With Baselworld 2016 just around the corner, we see the release of the Alpina “Full Black” Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph. For those not in the know about the Alpina Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph, it debuted the in-house AL-760 calibre, and this all-black version is the refreshed and sportier sibling of the original 2015 model. While its predecessor donned a classic brushed and polished steel suit, this new version presents a more virile attire courtesy of the black PVD coating that covers the 44mm-diameter case. In addition, the PVD coating is great protection against daily wear and tear and gives the chrono a sportier and more contemporary edge.
The chronograph is the one of the most popular complications in the watch arena, and with the proliferation of cheap quartz chronos on the market, the function is often taken for granted. This is hardly the case here, as developing and manufacturing a chronograph complication is, well, pretty complicated. So, when Alpina announced the debut of its AL-760 in-house calibre last year, ears pricked up in the watch world. For a company of its size to develop a flyback chronograph movement from scratch and do battle in such a fiercely competitive segment of the market was in itself remarkable. A fresh new look for the watch is certainly a welcome addition to the collection and for buyers who prefer a cool PVD look.
An unusual feature on the Alpina “Full Black” Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph is the positioning of the rectangular pushers which are aligned with the crown. The crown, engraved with the Alpina logo, rises above the pushers and the lack of protectors on either side calls for caution as a direct hit might well break it. It was actually for this very reason that Omega fitted the crown of its Speedmaster with protectors. It is, however, a screw-in crown, a vital aspect for a watch that is water-resistant to 100 meters.
The black sunburst dial houses three sub-dials with a 30-minute counter at 3, date at 6, and small seconds at 9 o’clock. The three counters are slightly sunken and have circular rings, which improves legibility while providing depth to the dial. Big, sturdy indexes and hands of the Alpina “Full Black” Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph accentuate the masculine look of the timepiece and are visible in low light thanks to the beige luminous coating. The color beige is also used to highlight the telemeter located on the outer rim of the dial.
Despite housing a movement measuring 30.5mm in a 44mm case, the AL-760 sub-counters have plenty of space between them, which makes for a more attractive and legible layout on the dial. And there must be plenty of space inside the flyback chronograph module too, because it is composed of just 96 parts. Even though the caseback is solid (we’ll try and have images of that once we get hands-on with the watch), the calibre has been adorned with Côtes de Genève and perlage decoration, anglage for the bridges, and a PVD-coated rotor. The movement operates at 4Hz, but has a power reserve of 38 hours which may be a bit low for some.
The refreshed, dark look of the Alpina “Full Black” Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph provides a nice variation on the line and, really, we hope to see even more come out. Price for the PVD coated watch is actually around the same as the original version at $4,750. alpina.com