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Geneva Watch Days
Alpina - Geneva Watch Days: Alpina's Extreme Regulator gets an Unexpected Makeover

Alpina Geneva Watch Days: Alpina's Extreme Regulator gets an Unexpected Makeover

How many regulator-type watches will be presented at Geneva Watch Days? Probably only one – and it’s by Alpina

The regulator is an unusual watchmaking complication – that does not even fall into that category in the strictest sense of the term, as it delivers no other information in addition to the hours, minutes and seconds. What it actually does is dissociate these indications.

Rather than three central hands that are superimposed yet differentiated a regulator positions them separately in three different spots on the dial. The objective is to provide a much faster and more accurate reading of the time, notably by avoiding the tricky moment when the three hands are overlaid and which necessarily occurs once an hour.

Historically, railway controllers were especially fond of these models because of the accuracy they provided, thus avoiding any unfortunate collision of trains arriving or leaving at very similar times. 

Back in favor

The regulator has now all but vanished from current watch collections. Only Alpina still offers them and has a history of doing so. When the Frederique Constant group took the brand into its fold, it began offering a reference named Avalanche Regulator Extreme as early as 2005. The model’s name already expressed its resolutely sporty, not to say adventurous, orientation. It was initially housed in a 48 mm case that was gradually reduced to 46 mm, before stabilizing at 45 mm in 2020.

Geneva Watch Days : refonte inattendue de l'Extreme Regulator d'Alpina

Extreme Regulator © Alpina

 

The slimming-down process now continues, as the Alpiner Extreme Regulator – having switched to "Automatic" model – is available for the first time in a 41 mm iteration. Alpina is thus attempting a difficult compromise by associating an extremely powerful case designed for sport with a more conventional diameter made for urban wear. In a nutshell, it was essential to preserve the adventurous nature of the Extreme Regulator, while offering a more universally suitable size. 

Winning wager

The result is convincing – perhaps because it is in line with the wave of strongly angled Nautilus and Royal Oak-type cases. That of the Extreme Regulator is also dressed to impress with its cushion-shaped profile – a square with slightly curved sides – framing a round bezel and dial. It strikes a subtle balance, giving a sense of having a robust and powerful case cut out for adventure, while housing a more conventional circular opening. 

Given that the timepiece remains very uncluttered, reducing the case size to 41 mm is not a problem. The three sole indications are easily accommodated: hours at 10 o'clock, seconds at 6 o'clock, and a central minutes hand. The latter sweeps around a dial which, for the first time, features a finely engraved triangle-shaped motif – a nod to the brand's logo itself evoking the Alpine peaks from which the Alpina brand name is derived. 

Geneva Watch Days : refonte inattendue de l'Extreme Regulator d'Alpina

Extreme Regulator © Alpina

As far as the movement is concerned, collectors will appreciate the return of the AL-650 caliber that powered the very first Avalanche Extreme Regulator in 2005. Issued in an 888-piece limited series, the Alpiner Extreme Regulator is intended for those who may have been reluctant to adopt the XXL dimensions of previous versions, as well as for all those who wish to treat themselves to this beautiful and rare presentation of the time on a model suitable for wear in every situation – by both men and women.

 

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Established in 1883, Alpina is recongised as the inventor of the sports watch as we know it today, having presented its Alpina 4 model back in 1938.

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