What sort of watches do you have in your mind’s eye when you think of Alpina? Racing chronographs, maybe? Field watches, perhaps? We’d take a guess a regulator wouldn’t be top of the list. So a brave choice from Plan-les-Ouates.
The firm can afford to take a chance. After weathering the quartz crisis by – admirably – completely ignoring it and continuing to make mechanical watches, Alpina slowly faded from view until in 2002, Peter and Aletta Stas, two Dutch entrepreneurs bought the firm. They already had Frederique Constant under their wing, so updated the business and ran it until Citizen bought the whole Frederique Constant group, Alpina included, in 2016.
It’s not a run-or-bust chance though. Alpina has plenty of regulatory history. The firm launched the original Avalanche Extreme Regulator Automatic back in 2005. ‘Extreme’ was pretty accurate too – the ‘05 watch was a bit of a beast at 48mm. Not one for the slender of wrist. That’s because it housed a variant of the venerable Unitas 6498, one of our favorite movements. We’re delighted that the new watch features the same engine, although Alpina have managed to downsize the dinnerplate case to a rather friendlier 41mm.