Alpina Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph:A New Manufacture Calibre AL-760 Alpina also made the hands luminous at night
Swiss Alpina is no stranger to the chronograph. The traditional Swiss company has been familiar with pocket-watches and wristwatches endowed with an additional stop function for over a hundred years. Nevertheless – and in this respect, there is no difference between Alpina and other renowned Manufactures – the movements ticking away inside the cases were always bought in. Suppliers included Landeron, Minerva and Valjoux. Without exception, they all supplied movement blanks with a guarantee of quality, precision and reliability of operation. The fine finishing of the components, assembly, casing up and final checks were of course all carried out in our own workshops. In this way, the watchmakers gained a wealth of expertise in the demanding field of mechanical timekeeping. So working together with established experts was no accident. For every watch brand, chronograph calibres represent an immense opportunity that poses a real challenge.
At Baselworld 2015, traditional Swiss watch brand Alpina launched its first automatic chronograph produced in-house. With the new automatic calibre AL-760, the technicians made the considered choice of a modular mode of construction based on the tried and tested AL-710 with a winding rotor operating in both directions. The control mechanism of the front-mounted chronograph is distinguished by its ingenious construction, which achieves the highest degree of functionality with only 96 components.
Special features of the new chronograph include a directly actuated flyback function. With this useful function, the 8th-second chronograph can be stopped and restarted from zero by pressing the push-piece just once. This function was invented in the 1930s to make it easier for pilots to use this most essential of instruments. In this case, the push-piece at 4 o’clock and its associated mechanism cause three tasks to be performed very quickly one after the other: first, the clutch is disengaged; secondly, the chronograph is reset to zero by means of the single-piece hammer, whose sloping surfaces turn the two zero reset hearts so that the hands position themselves vertically again; and thirdly, the clutch engages once more as soon as the push-piece is released.
The highly complex sequence of movements involved in this case proceeds directly from the push-piece to the clutch lever. This instant type of flyback is another instance of the unique details of construction of the new calibre AL-760.A counter at 3 o’clock adds cumulative times up to 30 minutes.Opposite, at 9 o’clock, the permanent-seconds hand rotates as usual. And incorporated into the Super-LumiNova-highlighted dial with the utmost harmony, the date hand is positioned at 6 o’clock. Of course, Alpina also made the hands luminous at night.
The AL-760 movement beats at a frequency of 4 Hertz in its large stainless steel case, reminiscent of the legendary “Alpina 4” of 1938. The sportily elegant stainless steel case measuring 45 millimetres in diameter is equipped with ergonomically shaped chronograph push-pieces, screw-down winding and setting crown, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The screwed case back bears the well-known Alpina logo. The wristwatch, available with a stainless steel bracelet or alligator strap, is water-resistant to a pressure of ten atmospheres.