August 31, 2022
by Tom Roth
Geneva Watch Days has already seen plenty of great releases from brands like MB&F, Oris, and Bulgari. Yet with the benefit of even a few days of hindsight, the prize for most compelling release could end up in the humble hands of none other than Alpina. The Citizen-owned purveyor of watches has been turning out workhorse pieces since the brand was re-launched as part of Frederique Constant in 2002, and now, 20 years later, the Extreme Regulator Automatic has turned enough heads in Geneva and beyond to merit a thorough look.
Right up top, let’s clarify one burning question: What is a regulator watch? This eminently unique style is (despite what Warren G and Nate Dogg might have you believe) quite user-friendly and accessible. Boiling the essential functions of a watch into discrete subdials, regulators ensure that time-telling is as easy as small hand for small units (seconds), medium hand for medium units (minutes), and big hand for big units (hours). It can feel almost anti-climactic realizing that for all the dynamism of the regulator dial, it’s still just a three-hander. No GMT or chronograph to be found here. Rare as they are, it’s precisely this special way of displaying the information of time that makes regulators popular among collectors.
For 2022, the Extreme Regulator brings this style into the future, housing the industrialized dial in a sport-style case featuring bezel rivets that are radially symmetrical. Mercifully, this avoids the problem some sports watches encounter wherein the flathead screws of the bezel misalign at crazy orientations, driving — ahem — “geometrically picky” watch nerds mad. The ruggedness extends throughout the rest of the cushion case, with angular lines cruising around the lugs, crown, and even the crown guards. Sure, they may not be the most functional guards around but they look dang good in images, especially following the stepped angles around to the fitted blue rubber strap, textured to complement the matching texture on the crown.
Inside, the hands are driven by the 38-hour AL-650 caliber automatic movement, the same one that powered Alpina’s original regulator watches in 2005 when the watch was first introduced. In fact, it was the regulator style that helped revive the Alpina brand, long dormant since the Quartz Crisis. That said, the Alpiner Extreme Regulator is limited to an auspicious 888 pieces, meaning it could prove a hot commodity that disappears as fast as it arrives. Add to this the $2,295 USD price tag and the Alpiner finds itself in definite value territory — a similarly styled sports watch with an integrated strap like the Bell & Ross BR 03 can run you more than twice as much.
The Alpiner Extreme Regulator checks the easy and hard boxes alike. For every layup like luminous hour markers or a sapphire crystal, there’s a wholly unique detail like an embossed triangular pattern evoking Alpina’s mountain heritage. Similarly, the not-often-seen regulator style complements perhaps the Alpiner’s biggest asset: a 41mm case size. As watch fans chant for sub-42mm watches, this watch quietly accedes in a package that’s as wearable as it is compelling. For more information, please visit Alpina’s website.
Model: Alpiner Extreme Regulator
Dimensions: 41mm diameter
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Alpina AL-650 automatic regulator
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Navy blue rubber strap
Price & Availability: $2,295 USD (limited to 888 pieces worldwide)