Thursday, February 4, 2016

ALPINA – Full Black Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph

ALPINA ALPINER Manufacture 4 Full Black Flyback Chronograph NEW

With the launch of its first in-house Manufacture Flyback Chronograph at Baselworld 2015, Alpina celebrated an important première in its 132 years history. With its AL-760 patented "Direct Flyback Technology" automatic flyback caliber, Alpina not only introduced its first in-house chronograph caliber, but also innovated and ingeniously simplified the flyback and return to zero mechanism. As a 2016 pre-Baselworld novelty preview, Alpina is now proud to present its new full black AL-760 Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph.

With its its striking appearance, 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. The new model 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, provides a unique and powerful design. This horological masterpiece exhibits the contemporary essence of the Alpina Flyback Chronograph design, and integrates the 4 features of the "Alpina 4" sport watch:

1) Antimagnetic
2) Water-resistant
3) Antishock
4) Stainless

All this and much more goes to make up the new "Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph". Its new look evokes dynamism and clarity. Like all the Alpina watches, this one 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.

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Looking at the right-hand side of the case, connoisseurs will immediately notice that the crown and push-piece are positioned on a straight line, despite the calibre AL-760's modular construction. To finish this watch, an elegant black genuine leather strap with beige stitching ensures safety and comfort on the wrist.

The Flyback Chronograph

Generally, chronographs of all kinds are based on perfectly standard watch movements, notably in a Lépine design with a small-seconds hand opposite the winding and setting crown. On wristwatches, this hand appears in a sub-dial at 9 o'clock. Watchmakers can mount this sophisticated mechanism, which enables time intervals to be measured without stopping the main movement, immediately under the dial or at the back of the watch. The position chosen has no influence on the stop function. Traditionally, the industry recognises two different modes of construction of a chronograph mechanism: integral and modular, fixed to the watch movement. The latter has the advantage of offering greater flexibility, as it can be fitted, after appropriate adaptation, to a wide variety of hand-wound and automatic calibers. Furthermore, the chronograph assembly can be pre-mounted and tested independently of the "power unit" used, and if necessary even completely replaced. This saves time and hence also costs.

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The new AL-760 Manufacture Automatic Flyback Chronograph caliber

Seventy-seven years after inventing the concept of the sport watch, Alpina once more pushed the boundaries by creating an entirely in-house developed, produced and assembled chronograph equipped with a Flyback Function.

Over three years went by in the Swiss mountains between the initial concept and readiness for production. 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 powerful Al-760 movement, comprising 233 components (from which only 96 components are necessary 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 96 parts. Critically minded contemporaries may suggest at this point that such a small number of parts must imply loss of quality. This is by no means the case. On the contrary, the development team acted in accordance with a wise saying from Antoine de Saint Exupéry: "Perfection is attained, not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away." As an adventurous pilot, the French poet knew what he was talking about. 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. And it adheres to the dictum that nothing can break down and fail if it is not there in the first place!

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Actuating the chronograph push-piece above the crown for the first time demonstrates how thoroughly the functional relationships have been thought through. Protection against errors of manipulation is clearly perceptible in the resistance felt on starting. Nevertheless, the pressing action is extremely smooth. Of course, the same is true of the subsequent stopping and resetting operations.

An unmistakeable characteristic of high-quality chronographs is a column wheel rotating on bearings to control the three start, stop and reset functions. In conventional mechanisms, this component has several columns. In contrast, 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. To achieve this end, watchmakers are acquainted with three different designs: the classic horizontal wheel coupling, the oscillating pinion, also traditional, and lastly the modern vertical friction clutch. 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. If desired, this stop operation can be repeated as often as wished with the upper push-piece. 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.

The "DIRECT IN-LINE" Flyback Function

As a recognized specialist in pilots' watches, Alpina equipped the calibre AL-760 with a split-seconds function. Also known by the name of "flyback", this function was invented in the 1930s to make it easier for pilots to use this most essential of instruments. 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, whose sloping surfaces turn the two zero reset hearts so that the hands position themselves vertically again; and thirdly, the clutch engages once more as soon as the push-piece is released. The highly complex sequence of movements involved in this case proceeds directly from the push-piece to the clutch lever. This instant type of flyback is another instance of the unique details of construction of the new calibre AL-760. And last, but not least noteworthy, are the carefully designed shape and the mode of attachment, not by a force-fit method, of the chronograph module to the basic watch movement. It achieves a reliable and, above all, energy-saving connection between the two mechanisms, both of them produced in-house. And to conclude, the very legible date hand at 6 o'clock avoids the unsightly well through which the date disc rotating on the front of the basic movement must be read on modular chronographs of conventional construction.

Technical Specifications

Model: Full Black Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph 

Reference: AL-760BBG5FBAQ6

AL-710 in-house Automatic Manufacture Flyback Chronograph Caliber
32 jewels, 38 hours power reserve, 28’800 alt/h
Movement Specifications:
Base movement AL-710 automatic small date
Automatic Mechanical Chronograph: 
  • Central chronograph seconds, 30 minutes chronograph totalizer at 3h
  • Start-Stop pusher at 2h
  • Return to zero pusher at 4h
  • Hours, minutes, seconds at 9h,
  • Date by hand at 6h
13 ¼ line (30.5 mm diameter)
4 Hz, 28.800 Bph
38 Hour Power Reserve
Incabloc Antichoc  (x2)
« Côtes de Genève » & « perlage »  decoration
« Anglage » and « Rhodiage » on all bridges
PVD coated rotor decorated with « Solleilage »
Number of movement parts
Flyback chronograph module: 96
Platine and bridges:  10
Automatic wheels:  4
Tirette systems:  8
Regulating systems:  7
Assortments: 10
Jewels: 32
Screws: 45
Rotor: 1
Other parts: 51
Total: 233
Hours, minutes, seconds at 9, date by date at 6 o’clock
Mechanical Flyback Chronograph: 
Central chronograph seconds hand    
30minutes counter at 3 o’clock       
Stainless Steel with Black PVD coating
 44 mm diameter
 Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
 10 ATM/100m/330ft water-resistant
 Engraved case-back
 Antimagnetic (ISO Certified)
 Antishock (ISO Certified)
 Screw-in crown
Black dial with applied pearl black indexes with beige luminous coating
Beige luminous coated hour and minute hands.
Telemeter scale.
Black genuine leather strap with beige stitching

--------------------------------------------------------- - Alpina Watches

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