Mens’ Watches - Baselworld 2015 Review
Thursday - 06 August 2015
by Angus Davies, www.escapementmagazine.com
Feeding my addiction
My name is Angus Davies and I am a watch addict.
I don’t make light of individuals who are addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling, but I genuinely feel my passion for watches verges on the obsessive. Where the similarities are obvious to other forms of addictions is a relentless craving for an object and, in this instance, it’s watches.
I exhibit all the signs of an addictive personality. I crave, I acquire and sometimes I experience a sense of post-purchase guilt. Indeed, remorse is a trait I frequently display, not at the acquisition of a beautiful object, but at the notion of squandering yet more funds on ‘another watch’.
However, where my addiction differs from others is that ultimately I have a possession, an object to show after eroding my children’s inheritance. Furthermore, my addiction does not prove injurious to my health or those in the immediate vicinity.
Nevertheless, I concede that my predilection for watches transcends the norm and is an overwhelming passion. Anyone who has met me will attest that once I commence talking about watches my mood changes and my exuberance for all matters relating to horology is freely disclosed upon my face. I adore watches.
Part of my fascination with watches relates to the scale of the internal components which collaborate precisely, with millimetric precision, to display the correct time. Moreover, I adore timepieces which are imbued with a high degree of hand craftsmanship, skilfully imparted with time-served hands.
The problem is that the very nature of my profession places me in the midst of temptation. Indeed, my annual pilgrimage to Baselworld is a test of character. I am occupationally obliged to appraise watches which are meritorious and deserving of column inches and yet I must not succumb to the temptation of making another purchase. I often liken this scenario to a bartender who has a drink problem. However, in the interests of the watch-buying public, I enter this domain each day, selflessly for the greater good, or at least this is the line I proffer to my long-suffering wife. Therefore, without further ado, here are some of my favourite men’s watches from Baselworld 2015.
Whilst in their 20s, Peter Staas and Aletta Bax admired Swiss timepieces but were left frustrated that they could not afford them. Some years later, in 1988, the Dutch duo established Frederique Constant, delivering classically styled timepieces at affordable prices.
Later, recognising they needed to offer a range of sports watches, but wishing to keep Frederique Constant focused solely on classically styled timepieces, they acquired the rights to the Alpina brand, an old name in the sphere of horology, harking back to 1883.
Alpina timepieces, whilst evincing a different character to those watches of sister-brand Frederique Constant, share the same commercially successful formula of competitive pricing and high quality. Furthermore, similar to Frederique Constant, the brand has demonstrated an increasing degree of independence in recent times, making more of its components in-house.
The Alpina Alpiner 4 Flyback Chronograph contains the AL-760 chronograph movement consisting of the brand’s in-house AL-710 base movement paired with an in-house chronograph module. The watch company, based on the outskirts of Geneva, in the suburb of Plan-les-Ouates, has ingeniously kept the parts count relatively low, totalling 233 components of which 96 parts relate solely to the flyback chronograph. This reduced parts count, despite the added complexity of being a ‘flyback chronograph’, allows the Swiss brand to simplify the assembly process, saving time and, by default, reducing costs.
However, despite the reduction in costs of assembly, this is of no discernible detriment to the prospective purchaser and facilitates the original objective of delivering affordable luxury. Moreover, the movement shows no signs of penny-pinching in terms of finish, with Côtes de Genève motif and perlage much in evidence.
Returning to the ‘flyback chronograph’ complication, it is similar to a regular chronograph with the stop watch function actuated by pressing the pushpiece at 2 o’clock. By pressing the same pushpiece again, the chronograph stops measuring the elapsed time period. Once the stopwatch has been stopped, it can be reset by pressing the pushpiece at 4 o’clock where the central chronograph seconds hand and chronograph registers return to zero. Where a ‘flyback’ chronograph differs is that if the stopwatch function is running and the wearer presses the push piece at 4 o’clock, the chronograph will stop, reset and start in one action, proving ideal for timing consecutive events.
Another attractive aspect of this timepiece is the stylish, silver-toned dial which incorporates a telemeter scale and a date display positioned at 6 o’clock. In addition, the 44mm case shrouds the movement in a soft-iron protective cage, proving resistant to magnetism, shocks and, lastly, water (specified water resistance 10 ATM). With a host of attributes, the Alpina Alpiner 4 Flyback Chronograph makes a strong case for itself, literally.