Introducing the Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph


Introducing the Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph


To coincide with the opening of Citizen Watch America’s multi-brand boutique on Fifth Avenue, Alpina has launched two Alpiner Chronographs in a pair of handsome colorways (either silver or navy blue), returning the chronograph to the Alpiner lineup with style.
Citizen Watch America is, quietly, one of the world’s largest producers of affordable timepieces, with well-known brands in its stable such as Citizen, Bulova, Frederique Constant, Accutron, and Alpina. Each brand will have a significant presence at the new three-story showcase, which has been designed by esteemed architect Ken Park and his firm, Kenneth Park Architects.
The lower two levels will house watches from the aforementioned brands, while the third floor will initially be used to present watches from the archives of featured brands, but, in the future, be used as an event space for marketing initiatives and other creative endeavors. To mark the occasion, Alpina has launched a pair of Alpiner Extreme Chronographs with a new, more compact case design and crowd-pleasing colorways.

How the new Alpiner Extreme Chronograph fits into the Alpina brand

Alpina is an easy brand to like. While it may be unfair to expect anyone to name the significant models from the brand’s past, it has a very interesting (and exhaustive) back catalog and deep roots in the industry. Its name rolls off the tongue and its logo looks like you’ve seen it a thousand times before. It is, as I like to say, a “friendly” brand and one for which I could very easily imagine a watch adorer falling.
There are intriguing nooks and crannies in its past collection. Odd curios are not as rare from Alpina as they are from many other brands of equal heritage. Even today, the brand continues to throw the occasional curveball (as we saw with the rectangular Alpiner Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years that utilized a New Old Stock (NOS) form movement to great acclaim). However, where Alpina really excels in 2023 is the creation of tough, “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” sports watches for a reasonable price.

The nitty gritty on the Alpina Alpiner Extreme Chronograph

The Alpiner collection is where most of the magic happens in my opinion. One could argue that the case shape that defines this, the brand’s most adventurous line, is a tad over-complicated, but it is undoubtedly a grower whose appeal increases over time. After all, not every brand can have the simplest shapes associated with it. After Panerai made the cushion-shaped case its thing, brands that wanted a similar silhouette were forced to get creative. And that’s exactly what Alpina’s design team has done.
Sitting within the multi-component case is the automatic AL-730 caliber, which has a healthy 62-hour power reserve and is based on the Sellita SW510. It is always nice to see longer power reserves on chronographs because it allows wearers to leave the chronograph running without as much fear that the power reserve will be rapidly drained. For some, using the chronograph function to track elapsed time is less relevant than simply having it running constantly to animate the dial.
Alpina’s asymmetric rotor is visible through a sapphire display case back and does a serviceable job of drawing the eye away from the basic finishing of the caliber. While it may not be impressive from an artisanal perspective, the basic surface finishing of this movement very much suits the intended character of the watch and does imply hardiness.
A date window sits between four and five, surrounded by a polished silver frame. The black-on-white date wheel is far subtler on the silver model than it is on the blue, but the color formatting here works well in terms of legibility and overall color coordination with both dials.

Our new favorite Alpina watch

In my opinion, this is a welcome release. The chronograph remains my favorite complication and it is wonderful to see it return to the Alpiner collection, which is my favorite watch family produced by Alpina.
Something about the case shape really lends itself to sub-dials. Prior to this release, the Alpiner Extreme Regulator Automatic was, by quite some distance, the pick of the bunch for me. Now, the title of “best watch” in the Alpina catalog surely must go to the Alpiner Extreme Chronograph.
And when comparing the two available models — silver (AL-730SB4AE6B) and blue (AL-730NS4AE6B) — there is, for my money, a clear winner.
The silver-dialed chronograph with its black chapter ring and sub-dials, is far edgier and more aggressive than its surprisingly passive blue counterpart. I would suggest that the difference in “bite” comes down entirely to the accent color (either black or white) rather than the silver or blue themselves.
The white chapter ring and sub-dials of the navy blue model dilute the impact of the dial. The blue feels unconstrained and almost as if it is bleeding out of the dial. While that may sound attractive in an artsy sort of way, it lacks the sense of poise and control exuded by the silver dial.
It is truly stunning to put these watches side by side and appreciate the massive difference in their characters, defined by nothing more than their colorways. From visual impact alone, it would be understandable to mistake these two pieces as hailing from separate collections.
Not only is the shade of silver (a very bold, brash metallic choice) refreshingly confident, but it also works far better with the red accent of the chronograph seconds hand’s counterpoise than the navy blue, which has the tendency to look a little stuffy and unappealingly “Ivy League” when the red of the Stars and Stripes joins the white and blue on the dial.
Meanwhile, the silver dial recalls a more blue-collar background. It is rugged, rough, and ready for action. With the repeating triangle pattern giving a sense of construction, one could picture a mechanic hard at work on an airfield, a furnace operator at a sweltering steel mill, or a leather-jacket-wearing rebel without a cause revving the engine of a self-built cafe racer wearing this watch.

Tech Specs

Alpina Extreme Chronograph

Reference: AL-730SB4AE6B (silver), AL-730NS4AE6B (navy blue)
Movement: AL-730 caliber, automatic, with a 62-hour power reserve
Functions: Time, date, Chronograph
Case: 41 mm × 11.5 mm stainless steel, water resistant to 100 meters
Dial: Silver with black sub-dials or navy blue with white sub-dials
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: USD 3,195
Availability: Available now