pretty interesting customer service phenomenon, the Alpina Leihuhr, a loaner watch that customers could use while their watches were being serviced and repaired.

If you are more into personal stories, you should not miss the Swedish diving pioneer Lars and his all-original Alpina 10 Seastrong with hundreds of dives. For extroverts, we have UFO-shaped Alpina La Ronde, and for chronograph lovers, we have the precious little gold Alpina 943 that we introduced a day before Christmas.

Bas’s Alpina collection

There are bibles on dial fonts on a specific Rolex watch, but you hardly find one single source that goes in-depth on Alpina chronographs or serial numbers. Over the last few years, Bas managed to put together about ten pre-1940s vintage Alpina chronographs, which is quite an achievement. I am really happy that Bas decided to dig deeper and put all the existing (and yet-to-be-discovered) information together and publish it on his blog Vintage View.

Alpina “Leftie”

If you know you are into something as niche as Alpina watches, you can double your joy by sharing them with a like-minded enthusiast. Just a few things can make my day, and an unexpected message from Bas about his new addition is one of them. When he sent me the first picture of his Valjoux 13-powered Alpina, I had to rub my eyes twice. It had the crown installed on the left side of the case. I was puzzled. The case and the dial both looked legit, but couldn’t be original — or could it?

Alpina "Leftie"

What’s out there

There are only four Valjoux 13 Alpina watches that we know of — one in gold and three in steel. With Alpina having implemented chronological serial numbers in the late ’20s, this is the first-known serial in a chronograph by the brand. Bas’s Alpina “Leftie” is stamped with a 1355 serial number; the other two steel models we know of are 1382 and 1391. Well, it seems that Bas will need another life or seven to find the other 40 chronographs. May they survive…

A little background story as a bonus

As the foremost Alpina collector, Bas gets a few offers now and then. I can imagine how excited he was when he got an Instagram message asking about the value of a left-handed Valjoux 13 with “Alpina” on the dial. Above, you can see the first picture that Bas got. As it usually goes, a few weeks passed, and eventually, he agreed on a deal.

Such a find usually comes from a pawn shop or some hidden auction. In both cases, you rarely learn any specific details of the watch’s background. Bas got a bit lucky with this one because the Alpina “Leftie” comes directly from a family member of an original owner. The seller’s grandfather and his great-grandfather were doctors. Manufactured probably in the early 1930s, this “Leftie” most probably belonged to the seller’s great-grandfather. Digging deeper into old print ads, Bas spotted that this specific square case design was first advertised in 1932.

Alpina "Leftie"

Why is it a “Leftie”?

“With a watch made this long ago, we could only guess,” Bas tells me, and I could not agree more. Maybe the owner preferred to operate the button with his thumb and commissioned Alpina to make this one for him. From what we can see under closer inspection, the dial appears to be period correct, and the printing quality is up to factory standards. For this specific purpose, the case with the movement was rotated, and the dial was printed upside down. Notice also the switched position of the sub-dials with small seconds on the right side and a 30-minute totalizer on the left.

Feel and looks

The case is very interesting, and Bas loves it quite a lot. Who wouldn’t love a 33mm cushion-shaped case with epic integrated 20mm solid lugs? That’s something you don’t see every day. If you add up the well-balanced square proportions, the sector dial, and the chronograph pusher integrated into the onion crown, you get quite an eye-catcher.

Alpina "Leftie"

Alpina Chronographs archive

The modern Alpina brand does not have a heritage specialist to conduct deeper research on the first Alpina chronographs. This means that if we want to come to know more, we must rely on watch enthusiasts like Bas. At the end of the day, that’s how the bedrock for Omega Moonwatch research was set. If you have any early Alpina chronographs and would like to help him with his research, reach out to him and share what you have. Happy hunting!