Alpina is unveiling today two new limited series of its Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture model, driven by the brand’s 6th Manufacture movement that was introduced into the collection last year. These limited series are distinguished by new dials: the first one is grey champagne, the second one is navy blue, and both have a brushed finish. Limited to 188 pieces each, these two watches pay tribute to the historic Alpina calibre, the “bumper”, whose mechanical inspiration can be admired through a sapphire back.
Extremely rare and unique. The Startimer Pilot Heritage is one of Alpina’s most exclusive lines, as was the timepiece it is inspired from and that can now no longer be found. Originally, not just a design, but also and mostly a movement. Its fans call it the “bumper”: a very rare automatic calibre that relies on a short travel oscillating weight. Instead of being wound by a conventional rotor turning 360° on itself, the “bumper” only travels a third of this distance, after which it is pushed back in the opposite direction by a return spring. An ingenious creation which, at the time of the first automatic movements, tested out an original way of optimising their winding. And a witness of the creativity of the Alpina watchmakers of the time.
Today, Alpina is offering two new limited editions which celebrate this watchmaking curiosity which is highly sought-after since extremely difficult to find. They supplement the two current Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture watches in the collection, with two proposals with very different looks.
Their DNA is shared, embodying the continuity of the Startimer Pilot Heritage spirit: a cushion case (the only one at Alpina), a vintage “railway” type minutes hand, a crown at 4 o’clock, a calfskin strap with beige top-stitching and beige vintage luminescent indexes which reproduce the natural patina of the Startimers of the time. All of which are deployed on a brushed-finish dial.
Two very exclusive series
The first version, in a gilded yellow gold-plated case, displays a grey champagne dial making the applied Arab numerals and hands very easy to read – a key quality for a watch initially made for pilots. The case is entirely polished, except for its upper surface which repeats the dial’s textured pattern.
The second version has an intense navy-blue dial, also brushed, in a steel box repeating the same alternation of polished and brushed surfaces. Since the dial is in a deep colour, the hands are silver in order to preserve the required readability.
As required by the history of the Startimer Pilot, these two Heritage Manufacture creations are driven by an Alpina in-house automatic mechanical movement, the AL-709 calibre, offering 38 hours of power reserve. Entirely visible through a sapphire back, its oscillating weight repeats the iconic shape of the “bumper” model and follows in its footsteps, now turning 330°. Each watch, measuring 2x40.75 mm, is certified waterproof to a depth of 100 metres and is limited to 188 pieces.