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The Seastrong Diver Extreme is Peak Alpina

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic

Frederique Constant and Alpina have always made an appealing little duo of accessible Swiss watchmaking. On the one hand you have pure classical watchmaking that takes in everything from time-only dress watches to tourbillons in that kind of traditional Swiss way that normally commands a much higher price tag.

Alpina on the other hand takes that same mission statement – a balance of quality and value – but comes at it from the perspective of a sports watch. Granted, there’s a lot more competition in that particular realm; accessibility and ruggedness often go hand-in-hand these days, with plenty of military slanted brands and dive watches aplenty. Even among that ever more crowded field though, Alpina stands out, their secret weapon being the superb Seastrong Diver.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic Blue
Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic Grey

Yes, it might have a name as obvious as Firehot, but Alpina’s Seastrong collection fits the brand’s self-imposed mandate impeccably, and it nails both parts of the name. On the one hand it is indeed a diving watch for use at sea. That means 300m of water resistance, unidirectional rotating bezels (or compressor-style interior bezel in the case of the Heritage models) and plenty of lume for low-light reading.

As for the ‘Strong’, that’s the purview of Alpina’s Extreme case. Yes, it’s new to the Seastrong collection, but it’s the perfect fit for a watch designed to survive the harshest environments on Earth. While most cushion cases lean on a vintage, 1930s aesthetic – your Fears, Duckworth Prestexes, and the like – Alpina’s version is anything but retro. It’s big, bold and faceted, design to take a punch to the crystal.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic

The Extreme case actually comes from Alpina’s frustratingly named Alpiner collection, but I’d argue it suits the Seastrong even better. The screwed bezel was just a bit too Genta-esque and replacing it with a unidirectional diving number changes the dynamic for the better. It reminds me of the old Jean Richard cushion-cased divers from a decade or so ago, which I was always a huge fan of, just you know, successful.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic Blue

The case isn’t the only element that’s been cross-pollinated from the Alpiner; it brings with it a deeply textured dial that elevates the Seastrong Diver from a sensible, practical piece of diving equipment to something genuinely cool. It’s still just as practical, but the new tessellated triangles of the Extreme dials set them apart from the reams of other watches that, on paper, have similar specs. That’s particularly true of the awesome black and orange version, which throws in an orange inner bezel to a match its rubber strap and orange-ripped seconds hand, making for the highlight of the collection, in more ways than one.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic GMT

Alongside adopting the Extreme case shape is Seastrong’s trend towards smaller timepieces, downsizing from the 41mm case used in the collection previously to 39mm. If that sounds small for a diver, don’t worry, the broader shoulders of a cushion case mean it still has plenty of wrist presence, especially with the eye-catching faceted lugs of the integrated rubber straps and brushed bracelet. It will fit smaller wrists but won’t look out of place on larger wrists either – whereas I can’t really get away with the larger size myself.

Speaking of wearability, Alpina has also taken the opportunity to add arguably the most useful common complication in watchmaking, the GMT. It’s a relatively subtle difference as there’s no additional 24-hour scale, which would make the dial a bit too busy, opting instead for just the central 24-hour hand with a red arrow for easy differentiation. It’s not too big a price increase from the automatic versions either – though I would like to see it available in the orange and black. Alas, you can’t have everything. Yet.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic GMT Silver

Inside each automatic is the workhorse AL-525 workhorse automatic or the AL-560 for the GMT. Oddly enough, the former only has a 38-hour power reserve which isn’t ideal in this day and age. The GMT version however has a solid 50 hours, despite the additional function, which is actually great.

Honestly, other than the Gyre edition with its striking black and bright blue colourway, I’ve always felt that the Seastrong as a collection got lost in the mix. Alpina were doing interesting things in the Alpiner and some downright awesome stuff in the Startimer collection, but their divers just didn’t stand out from the submarine armada of bang-for-your-buck underwater watches out there. These new pieces, with their smaller sizes, vibrant new looks and solid specs are the shot in the arm the Seastrong needed.

Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic
Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic GMT Silver

Even when there’s so much competition, a watch like this is an incredibly tempting prospect for £1,795 for the automatic (£1,895 for that superb orange), going up to £2,192 for the GMT. Given the additional power you get from the movement, that GMT looks very, very appealing. Now if only they’d do it in that orange…

Price and Specs:

Model: Alpina Seastrong Diver Extreme Automatic
Case: 39mm diameter x 12mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Black, silver, blue or grey, triangle pattern
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Alpina calibre AL-525 (based on Sellita SW200), automatic, 26 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Rubber with folding buckle and push buttons or stainless steel bracelet
Price: £1,795 (blue), £1,895 (orange), £1,995 (grey), £2,195 (GMT)

More details at Alpina.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.