In honor of a new Alpina sponsorship that I could care less about comes a watch that I do care about. Apparently, this one is the first in a "Sailing Collection" of watches made for ... Sailing. This Chronograph model is a regatta timer - a first, I believe, for the Swiss brand. Regatta timers are used for helping sailors to carefully line up their boats with the beginning of a yacht race. They are, basically, modified 10 minute countdown timers. Unless you are sailing, they are pretty much useless for anything aside from imprecise 10 minute countdowns. The good news is that they are relatively diminutive on the dial and add a fun sense of color. Plus, you get to explain to people who don't own deck shoes what a regatta is.
The chronograph is based on a modified SW500 automatic movement that is Sellita's take on the ETA Valjoux 7750. This one of the first times that I have seen it used and it is supposed to be a pretty nice movement. For at least the last few decades, yacht timers have often taken the form of little circles that move from one color to another as time goes down. People operating a racing boat don't have time to look at little hands, so the circle and color system makes seeing how much time you have left at a glance fairly simple. It also leaves the dial open.
The case is 44mm wide in steel and clearly has some resemblance to the IWC Aquatimer. I like the large crown and masculine, but not too massive, chronograph pushers. The watch is water-resistant to 300m which is pretty good for a diver style chronograph. One thing I don't get is the markers on the rotating bezel. They look cool, sure, but why a navigational bezel? I mean, it isn't totally without use, but it feels more for show than anything else. I would prefer a more standard diver's style bezel with a 60 minute ring - a 60 minute countdown ring might be interesting, actually.
Coming in two dial colors (black or white), the Sailing Collection Chronograph will come with your choice of either a metal Milanese (mesh) bracelet or a rubber strap. I like the dials a lot but wish the hands were a bit more prominent (bigger!). Price is $2,795 on rubber and $2,995 on the metal bracelet.
Tech Specs From Alpina:
Reference: AL-880LB4V6/ AL-880LS4V6
Delivered in a special gift box with an Extreme 40 boat miniature
Automatic with yacht timer function, caliber AL-880 PVD Black coated Alpina rotor
Hours, minutes, seconds, yacht timer function.
Stainless steel case, 44 mm diameter
Sapphire crystal, see-through case back
Unidirectional turnable bezel
20 ATM Water-resistant
Black or white dial,
Large white luminous indexes
White luminous hands with Alpina red triangle signature on the second’s hand
Black rubber strap / metal bracelet / mesh bracelet