In a world obsessed with the future, it takes a brave soul to look back at its roots. As Alpina celebrates its 140th anniversary, this Swiss maestro of horology does just that by reintroducing to the world its legendary timepiece, the Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years. An homage to Alpina’s rich heritage, these 28 timepieces embody the wisdom of their mantra, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going”. They are not mere replicas or homages, they are history revived, encased in a mesmerizing rectangular silver case, just as it was back in the golden age of the 1930s.
The Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years was crafted to celebrate the Calibre 490, a legendary movement that once played a pivotal role in defining Alpina’s destiny. Born in an era when wristwatches were seen more as an ornament than an essential tool, this in-house movement represented a seismic shift in Alpina’s design philosophy. This 85-year-old artifact is the embodiment of Alpina’s deep-rooted penchant for robustness and elegance – an eloquent marriage that remains at the core of its identity.
The original Calibre 490 featured a dust-resistant crown – an invention that signified the genesis of Alpina’s journey towards creating watertight cases. The Swiss patent no. 158882 safeguards this piece of history, a testament to Alpina’s commitment to innovation. Intricate bevelled components and a sun-brushed ratchet are proof of the exceptional craftsmanship that went into designing this calibre.
In 2023, the Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years resurrects this rare calibre. Encased in its original shape, this hand-wound movement brims with historical significance and serves as a reminder of a time when the mechanism dictated the aesthetics of the watch, not vice versa. Oscillating at a sedate 2.5 Hz frequency, a common benchmark of its era, the watch offers an impressive 42-hour power reserve. It is adorned with 17 jewels, and the slender anchor design is a meticulous necessity to fit within the confines of the rectangular calibre.
Mirroring the past, the modern Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years comes with a 29.5 x 35.7mm mirror-polished silver case. An anti-glare sapphire crystal graces both front and back, revealing the intriguing architecture of the vintage Calibre 490. The light brown ostrich leather strap, adorned with vintage white stitching and pin buckle, perfectly completes the nostalgic attire of this horological wonder.
The watch is available in two distinct limited editions of 14 each. One bears a black dial with bold Arabic numerals and beige hands while the other sports a silvered dial with the squarer outline Arabic numerals popular in the Roaring Twenties. The ‘railtrack’ minute circle, typical of the period, encapsulates the dial, and the small seconds hand at 6 o’clock adds a touch of 1930s glamour.
Alpina’s return to its roots with the Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is more than just a tribute to its history; it’s an audacious demonstration of its timeless values and an enduring commitment to the essence of watchmaking. This isn’t just a watch; it’s a tangible piece of history, a keepsake for those with an appreciation for Alpina’s contributions to the horological world. It represents a crossroads where elegance meets resilience, the heart of Alpina’s ethos, a motif that continues to guide its present and future endeavors.
The resurrection of Calibre 490 in the form of Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is a testament to the brand’s veneration of its origins and its originality. It’s a celebration of Alpina’s watchmaking tradition, which remains as pertinent today as it was in the early 20th century. The Calibre 490, with its robust yet simple construction, became a seminal moment in Alpina’s history and set the tone for its future pursuits.
The Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years reverberates with a distinct vintage charm. The original steel or gold cases, patent protected, were touted as ‘stainless,’ a term that echoed Alpina’s unwavering pursuit of durability. It was this obsessive attention to detail and resilience that led to the creation of the original patent and that continues to inspire modern watchmakers.
The limited edition timepieces are a tribute not just to Alpina’s own illustrious history, but also to the grand tapestry of horology. The modestly sized case, the hand-wound mechanism, and the striking dial harken back to an era when every timepiece was a labor of love and craftsmanship ruled supreme. The Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is more than just a wristwatch; it is a timeless artifact that tells a story of innovation, persistence, and an unwavering commitment to precision.
At its core, Alpina’s Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is a study in contrasts. A homage to a historical marvel, yet crafted with modern precision. A call-back to the past, yet with a design language that feels timeless. A symbol of Alpina’s journey, yet a clear testament to its future ambitions.
The Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years timepiece reminds us that in a world of fleeting trends, true elegance and sophistication remain unchanging. In a testament to the values that have stood the test of time, Alpina captures the essence of its history and reinterprets it for the contemporary connoisseur.
To hold the Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years is to hold a slice of history, to listen to the tick of the mechanical heart is to hear the echoes of a storied past. These 28 resurrected pieces aren’t just timepieces; they are narratives crafted in silver, whispers of a glorious era. For Alpina, the celebration of its 140th anniversary isn’t just about reminiscing about the past; it’s about honoring a legacy that has shaped the world of watchmaking. And through the Alpina Heritage Carrée Mechanical 140 Years, that legacy lives on.
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