Alpina AlpinerX: one year on, cruise speed engaged
Just a few months after it exploded onto the scene, the AlpinerX has become Alpina’s flagship product. The brand will now focus on consolidating sales, and no major technical developments are in the pipeline for 2019.
In less than a year, it has grown to comprise 40% of Alpina’s annual production. The size achieved by the AlpinerX as a proportion of Alpina as a whole is so big it’s almost worrying. In eight months, the AlpinerX has become a huge growth lever for Alpina, to the point where it has overshadowed the general repositioning strategy the brand has continued to pursue over the last two years.
More aggressive pricing
But the perception of the brand has changed. In a very short time, Alpina has become for many people the Frédérique Constant group’s “smart” wing, a “brand 2.0”, which has found a concrete embodiment in the phenomenally successful AlpinerX.
And yet it would be unwise to leave out of the equation the overall brand strategy that, regardless of the impact of this newcomer, continues to bear fruit. “Two years ago, we undertook a global repositioning of Alpina,” explains Managing Director Oliver Van Lanschot. The former finance and technology executive, and Red Bull alumnus, who arrived two and half years ago, has his sights set on the hunting grounds of Hamilton and Tissot. With that in mind, he has brought down the average price of quartz timepieces to €495, compared with €895 for mechanical watches. Consequently, the AlpinerX (also €895) is positioned at exactly the entry point for mechanical watches.
Oliver Van Lanschot, Managing Director © Alpina/Eric Rossier
The AlpinerX has been phenomenally successful. “The launch on Kickstarter was extremely successful, with 3000 orders for a total of 1000 custom designs,” explains Oliver Van Lanschot. “When it came to producing these 1000 unique designs, that’s when it got a bit complicated...” he admits today.
Since then, the AlpinerX has reached cruising speed. The 3000 Kickstarter orders have been delivered, and 5000 more timepieces have been released onto the marketplace. Which, exactly? “Our historic markets: mainly the United States, Germany, France and Switzerland,” he confirms. To conclude, the AlpinerX has enabled the brand to consolidate its existing position, but not yet to open new commercial avenues.
2019, a year of consolidation
In the immediate term, the company intends to let the AlpinerX bed down, and allow its points of sale to turn over their stock. That means we won’t see any major new releases for this model in the coming months, including at Baselworld. In the meantime, Alpina will fill out the range with limited editions. “The markets can adapt locally, according to their own activities,” Oliver Van Lanschot explains.
AlpinerX La Grand Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc Limited Edition © Alpina
Two recent examples are the limited series produced for La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc 2019, and the 2019 Freeride World Tour. Similarly, no major software upgrades have been planned since the last big update in December. In the short term, the AlpinerX will have to make do with its current capacities. “Adding sensors to increase the capabilities of the watch is always possible, but you have to bear in mind that each additional function uses battery, and we want to retain a very high autonomy,” Oliver Van Lanschot points out. He’s referring to the Apple Watch and its ilk, which rarely go more than 24 hours without a charge, while the AlpinerX can easily last 24... months! There is one concession, however: “Heart rate monitoring. There is strong demand for that, which was expressed back in our Kickstarter days, and we have therefore decided to incorporate it into our application, with the addition of a third-party sensor.”
AlpinerX Special Edition Freeride World Tour © Alpina
But technical developments will stop there, for the time being. The size of the MMT movement can’t be reduced, which means that a women’s version of the AlpinerX will require the development of a new dedicated calibre. The current module nevertheless has scope within its 45 mm diameter to accommodate new functions, the first of which we can expect to see in 2020.