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Monday, July 4, 2011

Alpina Unveils Startimer Pilot Watches with a Ride on a Cessna

Alpina 18K rose gold Startimer Pilot.

It’s not every day that I get to ride on a Cessna. But that’s what happened this past Wednesday as I and a handful of watch and fashion journalists took a private jet from the LaGuardia Airport Marine Air Terminal to Martha’s Vineyard for lunch.

Alpina 18k rose gold Startimer caseback.

We were the guests of the Alpina Geneva Swiss watch brand. The idea was to introduce its new line of Startimer pilot watches to the U.S. while also highlighting its cross-marketing campaign with U.S.-based airplane manufacturer Cessna Aircraft and Swiss-based private air service company PrivatAir.

Three of the Startimer Pilot watches on display during a luncheon to introduce the collection to the U.S.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Alpina, manufactured military watches for pilots that were known to be precise and resistant to shock. All were made with the same technical characteristics: a resistant and antireflective glass, an antimagnetic escapement, and a dial with large luminous numerals and hands for a better visibility.

Alpina Startimer chronograph

Alpina revisited its past to create a new line of watches called the Startimer Pilot collection. The collection was introduced in March at the Baselworld trade fair, Basel, Switzerland.

Alpina Startime three-hand date Automatic

The standard version of the watch uses a black dial with large white luminous numerals along with a red Alpina triangle on the second hand. It is housed in a 44mm-diamater stainless steel case. The leather strap closes on the front side of the wrist, resembling the vintage leather straps of the past. A metal bracelet also is available and fits on all versions. At the luncheon, which also included a presentation of the watches and cross-marketing campaign, the company unveiled an 18k rose gold version of the watch.

Watch and fashion reporters gather at the restaurant in Harbor View Hotel. Standing at the end of the table is Pete Stas, Alpina managing director, preparing his presentation.

The watches come in four variations: A basic three-hand date automatic (cal. AL-525); an in-house developed and produced automatic caliber AL-710, featuring minute and hour indication and off-center date hand; an in-house caliber AL-950, which powers the iconic Startimer Pilot Regulator, combining historic pilot watch design features with a modern day regulator lay out; and an automatic chronograph version (cal. AL-860).

Each watch will be packaged with a Cessna Citation Mustang.

The Startimer Pilot movement is designed and developed in the manufacturer's workshop in Plan-les-Ouates, just outside Geneva. The automatic winding mechanism incorporates Alpina’s trademark rotor—a salute to Straub & Co., the designers of Alpina's first automatic caliber, said Peter Stas, Alpina managing director.

The interior of the Cessna Citation Excel.

As part of the cross-marketing campaign, each Alpina Startimer Pilot watch will be packaged alongside a Cessna Citation Mustang scale model in PrivatAir livery.

The Cessna Citation Excel

I promised with this blog that I would give you an inside look at the industry. It doesn’t get more inside than viewing a presentation by the head of a Swiss watch brand explaining the history of its brand, the marketing approach it is taking with a new watch line and describing its new watches, during an intimate lunch at Martha’s Vineyard.

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