Alpina, the originator of the sports watch
"Our mission is now and always has been to manufacture extremely reliable professional sports watches, respecting and implementing the "mountaineer principle" in design, manufacturing and technological innovation."
And the Alpina brand continues, "Our work is deeply inspired by the legacy of our visionary founder, Gottlieb Hauser.
Certainly based on the principle that there is strength in numbers, Gottlieb Hauser was not only a talented Swiss watchmaker, but also, as early as 1883, the founder of the Corporation of Swiss Watchmakers. This association enabled independent watchmakers to acquire components and develop calibers.
From 1901, the brand name Alpina stamped some models, in fact the most qualitative. Solid gold cases, Breguet balance springs, balances fitted with gold screws... From its launch, Alpina was equated with exceptional watches. As for the Swiss Watchmakers Corporation, it was established in parallel in the cradle of German watchmaking, in Glashütte, with the creation of the Präzisions-Uhrenfabrik Alpina, an alliance, however, doomed to disappear in 1917.
To Gottlieb Hauser, the watchmaking world also owes a dream come true, that of providing the ideal watch for sportsmen, technicians, adventurers... In 1938, twenty years after the brand became independent and five after a first sports watch, the Blockuhr, the Alpina 4 was launched following four principles and properties: the watch is non-magnetic, shockproof, waterproof and made of stainless steel. Along with quality, it combines precision and durability.
The Alpina 4 thus became the first sports watch of legend, a timekeeper adopted by mountaineers, pilots, divers and military personnel around the world.
A brand acquired by the Maison Frédérique Constant
The Alpina brand is synonymous with absolute reliability. The successes follow one another, with the first automatic movement Alpina in 1945 (the caliber 582), models like the Alpina 70, the Standard, or the Tropicproof, and then, in 1957 the appearance of the automatic sports watch with the Alpina President. Indeed, in the Swiss manufacture, the models follow one another at the Grand V speed - the brand will present nearly 1000 of them from 1958, while it creates in 1963 its first caliber for women.
But the storm comes ... In the early 1970s, the surge of Japanese electronic models - the so-called "quartz crisis" - rocks the ship Alpina. In 1972, all the shares of the company Alpina Union horlogère SA is bought by a German company, which repatriates all the activities in Cologne. The brand survived on the German market for thirty years, but no longer had the luster or success of the past.
In 2002, a Geneva-based manufacture will put an end to this gloomy period: the Maison Frédérique Constant buys Alpina, eager to complement its rather classic-style mechanical and quartz watch collections with sportier models. The brand is reconnecting with its home country and heritage.
The technical sports watches are back in the catalog with about 15 mechanical automatic models. Alpina is also returning to innovation, including the launch in 2005 of an exclusive regulator dial concept. To the sporty spirit, the Swiss brand combines an increasingly assertive design. The Regulator 1883 model, with manual winding, perfectly symbolizes this union between the sports watch and watchmaking tradition.
The rebirth, and emblematic Alpina collections
Alpina has returned to success and its reputation as a maker of high-flying watches. The Avalanche and then the Avalanche Extreme collections - with its large case - are among the best examples. For its part, the concept of the "4" as imagined in 1938 is making a strong comeback in 2016, with the Alpiner professional sports watch.
But Alpina has already taken on another challenge, that of the connected watch. As early as 2015, the Horological Smartwatch unveiled its analog time display and self-quantification features. Today, connected watches take on the names AlpinerX or StartimerX with a more traditional look for the seconds.
The "X" is actually added to the x names of the current collections. Heir to the Alpina 4, Alpiner obeys the four principles previously mentioned, with a line of watches that are sturdy and resistant to the harshest conditions, but also easy to wear on a daily basis thanks to their classic design.
Automatic, chronograph, quartz or automatic regulator, Alpiner watches are available in a large number of models at affordable prices, from 795€ for an Alpiner Quartz to 1895€ for the Alpiner Regulator Automatic Dark Blue.
The other collections are also distinguished by their wide variety of mechanisms. Indeed, if Alpiner represents the earth, the air is embodied by the Pilot's Watch Startimer collection, with its ultra legible dials and oversized crowns. The sea, meanwhile, is materialized in the diver's watches Seastrong, which are water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters. "