Alpina’s versatile Alpiner Extreme goes California dreamin’Fergus Nash
- The Alpina Alpiner Extreme Automatic California Dial pays tribute to the quirky dive-watch style of the 1930s.
- Its 41mm case certainly looks extreme, however its measurements are surprisingly tame.
- It’s adventure-capable with 200m water resistance and a screw-down crown.
When you boil it down, judging a watch’s versatility is more about perception than capability. Are you worried that your sports watch doesn’t go with your suit, or are you worried of other people’s opinions on the matter? Either way, the Alpina Alpiner Extreme Automatic California Dial isn’t meant for the faint of heart. Playing into extremities is an easy way to scare off watch traditionalists, but the risk can pay off with an exciting, fresh take on vintage concepts. Here, Alpina show off their decades of sports watch prowess and fusing old with new.
Alpina describe the case of the Alpiner Extreme as imposing, and that word perfectly captures its attitude. It’s the evolution of the cushion case concept pumped full of steroids, with harsh bevels and deeply gouged brushing giving it industrial edge. There’s a three-tiered appearance because of the wings, mid-case and the steel bezel, however despite that illusion of towering depth the case is only 11.5mm thick. In fact, the whole watch is far more wearable than it may look at first glance, thanks to a 41mm diameter and 49.5mm lug-to-lug length that was introduced last year. Paired with a textured rubber strap which flares out for an integrated look, the Alpiner Extreme Automatic California Dial is visually wild while remaining physically tame. You can swap out the rubber strap if you want to experiment, however it could look a little strange as the lug width is only 18mm.
The California dial has its origins nowhere near California in the 1930s, when Panerai and Rolex were in a collaborative effort to supply waterproof watches for the Italian navy. The idea of combining Arabic and Roman numerals stems from enhancing legibility from any angle, also aided by luminous markers that could be seen in murky waters. Alpina have faithfully recreated that effect, splitting the numerals across the top and bottom halves with dashes at the quarters and an inverted triangle at 12. The colour of the lume and printing is an off-white too, giving the impression of age. The dial itself is a coarsely grained texture, with a black date wheel to match. Pops of red can be spotted with the Alpina logo, the automatic text, and on the counterbalance of the seconds hand.
Visible from the display caseback is the AL-525 calibre, which is better known as the Sellita SW200-1. Aside from Alpina’s customised rotor, the SW200-1 is often-praised for its reliability and affordability. With a power reserve of 38 hours lending itself to daily wear and a beat rate of 4Hz, it’s no surprise that this Sellita movement has rapidly become one of the most common calibres you’ll find in entry-level Swiss watches.
Alpina Alpiner Extreme Automatic California Dial pricing and availability
The Alpina Alpiner Extreme Automatic California Dial is currently available for pre-order, with delivery from December 2023. Price: A$2,825, US$1,795
|Model||Alpiner Extreme Automatic California|
|Case Dimensions||41mm (D) x 11.5mm (T) x 49.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||200 metres|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire front and back|
|Strap||Black rubber strap with steel hardware|
|Movement||AL-525, customised Sellita SW200-1, automatic|
|Power Reserve||38 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Pre-orders, deliveries December 2023|