Last year we really enjoyed the new version of the Extreme Diver 300 (reviewed here) that Alpina released. A great value for the money, it was one of our top pick divers for the year. For 2013, Alpina added a chrono with the Extreme Diver 300 Chronograph Automatic. Fundamentally, the Chronograph is a similar watch with an added chrono function, but the dial and case have also been updated for this new piece. As chronographs go, the design is rather good. Alpina has kept it toned down so as not to disrupt the normally “open” style of dive watches, something that you don’t see all that often in diving chronographs.
I always have to ask myself how big the market for diving chronographs is. Most (not all) chronographs can’t be used underwater because pressing the pusher can break a seal and allow water into the case. The Extreme Diver 300 is water resistant to 300 meters as its name implies. I am not sure what the case is for the Extreme Diver 300, but unless a brand specifically mentions that you can use the chronograph underwater, then you shouldn’t. In that case, it is best to start the chronograph before a dive and stop it once you get back to the surface.
That is supposing a lot though, as we know most people who own dive watches don’t dive (much or at all). Don’t blame the wearers, there are just too many nice dive watches to go around! With that factor in mind, a diver chronograph makes more sense. In order to keep the dial simple on the Extreme Diver 300 Chronograph Automatic, Alpina decided to remove the running seconds hand. This doesn’t bother me as I appreciate the two sub dials and the more balanced main dial. If you really need to measure seconds you can just use the chronograph.
Compared to the three-hand version of the Extreme Diver 300, the Chronograph has more simple, circle-style applied hour markers. The hour markers and hands are all filled with SuperLumiNova lume. These make the dial look elegant and not at all cluttered. However, Alpina decided to keep the “open date” window that we didn’t particularly love about the original. It is actually a bit larger here which makes it more conspicuous. It isn’t a big deal, but is a design feature that we don’t fully understand as having a ton of appeal to watch designers.