The AlpinerX uses the MMT-283-1 smartwatch movement that we’ve seen Alpina use in their previous smartwatches. Something interesting I found when I first unboxed this watch, is that you can’t actually set the time using the crown. The crown doesn’t pop out, but instead features a button that can be depressed to cycle through the modes on the watch.
In order to set the time, you have to pair the AlpinerX to your smartphone. In theory, the pairing process is quite simple; open the app, depress the crown button once, and the app will detect the watch and pair it to your phone quickly. On my Android phone, I was never able to get the watch to pair to the AlpinerX app – it would always display that no watch was found nearby. However, using the “MMT-365” app (Alpina’s standard companion app), it paired quickly and easily. I tested this watch using a friend’s iPhone, and the pairing process did work as intended on the AlpinerX app. While this is likely a bug that will get ironed out quickly, it’s something to consider if you’re in the Android camp like myself.
The standard functions of the watch can be viewed and utilized by pressing the button on the crown to cycle through, and adjusted & activated using either a turn of the crown, or the chronograph pushers. Empowering the MMT-283-1, are the 5 onboard sensors: Altitude, Barometer, Compass, UV, and temperature. In addition to the data collected and displayed by the sensors, the AlpinerX also features a chronograph, alarm, 2nd time zone, and call/message notifications as pushed by your phone.
Via all its sensors, the AlpinerX is constantly recording data on your movement and activity, which is available for viewing and digesting in the companion app. Things like your UV exposure, steps taken, and sleep history are all visible. Based on this collected data, the app will then give you tips on how to improve and help you set goals via the Dynamic Coach feature. While all of that is cool, I ultimately referenced it very little during my time with the watch – as it turns out, there wasn’t much to learn about my usual commute to and from work. For the data-obsessed fitness geek, however, this is a step above the data provided by the usual fitness tracker, and I’m sure would be very valuable.
There are a lot of fun features with this movement that I discovered just by messing around with the watch. For instance, while on wrist, a quick press of the crown will illuminate the digital display backlight, while also moving the hands out of the way of the screen if they’re currently blocking it. And while I have little use for a compass day to day, I did enjoy that the compass function of the watch uses the hour and minute hand to display direction, similar to the Tissot T-Touch. All in all, the MMT-283-1 provided as much of a smartwatch experience as I would want, and nothing more.
Included with the AlpinerX is an Alpina branded rubber strap with a deployant clasp. Rubber straps are very hit-or-miss for me, but the Alpina rubber is really comfortable. The material is roughly 3.5mm thick, and is soft and pliable, not overly sticky, and wasn’t a dust magnet like some rubber straps can be. Stamped into the strap are the words “Alpina” and “Geneve,” which reminds me of (again) the older Breitling Aerospace Hershey-bar style rubber straps. Combined with the deployant clasp, this makes for a pretty great strap setup. One thing to note here is that this is a cut-to-fit rubber strap, meaning you’ll need to trim it to fit your wrist. Thanks to the 22mm lugs, if the rubber isn’t your thing, it can be easily swapped for something more your speed.
While not an aspect of the watch, I do find it important to reference how Alpina has released the AlpinerX. While we’re used to plenty of micro-brands making their debut on Kickstarter, it’s certainly odd to see an established Swiss brand debut their product on the platform. I find this to be an interesting approach. As we see many Swiss brands trying new and inventive ways to reach a younger generation of customers via brand ambassadors, event sponsorships, and limited editions, Alpina has instead chosen to go to Kickstarter. They certainly didn’t need the funds, and if they wanted to do a pre-order, they could have easily hosted it on their website and gotten plenty of orders.
Going to Kickstarter allowed them to attract a different type of consumer and introduce a new crowd to not only the Alpina brand, but Swiss watches as a whole. I’ll be interested to see if any other well established brands follow suit.
Unlike many, I don’t have a deep-seated hatred for Smartwatches. Working in the tech space, I admire the functionality and impressiveness of the technology. However, as a watch geek, I’ve never been able to kick a traditional watch off my wrist to make way for one. What Alpina has created here is a nice happy medium. The AlpinerX provides as much smartwatch functionality as I’d want, while still retaining an overall vibe of a traditional watch. Yes, it’s still powered by a battery, yes it has a digital display, and neither of those things are a negative in my book.
What Alpina has done here is show that Switzerland is willing to embrace modern technology without abandoning their roots. While the technology still has some kinks in it (such as not pairing well on Android), Alpina has overall offered an impressive product here, especially at the Kickstarter prices. While the Kickstarter campaign for this watch has concluded, the watch will be available for purchase later in 2018 with prices starting at $995. alpinawatches.com
>Size: 45mm diameter, 55mm lug-to-lug, 14mm case height
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, but not as a daily-wearer.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The data-obsessed outdoorsman or the technology enthusiast.
>Best characteristic of watch: The technology and functionality provided by the sensors.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Case size. I’d be more likely to consider this as a daily piece had they shrunk it down a bit.