Just the other month we brought you word of the newest watches in the Alpina Alpiner 4 lineup, where the 4 represents four features – anti-magnetic, anti-shock, water resistant, and stainless steel. These make for an extremely solid and robust base from which to build out a sports watch. This is our first foray into some hands-on time with the brand, so let’s have a closer look at the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic, shall we?
Before we get watches in, we generally have some sense of how we’ll feel about the watch. Then there are some special situations where you open up the packaging, and immediately know that you are really going to enjoy spending time with the watch in question (if you couldn’t tell, that’s what happened here). What struck me immediately about the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic was the interplay of the “glacier blue” dial against the rich brown leather strap (which itself has a reddish tone on the sides and back).
As soon as I had the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic on my wrist, I needed to double-check the spec sheet for the case size. While this watch does indeed feature a 44mm case, it wears much more like a 42 on the wrist. I think this is due to the visual balance you get between the large dial and the relatively slim bezel (bi-directional, for those wondering), as well as the less-common 22mm lugs.
What this sets up is a watch that is striking on the wrist, without actually coming across like a giant puck. Combine that with a weight of 118g, and you have a great daily companion. In fact, with the brown strap, it’s perfect for the office. I think if you swapped a black strap in, you would very easily have a watch that works for dressier situations as well.
This isn’t because the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic is a particularly thin watch, but because of the (literal) polish it brings to the table. While the top surfaces of the watch and lugs are indeed a brushed finish, the beveled edges of the lugs (and case) are polished, as are the hands and indices. This brings a nice bit of sparkle to the watch, which for me, helps sell a watch as fitting in well with a suit and tie.
As to the dial itself, that blue certainly lends itself to a variety of situations. Then again, blue is my favorite color, so your mileage may vary (there are also black and silver dials available). Against the darker shade of blue, the polished, lume-filled indices and handset stand out in sharp contrast, which meant it was never a problem to get the time at a glance. Reading the date does take a bit more looking, but fortunately that’s because the darker window (not quite color-matched) blends in.
Normally, I am not particularly a fan of a lot of text on the dial of a watch, and I was unsure how I’d feel about all that on the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic. At a high level, it balances things out north-to-south. In the end, it really didn’t bother me. Sure, I could do without it, but I can also see how it calls to mind other Swiss sport watches (and the lineage) that proudly displayed their rough-and-ready specs on the dial. In some ways, it serves as a reminder to the wearer that, yes, this is a sport watch, so don’t be afraid to wear the watch.
As I mentioned at the outset, this was the first time I had gone hands-on with anything from Alpina. I’ve checked out various watches from their stablemate Frederique Constant, and I find the shift over to a sporty look (and capability) to be refreshing. I also appreciate the fact that they keep the “affordable Swiss watch” story rolling here, as the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic commands a price of $1,395 – certainly a much more affordable price point than some other Swiss sport watches.
So, yes. I, for one, am a fan of the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic, and will certainly add in Alpina to my general recommendation to friends who are looking to get into a more luxurious watch without breaking the bank. Between the two, it boils down to a question of style preferences (classic/traditional vs sportier), of course. Then again, I think the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic makes quite the case for a watch that serves both casual and dress needs (albeit with a strap change in the midst). Let us know in the comments what you think of this newest Alpina, and what your favorite affordable Swiss sports watches are. alpina-watches.com
- Brand & Model: Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic
- Price: $1,395
- Who’s it for?: You want affordable, you want Swiss, and you want something sportier
- Would I wear it?: Absolutely – and I’d definitely pick up a black strap to swap in as well
- What I’d change: If I was nit-picking, I wouldn’t mind if the case was a bit thinner
- The best thing about it: The “all-occasions” style
Tech Specs from Alpina
- 44mm stainless steel case
- Sapphire crystal
- Bi-directional bezel, 60-minute markings
- 100m WR
- Anti-magnetic (ISO764)
- Sunray dial
- Movement: AL-525