Alpina’s 2020 Novelties Emphasize The Brand’s Commitment To Women And Sustainability
Alpina has started summer with a bang by announcing three new models: the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic, Seastrong Diver Comtesse, and Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz.
This week, Frederique Constant’s sister brand Alpina debuted its summer 2020 releases with a web presentation by Brand Director, Oliver Van Lanschot Hubrecht. It was a well-edited collection, which allowed Van Lanschot Hubrecht to focus on Alpina’s strong ties to nature and its long history with women’s watches.
These three models show us that Alpina is focusing on summer-ready timepieces while making a strong statement about the brand’s priorities for the future.
The history of Alpina is forever entwined with the great outdoors. The brand introduced the ultimate alpine watch with the Alpiner 4, in 1938, but it also started making sports watches for women as far back as the 1920s. First brought to life in 1963, as a manifestation of Swiss Alpine Chic, the Comtesse is the kind of timepiece you can wear just as easily on the rolling hills as in the chalets of St. Moritz.
In 2015, these two traditions came together with a range of elegant, automatic watches. Now, in 2020, the Alpina Comtesse Sport Quartz collection — starting at 695 euros — is the more affordable iteration of this classic women’s sport watch for younger buyers.
This new collection consists of three stainless steel watches, each with a 36.5mm case, a date window at 6 o’clock, applied silver Arabic numerals, polished hours and minutes hands treated with white lume, and a seconds hand adorned Alpina’s red triangle logo, and 8 diamond-studded indices.
The first model features a steel bracelet and bezel with a silver dial that, more than the other two models, highlights the red Alpina triangle on the seconds hand.
The second model also features a stainless steel bracelet, but the bezel and dial are Alpina's famous shade of blue. This hue shifts hypnotically between blue and turquoise, depending on how the light hits it. More importantly, this shade provides perfect legibility, which is a must-have for any serious sports watch.
The third member of the Alpina Comtesse Sport Quartz family is the proverbial “Little Black Dress” of timepieces. This iteration's bracelet and bezel are coated with jet-black PVD, and with its matching black dial, the diamond-studded indices really pop.
All of the models are also robust, powered by a 1 jewel, AL-240 caliber quartz movement with a 45-month battery life. And the two-part steel cases, engraved with the image of Alpine summits, and water resistance up to 60 m. Finally, the timepieces are secured with a flexible, durable steel bracelet.
For Alpina, the future is female. “It’s a huge space for us to grow and thrive,” said Van Lanschot Hubrecht. “We are keeping the sportiness and sturdiness of a strong sports watch but giving it a more contemporary feel with diamonds.”
ROLLING IN THE DEEP
The name Alpina may evoke images of mountain peaks, but the brand has historical ties to the oceans as well.
The new Seastrong Diver Comtesse range pays tribute to Alpina’s first water sports watches designed nearly 60 years ago. “It’s important to bring that history of the Comtesse forward,” said Van Lanschot Hubrecht. But he also adds that this diver is not a vintage style revival. It’s a wholly original union between the brand’s Seastrong Diver collections and the sporty-chic Comtesse range.
This timepiece is made for underwater exploration. The Seastrong Diver Comtesse offers guaranteed 300m water resistance, and for maximum functionality, a graduated unidirectional bezel, screw-down caseback and crown, and broad luminescent hands to mark one’s immersion time.
Alpina is offering four versions of the Seastrong Diver Comtesse, all housed in a slim 34mm steel case. The variations feature steel or rubber straps with very recognizable, mother-of-pearl dials in blue or white. Set under a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, these faces have a shimmery, iridescent effect that recalls the surface of the ocean. But when you dive deeper, you also get a resilient AL-240 quartz calibre that keeps accurate time for nearly four years.
And each piece displays its Alpina DNA through the maison's red triangle on the seconds hand counterbalances, as well as at 12 o’clock on the unidirectional bezel and the dial. On the caseback, you’ll find an engraving of Alpine peaks and Poseidon’s trident, paying tribute to the brand’s mountaineering and deep-sea diving traditions. This glamorous diver is priced at $1,495.
For almost 140 years, Alpina has been linked to the great outdoors. And the brand aspires to keep its promise to honor and explore the planet for at least another 140 more.
The new Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic line is the embodiment of this commitment. For the first time in its history, the range features a case comprised of 70% plastic debris salvaged from fishing nets collected in the Indian Ocean. For extra durability, the remaining 30% is bolstered using fiberglass.
The name of the line is a result of a collaboration between Alpina and Bernard Werk, the owner of the Netherlands-based magazine Watching. Werk is also invested in the preservation of the oceans and created the concept of a super sturdy watch made from plastic found floating in the seas.
Eight to ten million tons of plastic waste is dumped in the water every year, so Werk and his co-founder, Jorrit Niels, dubbed their company Gyre, referring to the giant circular ocean patterns that use plastic debris to form garbage masses, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Three years later, Gyre partnered with Alpina to create a timepiece with a sustainable footprint.
Gyre is responsible for sourcing the recycled material that makes up the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic’s black composite case. It’s also worth mentioning that its first time this eco-responsible blend has complied with the European Union's REACH legislation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals).
Composite cased dive watches are not a novel idea (Hello, Fortis Flipper!), but this particular technology is a first for Alpina. “Sustainability is a key element,” said Van Lanschot Hubrecht. “On one hand, we want to raise awareness, but the long-term objective is to share this kind of innovation.”
Even the straps are sustainable, available in three, sharp-looking two-tone NATO-style straps made from recycled plastic bottles. Alpina is also offering a black vegetable leather strap made of recycled apple waste for the men's models.
The Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic range is composed of five variations, including three men’s models (44mm) and two ladies' models (36mm). These editions are available in three, aquatically influenced dial finishes of blue, turquoise, and dyed mother-of-pearl. Complete with luminescent hands and indices. The second hands are finished with the famous Alpina triangle logo, which also features an index hour marker at 12 o’clock. The models also include the Seastrong collection's signature unidirectional bezel.
Each model is powered by the in-house AL-525 automatic movement, featuring three hands and a date window at 3 o’clock. Each piece is certified water-resistant to 300 m.
The Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection is a limited series of 1,883 pieces each, in reference to the year Alpina was founded. These timepieces will be presented with an eco-friendly inner box made of FSC Mix paper, which houses a case made entirely from recycled plastics. To further cut down on packaging, this collection comes with a single leaflet (guarantee and certificate of authenticity) printed on FSC Recycled paper. The user manual will be accessible via a paperless QR code.
The watch is priced at $1,595, and for every Seastrong sold, $100 will be donated to Alpina’s partner, the National Park Foundation.
The Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic, Seastrong Diver Comtesse, and Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz will be available at the end of June and early July.
These new releases — the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic, Seastrong Diver Comtesse, and Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz — are just the first of Alpina's 2020 launches. “This is a portion of what we should have shown at Basel,” said Van Lanschot Hubrecht. “There’s a fantastic collection coming out in the fall.”
(Images © Alpina)