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Reviewer: Don aka Tattoo Chef

Watch was donated for review

Watch Being Reviewed: Alpina Startimer Pilot Big Date

Alpina Website

About/History:
Alpina is an independent family owned watch manufacturer based in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva. Founded in 1883, Alpina celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2008 and is evolving into a cool Sports & Lifestyle brand with its new, contemporary collections. The company is involved in all stages of watch production, from initial design to final assembly and quality control. Each watch is assembled by hand and extensively controlled with state of-the-art equipment, in order to ensure maximum quality and durability. The company innovates to offer creativity and exceptional value. Its factory in Plan-les-Ouates Geneva is ultra modern and offers the best environment for its watchmakers.

Alpina Facebook

Alpina on twitter

Model Description:
The big date is the newest variation in the Alpina Startimer series.
With a diameter of 44 mm and a beautiful but hard-wearing sapphire crystal with an anti-reflect
coating, the large, luminous white numerals and luminous white hour and minute hands stand out
proudly from the striking black face. The small second hand is displayed in the bottom half of the
watch face and actually integrates the large date display.

Stock Photo:



Specs and Measurements:
44mm case
48mm w/crown
crown diameter 7.7mm
12.5mm thick
Lug width 22mm
Lug to lug 53mm
38mm dial opening.
115 grams
sapphire crystal
Swiss quartz movement Quartz caliber, AL-280
Water resistant 10atm
Limited edition 8,888
Retail price: $990


First Impressions:
Right out of the box, I thought it does look very much like another brand known for pilot watches, but the more I wore it, I realized it does have a flare of its own with the large small seconds display , big date and the way the markers are done on the dial. Also I was glad to see that it has a screw down crown, something not always present on pilot style watches.

Packaging:
I think if there was to be an award for packaging, Alpina might be the lead in the race. It comes in a massive , laptop sized presentation box, and inside it looks more like a store display than watch packaging, though it is very nice. A large Alpina Cessna model plane is included, with the watch sitting on a leather pillow to the right.
The plane itself does seem like it can unscrew from the display box, but I didn't try, as I thought to leave well enough alone. But, if you are someone that likes to have their watches on display, this is certainly some packaging that will get noticed.





Dial:
The dial is a large 38mm, and as its sitting in a 44mm case, lends itself to easy readability . A combination of Arabic numbers and hour markers surrounding the dial may be a little busy for some, but I think with such a large dial , it works, and makes it stand out. At the 6 position it has a large sub second register, that also has the big date display.
I do think it is a little dificult to see the big date, being that it is in the sub second register, as the point of a big date is to make it easier to read at a glance, and I think this might defeat the purpose a little.  Otherwise though a unique dial and a nice contrast with the matte black dial and stark white hands and markers. 









Case, Bezel and Crystal:
The 44mm case is all brushed steel, except for the edges of the side of the case where it has been high polished, giving a subtle contrast. The case is very well finished and smooth and the curved lugs and flat case back allow it to sit very well on the wrist. It does wear a little large due to the large dial opening and large 7.7mm knurled screw down crown, making it feel like a 45-46mm on the wrist. The crown is engraved with the triangle Alpina logo as well. The crystal is an AR coated sapphire crystal, and it is very well done, with not much glare at all.
















Case back:
The case back is a flat heavily engraved screw down  type. This watch is a limited edition of 8,888.  Reading info on this watch, it says each watch is numbered on the case back. There is a number on the outer edge, I am guessing this one is 1,974 out of 8,888 if I am reading it right.  The engraving is of the cessna plane flying in the skies and it is beautifully done.




Leather Strap:
The strap is an 22mm alligator patterned leather strap. It tapers to 18mm at the buckle.  I was expeciting it to be genuine alligator but it is not. But, it is a very nice well made leather strap with black stitching. The strap comes with a signed Alpina deployant clasp.
But, a little strange, the watch actually arrived with the strap on opposite of what we normally see. The long side was actually on the 12 o'clock side of the case. I did a little research, and I see that IWC does this with some of their Big Pilots as well. I am not sure the reasoning for this, but it did look very odd with the long side coming up on the 6 o'clock position when on the wrist, so I switched it around. Problem with doing that, is the deplyant buckle sits very low down on the wrist, as you will see in the wrist pictures below.









