September 14, 2016
by David Bredan
“Ice Legacy – Believe – Preserve – Transmit.” Behold, a worthy contender for the Most Random Selection Of Words On A Watch Dial 2016 Award, as featured on the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer. Beyond the at first baffling dial text, there actually is an interesting and competitive, if not entirely new offering released today by Alpina, so let us take a closer look.
Alpina, if you didn’t know, is Frédérique Constant’s sister brand, purchased and revived under FC in an effort to offer the parent brand’s strong points – competitive pricing, design, and quality – in a sportier package since the more elegant styling of Frédérique Constant would not have taken well to a sporty new direction. The Alpiner 4 collection has been around for a while, and our James Stacey has gone hands-on with (and understandably liked) the handsome-looking, original Alpiner 4 GMT here.
In a nutshell, the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer features a 44-millimeter-wide stainless steel case, with a most welcome water resistance rating of 100 meters, and is powered by the AL-550 “Jumping Hour” GMT movement. The “4” in the Alpiner 4 collection name refers to a 1938 collection from Alpina (that the brand says was the first “modern Swiss sports watch”), with the number 4 calling to: Stainless Steel, Water Resistant, Anti-Magnetic, and Anti-Shock. Because of this, the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer is ISO764 compliant and is certified to withstand magnetic fields of up to 4,800 A/m. Last, as for anti-shock properties, the watches are certified to the ISO1413 standard.
The movement, which likely remains unchanged from the original piece from two years ago and hence will likely remain hidden behind a solid steel case-back, is a Sellita SW-200 automatic base movement that provides a rather brief 38-hour-long power reserve. Alpina has added to it what will most likely remain an in-house-made module, that allows for the jumping hour setting of the local time, independent from the GMT and minutes indication. This way, when you’re traveling, you can adjust just the hour hand in one-hour increments, without messing up all other indications.
What’s new for the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer is what Alpina officially refers to as a Pepsi colorway – a term generally used for watches with a red-blue colored bezel or flange ring, but most often linked to the Rolex GMT-Master II (hands-on here). Interestingly, Alpina has painted red the 9-17 section, to highlight generally accepted business hours – which are proudly not at all adhered to by anyone on the aBlogtoWatch team, that I can promise you.
Two models will debut the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer, a black and a silver dialed version – kudos to Alpina for matching the colors of the date discs to the respective dial colors, admittedly a pet peeve of ours (and pretty much every seasoned watch enthusiast in the world). Something the official communication fails to enlighten us about is why the dial now says “Ice Legacy – Believe – Preserve – Transmit” – so I went through the trouble of Googling it and learned that two polar explorers, Borge Ousland and Vincent Colliard are walking 20 glaciers to “believe, preserve, transmit the glaciers and our ancestral ice to future generations.”
A genuinely novel quest supported by Alpina, but I am just not sure how well the preservation of ancestral ice and business hours come together. However, thanks to its otherwise rather neat design and competitive price, the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer watch is created to appeal to a wide range of prospective buyers. Add to that the bi-directional compass bezel, which is pretty handy stuff when looking for the most northern boarding gate at the airport. That being said, I do think a 60-scale timer bezel or a secondary 24-hour scale arguably would have better enhanced functionality.
Despite its some more, well, unique design elements, the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer is a solid-looking watch and one that nicely complements the established Alpiner 4 collection. If you read James’ hands-on, you’ll find he was impressed with the overall quality of execution of this piece. No word on official pricing yet, but because (save for a few minor text and color updates) the technical side of things remains largely unchanged over the models from two years ago, we’ll say that the price for the Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT Business Timer will likely be close to that of the previous models at around $2,495. alpina-watches.com