I would rather not disclose the percentage of vintage Alpinas in my watch collection. Yet the recently released update of the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is the first modern Alpina I have the pleasure to review.
It was quite a big splash when Alpina threw in their re-designed diver into the crowded 2016 Basel pond. Less is more. Alpina took a step back and by that surprisingly found itself three steps ahead. Previous Alpina underwater production reminded me of infamous Breitling pieces. You kind of felt there was too much going on and weren’t sure where the watch came from or where it was supposed to go. Those times are forgotten as Alpina divers got rid of all the uselessly playful elements such as the triple vertical date aperture. The current Alpina divers range represents the best coming from their workbenches. Today we take closer look at one of the four new updated releases.
The Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 that landed on my desk came with a grey bezel and grey dial. Both bezel luminous markers and indexes are beige, acolor that reminds me of vintage patina. I am surprised to read what I am about to say, but from the four novelties, the model in bronze PVD coated case with black dial and brown bezel would be my personal choice. To sum up the new color selection of bezels, dials and cases with a unifying theme – I would say that the subtle desaturated colors nicely shift from the previously rich, striking and bold Seastrong bezels.
All dial and bezel coloring perfectly match the titanium or bronze PVD coated cases. In comparison to former pieces, the new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 models also look more mature and classier. You won’t spot any dramatic differences between old and new, but take one brief look at the new model and the older Seastrong Diver looks a bit flat in comparison.
My advertising background taught me to read visuals. To be able not only to see, but precisely name which design element is driving where people should look first. The new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 ref AL-525LGG4TV6 is a nice example of this principle. The vertical sector lines borrowed from GMT versions give the watch a compact feeling, holding it together tightly. Thin minute markers add a sportier look and fill in the gaps between the spacious prairies and oval hour markers. And now, the element we have all been waiting for. There is no punch in the face from a shiny bezel, as it is the red frame on the minute hand that first catches your eye. Successfully. Functionally.
Speaking about priorities well executed, I have to spit it out. Every time I look at the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 grey diver with the red framed half hour hand, I see Ploprof. What one purist might never have swallowed, from my point of view it is not necessarily a bad thing. The minute markers and Nautilus brick like “hinges” on the sides of the case amplify this even more. If you subconsciously visualize Panerai shapes, you get a uniquely mixed square diver shape. Every sold Seastrong solidifies it as Alpina’s signature. And with Alpina, don’t forget we are in a price range where potential customers might mistake the word “Panerai” for motor oils or a travel agency! No offense, I’m just elaborating out loud on the real market playground.
There’s nothing special to report about the automatic movement AL-525 as it is the reliable Sellita SW-200. With 26 jewels and 38 hours of power reserve, there’s no surprise on the transparent case back and black signature rotor. The Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 has a case diameter of 44 mm that begs for an extra 20 cm of my height and 20 kg of my weight. But that‘s my problem.
To keep this short and sweet I decided to add a bunch of details without elaboration on the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300. I hope you enjoy them in their simplicity. The vintage leather strap looks sturdy but is actually quite soft. The bezel triangle at 12 is mesmerizing under a magnifying glass. The oval shape and length of indexes are close to perfect, although I am still not okay with the Alpina logo style – spacing seems off, size and proportion imbalanced. I don’t live in the past, but definitely like the older logos more. The unidirectional bezel precision: the clicking and counter pressure it gives your fingers is addictive. Don’t be surprised if you have the urge to press the left “hinge” that looks like a button. Time readability is perfect.
The bezel triangle at 12 is mesmerizing under the magnifying glass.
If I was about to argue one statement from the official press releases or the web presentation, it would be the ridiculous statement right at the top saying that the new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is “in the perfect continuity of Alpina’s last century timepieces, namely the 1960s Seastrong “10”.” Ehm, the purpose and name would be the only continuity with the Seastrong 10.
For me the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is one hell of a characteristic watch and introducing it with such a generic claim is off. Even more so if we all know there is an Alpina Seastrong Diver Heritage with an internal bezel operated by the second crown as a full re-edition of the true original. I cannot help myself, but a brand should pay more attention to how they present their watches. Especially educated customers that know the Alpina portfolio might then feel uncertain or like there is nothing real to say, which is not true.
My suggestion for a new description: New Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is the next thought-through iteration on the already unmistakably recognizable diver watch. The new Alpina Seastrong 300 is a case of evolution rather than revolution and highlights the line’s strong features and eliminates its former weak spots. It would makes for the perfect gift to a friend or colleague who feels like swimming and diving might be the next running. It has a sturdy case, elegant style, quality finishing and a reliable engine behind an exposition case back. All that comes along with the indisputable charm of a brand with 130+ years of watchmaking history for less than 1300 euros.
For more information on the Alpina Seastrong Diver 300, head to Alpina’s official site.
Grey dial with applied beige color luminous indexes, date window at 3’ o clock
Stainless steel case with titanium PVD coating
44 mm diameter, 13.06 mm thickness
Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
AL-525 automatic caliber (Sellita based), 26 jewels, 38 hours power reserve, 28,800/h
30 ATM / 300m / 1000ft
Vintage style light brown leather strap and extra rubber strap
Hours, minutes, seconds and date
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