Alpina – A Brand History

Since the Wright brothers first put a flying machine in the sky in 1903, pilots have needed accurate and reliable timekeeping devices. For this reason, luxury watch manufacturers often boast of a strong aviation heritage, and lauded Swiss brand Alpina is no exception.

Founded by Gottlieb Hauser twenty years before the Orville and Wilbur Wright made their famous flight, Alpina grew in popularity during the Golden Age of Aviation – the 1920’s and 1930’s – which also coincided with the time when wristwatches first became popular. Their early high-end chronograph pieces were highly sought-after by military aviators, and Alpina became the official supplier of wristwatches to the air forces of several nations during that time.

In 1938, the Alpina 4 was released, with the number ‘4’ signifying its key attributes: anti-magnetism, water-resistance, an anti-shock system and a resilient stainless steel case. It’s sporty look and hand-wound 592 calibre set the tone for Alpina’s output up until the rise of digital watches diminished sales.

The prestigious watchmaker was rejuvenated in 2002 when the entrepreneurs who founded fellow high-quality Swiss brand Frédérique Constant took control. Operating from a new cutting-edge facility in Geneva, Alpina celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2008 with the first movement to be made entirely in-house. That movement can be found in much of Alipna’s current line-up, including the sporty Manufacture Regulator from the Adventure collection, and the exquisite Aviation Manufacture – a popular choice for pilots all over the world.

Alpina also offer a motorsport-inspired collection, which features the superb automatic 12 Hours of Sebring model, named for the classic American race at the world-famous Florida track. And those seeking the very best Alpina has to offer should look no further than the magnificent Tourbillon Manufacture Regulator. As the name suggests, it features an automatic tourbillon movement with Alpina’s AL-980 calibre, and its look is characterised by an off-centre hour dial at ten o’clock – a very unique and exclusive feature of Alpina watches.

Click here to see the full Alpina range.