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Alpina Startimer Classic Automatic Chrono Watch Has Very Sad Hands

Alpina Startimer Classic Automatic Chrono Watch Has Very Sad Hands Watch Releases

WTF Alpina? Seriously, is this a joke? Does this watch suffer from hereditary dwarfism? Can you even call a 44mm wide watch a dwarf? Oh, I am sorry, I meant “little watch.” No, the watch is the right size, but the hands, those sad pathetic looking hands, are shrunken at the least. Look at them looking all sad? Even the chronograph subdial hands feel bigger.

Alpina Startimer Classic Automatic Chrono Watch Has Very Sad Hands Watch Releases

I have no clue what Alpina was thinking when their designer approved the hands on this Startimer Classic Automatic Chronograph watch. More like TinyTimer. This is exactly the type of crap that pisses me off. This watch makes me want to yell obscenities. Everything else about this watch is fine if you are going for that retro chronograph watch look – but those hands, what the hell is up with those stupid tiny hands? This isn’t just a mistake, this is horological abuse.

Do I need to even explain to anyone why or how the hour, minute, and chronograph seconds hands are small beyond excuse? Maybe this is a joke. Maybe Alpina is just messing with me. I can see them in Geneva giggling like 7th grade pranksters. “E-mail it to Ariel, make sure he thinks it is serious! Huh hu, he is gonna flip!” It wouldn’t be the first time…

Alpina Startimer Classic Automatic Chrono Watch Has Very Sad Hands Watch Releases

The watch dial even has a pulsograph for measuring pulse. Pretty worthless with those hands. The chronograph seconds hand only goes so far as the start of the hour indicators. WHY?! Screw it, I don’t even want to be nice or attempt to figure this out anymore. If you are the person who designed this dial then please never be in the same room with me. You not only embarrass an otherwise decent brand, but you display with incredible clarity just how inept you are a watch or industrial designer. Go back to making dollhouses. Repugnant. This watch gives me vertigo and makes we want to give up analog watches altogether and buy a digital Casio.

If you haven’t had enough short-handedness or simply don’t get the point of what I am saying, click over here for more.


P.S. Had I not been so overtaken with the teeny tiny hands I might have also commented that as a chronograph watch this piece appears to have no chronograph pushers as well!

UPDATE: Alpina figured out the problem and “fixed” the Startimer Classic Chronograph. After all has been said and done here is the piece you’ll be able to buy. All cleaned up and pretty:

Alpina Startimer Classic Automatic Chrono Watch Has Very Sad Hands Watch Releases

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  • George

    Bwwwaaaahhaaahhhaa! Love it! Your response that is, not the watch!

  • Frank Reitz

    I’ve been following you for over a year and don’t recall a review quite like this one. How about a little less visceral and a little more objective. It’s not that bad.

    • Frank, thanks for the note. I take what you say to heart. I want to tell you that I am a very passionate guy. I do what I do because of my passion for watches and the industry – and to purpose something I love. Once in a while something so ridiculous is released I just can’t keep my composure and have to express myself – I pass a line from being a more passive commentator to injecting much more personal opinion when I just feel that strong about something. It comes with the territory when you dedicate your life to something. Thanks for following what I do.

      • pat I.

        Nah. Visceral is good. Keep it coming.

  • Jack oleary

    Dude, you must have been picked on as a child for looking like a dwarf with a big head and little arms! Whats up with the viterol? The watch looks fine. Relax

    • No, nothing like that. If you like the watch in its totality, I won’t stop you.

  • P. Merle

    I totally agree with Ariel.
    Those horrible hands are merely obscene, something like an atrocity against the harmony of proportions. They left the watch unfinished, as if they had not enough material for the hands in the end.

  • I am in complete agreement with Ariel on this one. I was chuckling as I read what some other readers have referred to as “vitriol”. After nearly twenty years of my life spent wearing the uniform of a United States Marine, and United States Sailor – – – I certainly recognize “tongue outta cheek” humor when I read it.

    Those of you who cannot see that Ariel has a keenly honed, sharp sense of humor, are simply not paying rapt attention. Which is precisely what the designers of this particular Alpina were doing when they designed this piece. Not paying rapt attention.

    How else to explain such a terrible oversight as those overly dwarfish hands? If I want a dwarf hand – – – I’ll get a Doxa.


    • Thanks for getting it Jim 🙂

  • Frederick

    It is that bad! You were right on.

  • Ron

    Between the Fortis B-47 and this, there must be a “shortage” of hands.

  • Ulysses

    It’s a lovely watch. Hands, you say? What hands? Where are they? Ariel is quite right though – it’s completely obvious that the hands are far smaller than anyone would expect. This is why I am leaning towards thinking this is a joke. As for those “arm-reduction” photos… why? They look like victims of thalidomide.

  • ray

    Everyday I find myself agreeing with you more and more on the small hands issue. I do however like the dial itself. What’s your stand on no hands by the way?

  • Aaron

    Haha, I love your passion, Ariel. It’s so refreshing to see someone take a watch/watch manufacturer to task for their missteps, as the tendency for most people who review watches is to be as diplomatic as possible.

  • Chris I

    I have read lots of reviews on this site targeting small hands on watches. I was not always (but sometimes) in agreement that the hands were as bad as you suggested.


    This review is spot on!

    This watch must be a joke being played on you Ariel…

  • Dean Grant Baker

    Are we sure this is a real watch?

  • Dean Grant Baker

    you can spoof an email address; if they really wanted to; Nothing on Alpina’s Facebook page or their news release section on their website.

    They state that there are four pieces in the collection, and NONE look like that, is this a “fifth piece”?

