Commemorating its 140th anniversary this year, Alpina launched a special edition of time-only watches in two iterations, both limited to 14 pieces only. Aptly dubbed the Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years, the watches are powered by an original manual-wound caliber that dates back to 1938, and that was fully restored by the Swiss brand.
Registered under Swiss patent 158882, the caliber 490 oscillates at 18,000 vph and boasts a simple yet robust design. Additionally, the movement shows a high-quality finish, with beveled components and and a sunburst-ratchet decorated wheel.
The in-house caliber was designed, assembled and finished by one of the manufacturers of the historic Swiss Watchmakers Cooperative, Alpina’s first name, a distinction that was not commonplace in the 1930s, when sourcing generic movements from suppliers was the norm, and manufacture movements the exception. Caliber 490 was a benchmark movement at the time, with its patented crown that was protected against dust. Also noteworthy are the comparatively high power reserve for the time – 42 hours – and the special design of the pallet lever, which is elongated in order to fit into the rectangular shape.
After having been able to purchase around 50 pieces of this very caliber, Alpina designed a new custom-made case for 28 of them. It is made of highly polished silver and measures 29.5 x 35.7mm in diameter. With a thickness of just 9.71mm, it features anti-reflective sapphire crystals on both the front and back and is attached to a light brown ostrich leather strap with white vintage stitching and a pin buckle.
The two commemorative editions share the Alpina logo from this era, two thin central hands and a small seconds at 6 o’clock, which is typical of the 1930s. The chemin de fer minuterie surrounding the dial also dates from this period.
On the first version (Ref. AL-490BA3C10), the dial is black and displays full Arabic numerals and a circular small seconds. The hands are beige. The second version (Ref. AL-490SA3C10) comes with a silver dial, black hands, and Arabic numerals in a more upright font, typical of the “Années Folles”, while the subdial for the small seconds is square.
Pricing for the Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is marked at $5,400 when converted to USD (CHF 4,995).
To learn more, visit Alpina, here.