Wrist shot on my 7 1/2" wrist:









Movement:
The movement is a caliber, AL-280 swiss quartz. I could not find any info on this movement in a google search, but I believe it to be a modified Ronda movement for Alpina.

Lume:
The lume is decent. I was a little dissapointed that they only lumed the 12, 3, 6 and 9 markers , and the hands. With the large dial, and the combo of dial markers and arabic numerals, it would have been nice if they were all lumed.
I believe the lume is C1 superluminova and does glow bright, I just wish that they lumed more of the dial than they did.






Summary:

All in all , the Alpina Star Timer Big Date is a beautiful version of a classic pilot watch, but with some modern flare.
The inclusion of the screw down crown is a welcome addition. The well finished brushing of the case with the subtle high polished edges, the intricate engraved case back, and black leather strap all come together very nicely with the large and easy to read dial. I would not mind seeing some more lume used, or maybe using BGW9 for a brighter application. But it does look amazing on the wrist, and if you are in the market for certain popular style pilot watch, but on a budget, this might be an option.

As always, thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments.






 

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Great review. Thks......my wife is going to Geneva in April to meet her dad and the Alpina (a different model) is already on my list. Just wondering if you can get it cheaper over there. Will see.
 

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Another reallyterrific watch, along with review Don. Great great job ! Alpina seems to

pull out all the stops it seems. Can't believe the packaging, or the all around design of

this one. It's pretty awesome. Really does havea modern flieger way about it that can

remind you about the past, but totally stands out today. Thanks for this !
 

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Nice pictures and review. Sooner or later a pilot is in my future. For 1k i wont consider this one.
 

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Very nice review and very nice watch although I believe a bit steep for a quartz driven piece of this style, IMHO...:whatever:
 

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The hell with the watch, I want the little airplane! LOL Kidding aside, I love the watch very cool nice all around the watch the presintation. Great review!
 

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GReat review as always.....I'm a big fan of a nice watch display as that's how I show them in my home so for me packaging is a big plus!

A "grab and go" quartz is always nice to have around. Well done!
 

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Great review. I like the look of this watch a lot. Very updated look to a classic design. I would like it even more as an automatic or hand wind model.
I've never owned an Alpina but I am told that the quality justifies the price. If I could get this one at the right price I would like to add it to my collection.
 

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Great review. Having owned the Extreme diver... It was it on from what I experienced. However, as a side bar item, the sail boat.. And I say this as one poster is looking at this watch... Is a POS. it broke in delivery, is glued to the box so display only and very fragile. Still nice and cost me 25 bucks to mail it when I sold it. Huge box. Ok, the back on mine was open and I have never seen such nice metal work, blued screws etc. Big Bang for the buck.... Only real,complaint was I needed to add a link. I could not find the pin. Called the AD in Beverly Hills and San Diego or La Jolla. Neither had them in stock and I was told they are not allowed to. So I waited six months.. Still no pin, they apologized profusely but with Europe work schedules, vacation time etc... Well I posted it for sale and sold it to a guy in Canada with a less than 7 3/4 wrist. I really liked the watch, but was turned off by this. That said, I wish I had just waited nine months.. It really is a nice watch for the money. I had the original receipt. BNIB delivered, in La Jolla.. If anyone wants the price, PM me. Not going to get into trouble I hope. Again, review is spot on for quality.
 

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jade4x4 wrote:
GReat review as always.....I'm a big fan of a nice watch display as that's how I show them in my home so for me packaging is a big plus!

A "grab and go" quartz is always nice to have around. Well done!
No doubt the packing is very cool. Very much made for display.
 

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Is there one WatchFreek who would consider, for a moment, paying $990 for this watch?

This watch is a plain re-do of a design that is done be everyone. Nothing new or innovative. Cheesy lume. Cheap strap with a geeked up clasp.

Quartz movement. The only thing different aboutthis watchis the box it comes in.

$990 is ridiculous.

D
 
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