    Further that complication, pulsation is NOT a traditional Pilot’s complication/dial.
    That would make it a “Doctor’s watch”.

  • Dean Grant Baker

    that dial is from a PP. the 5170J.

    • Dean Grant Baker

      As is; the chrono hand is too short to touch the pulsation chapter ring; so you would need to guess.

  • cluedog12

    I think the hidden pushers are the more interesting feature here…even more hidden than the JLC Amvox 2!

    Who are we kidding? …Really, it does look to be a terrible mock-up. If you’re trying to trick the FC / Alpina group into sponsoring a watch giveaway to restore their reputation…well I think that would be am excellent idea for both parties.

    • cluedog12

      For my next trick, I will respond to my own message to call attention to myself.

      If you do hear back from Alpina via email and they do offer you a watch to give away…make sure you give them a call to confirm!

  • damian

    Despite the hopes that this is fake, I would assume not. The reasoning might be that they came to a firm conclusion on how the dial should look. With that in mind they looked at hands as a after thought. Possibly if they used hands from the previous aviators, the hour hand would come and meet the dial numerals. Possibly inhibiting the readability of the watch (not like it’s good in it’s current state). The hands work when considering the hour markers. However, the seconds hand would have to be longer to function with pulsograph. It could have been a nice watch.

  • WOW, that is truly horrific. What were they thinking?!

  • SteFan

    🙂 temper ,temper Ariel

    How about tooth pics and duct tape ?

  • Chicagowatcher

    Lilliputian hands are not to be desired! It’s practically impossible to tell the time accurately on this watch, unless it’s 12. This watch sucks (and I like other Alpinas). Ariel is right.

  • Christian

    I agree, it’s repulsive.

  • Garry

    Who do you think you are to criticize that way?! Whether you like the hands or not you are absolutely not entiteled to talk about the work of Alpina in such a bad way. Call yourself a “trusted independent watch media”… do you really think the brands will confide in you after this…. ? Expressing your opinion is great. That way not.

    • Thanks for the comment Garry. I know a lot of the people at Alpina. They are good people who have constitutions that can take this and more. Plus, I think commentary like this pretty much proves that I am independent. In addition to other things I review watches, and this is simply a critique of a large oversight. Alpina will take this information and not make the same mistake again – they know my only wish is for them to release the best timepiece possible. I knew this article would be polarizing and I enjoy the healthy debate. While many people liked it, you didn’t. That’s cool. It isn’t possible for me to satisfy everyone all the time.

      • Greg

        And to think, it was only a little over 2 weeks and a Perrelet ago that you were being accused of liking everything! Haha 🙂

        • Lol. Boy I sure showed them.

  • John

    In the Art World there are numerous Art Critics but they are basically in two camps; those who love Art and those that love to hate Art.
    The first type, such as Andrew Graham-Dixon convey enthusiasm, erudition and insight to both classical and contemporary Art. By having a deep understanding of both visual and written language, he makes a substantial contribution to our cultural life.
    The second type, such as Brian Sewell is very keen on Classical and Renaissance Art and is a proponent of ‘the aesthetic constant’ i.e. classical proportions are, and always will be, beautiful. As such, he is not keen on any Art made after 1650 but is keen on writing about contemporary Art.
    He sets about this task with a kind of imperious glee and rants against what he sees as any effrontery to his aesthetic. Of course, there is an appetite for this rejection of contemporary work, which is often challenging and misunderstood. Personally, I am dubious if this approach contributes much other than to confirm parochial prejudices.

  • kris c

    Love the crown, but where are the chrono pushers?
    umeone is trying you on about the hands Ariel, so I’ll leave that alone – I do hope it is a prank, because its actually a very attractive piece, but I also hope they brushed the pushers out of the photo as well.

  • Jeff

    Weren’t the Swiss big on form follows function? Looks like you need to hold up a straight edge to make sure you get someone’s pulse right – doesn’t a watch have to follow the Hippocratic oath and do no harm? I have a new term for this design idea – T-Rex Hands.

  • Nat

    Ariel, I agree with you 100% as far as the pint-sized hands go. Watches with hands that are too short for their dials are one of my cardinal design peeves, with the 2010 Rolex Explorer (214270) being one of the most recent high-profile culprits. While the Explorer’s hands are nowhere as bad as the Alpina you lambasted, they’re short enough to have turned people back to the discontinued 114270, myself included.

    My (admittedly stringent) readability rules when it comes to watch hands: the minute hand must extend far enough to overlap with the dial’s minute markers, but not so far as to touch the second markers (presuming the dial has them). If there are second markers, a central second hand must extend far enough to overlap with them. Finally, the hour hand must be short, wide, or different in shape enough to readily distinguish it from the minute hand.

    A classic example of watch hands done right: the Omega Speedmaster Professional 3570.00.

    • Thanks Nat, at least some people do have standards 🙂 I appreciate that.

  • finch

    I found the right version of this Alpina on their website (in the virtual catalogue section). You should have a look at the page 93

    This timepiece has the same hands as the other timepieces of the Pilot collection: then your article make no sense to me!



    • Well looks like they finished the design. I promise you that these images were sent to me straight for the source. Glad that fixed the issues.

      • cluedog12

        Somebody really screwed up the original mock-up that was sent out to all the blogs – they’re so glaringly wrong that there must be a good story behind it. Any chance you could get the scoop from Alpina?

        • I’ll ask if I get a chance. I was happy to eventually learn that this was likely a big mistake from their end.

  • FlyingMoose

    It looks like Alpina took your review to heart; the released version of the watch has more appropriate hands.

    • watch industry marketing people aren’t always rocket scientists….