Taking Flight: Discovering The Retro Joy Of Alpina’s Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph
More than just the first chronograph in the collection, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph now provides over 40 percent more power reserve than its predecessors, courtesy of a new movement.
If you’re an aviation buff, you probably have a traditional pilot watch. You know, large, legible, and open dial, Arabic numerals and indexes, high-contrast hands, all housed in a round puck-sized case with an oversized crown. A classic pilot watch is a must-have in any serious watch wardrobe.
But Alpina's Startimer Pilot Heritage collection offers aviation buffs something a little different: timepieces to meet any flyboy’s exacting standards, but a little less supersized. And now, Alpina is adding another stylish addition to the family, the vintage-inspired Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph.
Frequent fliers have always been attracted to the Startimer because of its distinctive look. Its unique case falls somewhere between a cushion and a "Bullhead" shape, a design that is more often associated with motorsport timepieces. Also, with its 42 x 40.75mm diameter, it’s a little better proportioned for most wrists.
And now, with the addition of a chrono complication, it looks sportier than most Pilot watches. Appropriate, considering that Alpina basically invented the sports watch in 1883.
Currently, this bicompax chronograph comes in two versions: a relatively reserved pale grey and anthracite and a racy blue and grey with red hands. For extra throwback appeal, both variations feature a stainless steel case that is polished on the sides and satin-finished on top. The Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph is a funky but functional timepiece, with circular guilloché counters for improved light diffusion and hour and minute baton hands treated in Super-LumiNova for visibility in all light conditions.
The silver dial comes on a handsome brown leather strap, the blue with a black leather band.
The most attractive feature of the Startimer Pilot Heritage Chronograph is that it’s a monopusher — a tip of the hat to Alpina’s first sport chronographs. Not only does it stand out aesthetically, but the single-push-piece is also based on a movement by La Joux-Perret. An upgrade for sure!
This chronograph measures short time intervals (30 minutes) thanks to its 28-jewel automatic AL-727 calibre, which oscillates at a high frequency of 4 Hz to maintain accuracy and shock-resistance. Also important to travelers, this new movement offers a 55-hour power reserve, which is almost 45% longer lasting than anything in the Startimer line.
Best of all, both versions are priced at just $2,795. At that price, it will make a great entry-level piece for anyone who wants to test the wind with a pilot watch (or an inexpensive option for those who want to increase their collection’s aeronautical influence).
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)