First Look at the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph

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Alpina has introduced the first chronograph in their aviation inspired Startimer series, and it has a feature that’s rare at this price point: a mono-pusher mechanism. Based on a movement designed by La Joux-Perret, the single pusher on the right case flank gives the Startimer Pilot Heritage chronograph a distinctive look and some added functionality with start, stop, and reset all controlled by the same button. 


Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph 

Ref. AL-727LNN4H6 and AL-727SS4H6
  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Blue dial with applied silver indexes and sub-dials; silver dial with applied indexes and anthracite sub-dials
  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire 
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters 
  • Crown: Push/pull
  • Movement: AL-727 (mono-pusher based on movement designed by La Joux-Perret)
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather  
  • Price: $2,795
  • Reference Number: AL-727LNN4H6; AL-727SS4H6; AL-727LNS4H6 (not featured here)
  • Expected Release: Available now

Although the Startimer series is explicitly influenced by aviation, I don’t think anyone at Alpina would be bothered if you saw their new chrono as more of a racing-inspired piece. It has the tachymeter scale and cushion case of many a classic racing chrono, and Alpina themselves have roots in the sport.

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The Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph is available in three colorways: silver with anthracite sub-dials, blue with silver sub-dials, and blue with silver sub-dials and red chrono hands (the first two variants are featured here). The watch has a mix of polished and brushed finishes, with a high polish on the sides and a clean satin finish on top of the cushion case. The 42mm case is full of sharp and well defined angles, and the transitions from one finishing style to another are really well executed and maximize the watch’s ability to play with the light.

Radial brushing.

At 14.75mm thick, the Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph is not exactly thin, but it’s right in line with other automatic chronos at this price point, and a good chunk of that height is taken up by the crystal. It’s worth pointing out that despite the vintage inspired appearance, spec for spec, this is a proper purpose-driven sports watch, with 100 meters of water resistance and plenty of lume for legibility in all lighting conditions.

Handsome cushion case design.
Single pusher.

Chronographs with a single pusher are nothing new — Alpina reminds us that their first sports chronographs nearly a century ago used a single pusher design. Still, they are somewhat rare in contemporary watchmaking, as off the shelf movements with two pushers are so readily available. Why would you want a mono-pusher?

The cushion shape wears well on the wrist.

The most critical reason is that with only one pusher, there is basically zero chance of user error causing a malfunction to the somewhat delicate chronograph mechanism. With a traditional two pusher chrono, hitting reset while the chronograph is engaged could, in theory, damage the movement. That’s not a problem with a mono-pusher — it’s impossible to “start, stop, reset” out of order since only one button is used. By the same token, you can’t temporarily halt the chrono and pick up where you left off. It just goes to show that there are always trade-offs in watchmaking. But all that aside, it’s also just really cool, akin more to a classic stopwatch that gives it a pleasing neo-vintage charm.

The Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph is available now through Alpina’s website, with a retail price of $2,795. It enters a somewhat crowded field of enthusiast-focused chronographs near the $3,000 mark, but offers something unique with it’s mono-pusher design, making it a compelling choice if you’re after a robust and sporty chronograph with a healthy dose of wrist presence. Alpina

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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