Alpina “Full Black” Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph
The new full black Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph demonstrates an aggressive personality.
Alpina launched in 2015 its first in-house Manufacture Flyback Chronograph caliber. With its AL-760 patented “Direct Flyback Technology”, Alpina also innovated and simplified the flyback and return to zero mechanism. The new full black AL-760 Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph is a new version of this timepiece.
For the new Al-760 caliber the technicians decided to adopt a modular construction based on the reliable and robust AL-710 caliber, which features a balance frequency of 4 Hertz, centre seconds and a date hand at 6 o’clock.
The Al-760 movement, comprising 233 components (on which only 96 components for the flyback module) with a rotor operating in both directions and a 38-hour power reserve, is particularly suitable for a drive mounted at the front, immediately below the under-dial work. The ingenious construction of the chronograph mechanism is apparent not least from the fact that Alpina was able to create it from only 95 parts. In the particular case of a highly complex chronograph mechanism, in which the assemblies have to work together to perfection, keeping to the vital minimum really makes sense.
An unmistakeable characteristic of high-quality chronographs is a column wheel rotating on bearings to control the three start, stop and reset functions. The calibre AL-760 has no standard-type column wheel, but a star-shaped one. Together with the operating lever, which is controlled by the start/stop push-piece, this component is responsible for the exceptionally smooth operation of the mechanism.
The absolutely essential part in all chronographs is the clutch. Its function is to establish the connection between the power source, that is the watch movement, and the gearing, or under-dial work, when required. Symbolic of the ingenuity of the AL-760's designers is a new type of swivelling component with two toothed pinions. When the button is pressed, it connects the two “storeys” together. At the lower level, in the watch movement proper, it takes up the rotation of the centre seconds and conveys this, via the corresponding upper component, to the actuating mechanism to turn the chronograph hands. At the same time, the lower central seconds also drives the seconds hand at 9 o'clock, which turns continuously in unison. The rotations of the chronograph hand are “recorded” by the 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock.
Repeating pressing of the start/stop push-piece causes slight pivoting of the clutch lever. The chronograph stops. At the same moment, for perfect legibility, a small locking lever ensures that the two stopping hands pause exactly at the last position chosen. Specialists know this as a cumulative split. The chronograph will not be reset to zero until the push-piece at 4 o'clock is actuated. Here again, the ingeniously contrived construction of this newcomer among chronographs is evident.
As a recognized specialist in pilots' watches, Alpina equipped the calibre AL-760 with a split-seconds function. With this function, pressing the push-piece just once starts the timer again from zero. In this case, the push-piece at 4 o'clock and its associated mechanism cause three tasks to be performed very quickly one after the other: first, the clutch is disengaged; secondly, the chronograph is reset to zero by means of the single-piece hammer; and thirdly, the clutch engages once more as soon as the push-piece is released. This instant type of flyback is another instance of the unique details of construction of the new calibre AL-760.
The new full black Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph remains true to its successful predecessor, but demonstrates a more aggressive and distinctive personality of its own. It features an intense black PVD coated case made out of stainless steel. The black dial with beige luminous pearl black applied indexes, matching the luminous beige hands. This timepiece exhibits the contemporary essence of the Alpina Flyback Chronograph design, and integrates the 4 features of the “Alpina 4” sport watch: antimagnetic, water-resistant, antishock and stainless.
Like all the Alpina watches, this timepiece too was shaped into a precision instrument, which features ergonomically shaped chronograph push-pieces, screw-down winding and setting crown, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It can withstand a water pressure of up to 10 atmospheres, equivalent to a diving depth of 100 metres. Following a long tradition, the screwed steel case back is decorated with the familiar Alpina logo.
To finish the watch, an elegant black genuine leather strap with beige stitching ensures safety and comfort on the wrist.