Hand-Winding matters Of Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III
Do you have a diver’s watch, a three-counter, a watch with retrograde signs, a Reverso along with a Sixy-Nine but you’re still not the proud who owns real aviator’s watch? Not a problem the Swiss Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III that you could see during these pictures is most likely the best response to your shortage. Alpina continues to be creating aviator’s watches because the 20s/30s, the golden era of aviation when many aircraft pilots who risked their existence or perhaps dropped it within the make an effort to tame the very first large flying machines were putting on this kind of watch. It had been a period when everyone was still experimentation with flying so when designers and engineers began emigrate the large manual winding quality which were usually contained inside pocket watches right into a wristwatch’s situation. It had been even the time whenever a watch symbolized a lot more that the accessory, because it was utilized to calculate the rate of aircraft as well as the flight trajectory.
Two years ago, Alpina created two limited editions of that original timepiece; the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK II and the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III . Both watches were produced in 1883 pieces to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the founding year of the Union Horlogere – today known as Alpina and part of a single group, together with Frederique-Constant . Those two models are among the most interesting and authoritative aviator’s watches available on the market; they are big in size and they sport a manual winding caliber. This particular option is slowly coming back in fashion and more than one manufacturer has today decided to invest in it.
It was one of those rare occasions when the demand perfectly meets the request! Among one of the reasons for my purchase is the presence of the big Alpina AL-435 manual winding caliber, an Alpina re-elaboration of the Unitas 6498 caliber that had been originally created for the big pocket watches and that was later re-adapted to fit in the cases of the first wrist watches. The caliber features continuous seconds at 6 o’clock and the movement runs at 2.5 Hz. ETA , who is the owner of that specific kind of caliber, customized it for Alpina .
You can view the AL-435 caliber through the covered “ hunter case ”-style back-case of this timepiece. The caliber is one of the best decorated ones currently available on the market, it features Cotes-de-Geneve decoration, browned wheels that have been customized through the “ Alpina – Geneve ” writing and blued screws too. The big case has been entirely brushed, except for a thin ring, it also sports a perfectly flat sapphire and an extremely large dial.
When worn, the timepiece seems a bit over-powering but it is actually quite thin. The winding crown is not excessively big and it gives the user a rewarding feeling of sturdiness and consistency when used to rewind the timepiece. The caliber doesn’t feature any power reserve indication so you need to get used to the ritual of the instinctive rewinding movement that you should perform during the day to avoid the watch from suddenly stopping working.
The dial is one of the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III ‘s elements enhancing this timepiece’s “cool factor”. It is matte black and it sports big and thick applied indexes, Alpina decorated them with a nickel-made edge and filled them with SuperLuminova cream colour, a choice that has been also adopted on the two central hands. The nickel edge has the natural ability to reflect every single light ray so, if you take a picture of the dial from above, you will see it emanate matted hues, but when you take a look at it from a different angle, you will notice a mixture of bright hues instead. This is a special effect that definitely matters, the MK III might look less vintage than the MKII but it also gives the user a “premium feel” that lets you think to have bought something that costs much more than it actually does.
The only flaw of the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III is its wristband; I imagine that the manufacturer wanted to reproduce the double wristbands of the original aviator’s watches, but their choice actually backfired; it is way too hard and it doesn’t really fit the big case so, unless you tighten the wristband to the max, it looks as if you were wearing a big eccentric mass around your waist rather than a timepiece. One of the first things that I will do is to look for an alternative soft wristband, as black as the dial, featuring a buckle and made of rolled and aged leather, the best option for this type of timepiece and something that I suggest Alpina to think about.
A new Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage MK III retails at about 1,600 euro – 1,700 euro and it is one of the best options available on the market if you are a fan of modern aviator’s watches that resemble the original army models. This timepiece is designed for those users with a big wrist, it features a manual winding crown like the original models and you can customize it with a different wristband. After all, this timepiece has written the history of the previous century and it deserves to be appreciated.