When winter arrives, the slopes beckon. A slew of wearable tech designed for skiers has recently made a mark on the industry (and no, we don’t want to see any more of your Go Pro footage, thanks). Smartwatches for skiing now hold almost as much appeal as traditional watches – although there’s nothing quite as civilised as sporting something more traditional while carving up pristine powder runs. Here we take a look at the best of both worlds.
Alpina’s luxury sports watches have long been associated with mountain-going types (the clue’s in the name), but the ‘Alpinist’ philosophy truly began with the Alpina 4 in 1938. The four attributes it brought together were antimagnetism, water- and shock-resistance, in a stainless steel case. All four traits still found in most luxury sports watches today.
The Alpiner 4 Automatic (as worn by one of Alpina’s newest ambassadors, Luca Aerni from the Swiss Ski Team) is a descendant of the 1938 model. In a 44mm steel case, it has a handsome blue sunburst dial and a steel diver’s watch-style bezel with a mixture of numerals and dots. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock, and long, luminous hour markers. The seconds hand is tipped with a red triangle – part of the Alpina logo. Inside is the AL-525 calibre with a 38-hour power reserve.
On the smartwatch side of affairs, Alpina this year released the Seastrong Horological Smartwatch. At first glance, it could easily pass for a mechanical watch, with a sporty dive watch aesthetic (it’s designed to be waterproof to 100m, so insult won’t be added to injury if you wipe-out spectacularly in the slush). The wearer can receive calls, texts or email notifications, and monitor activity and sleep. The Seastrong can also give the time in your hometown – perfect if you’re journeying to a far-flung destination; alpinawatches.com
Longines, meanwhile, has taken the step of partnering with an actual ski resort: the impeccably luxurious St Moritz. The Longines skiing connection dates back to 1933, when the brand timed the Alpine ski trials in Chamonix.
St Moritz seems a fitting partner, thanks to the somewhat apocryphal origin story of winter tourism in the village, and – the story goes – in the entire Alps. Legend has it that in September 1864, four English climbers were lamenting their imminent return to Britain. A local hotelier made them a fine bet: to come back in winter and decide whether it was sunny enough for them to enjoy themselves. If they did like it, they could stay as guests for as long as they wanted. If they didn’t, he would reimburse their travel costs. Of course, the Brits found themselves enamoured, and have been wintering there ever since.
The 41mm Conquest 1/100th St Moritz, part of Longines’s Conquest 1/100th series, is a chronograph that measures multiple intermediary times, showing the time to one hundredth of a second with a separate hand.
On the silver-coloured sunburst dial, the three sub-dials and the hundredth of a second scale and hand stand out in blue and yellow, colours synonymous with St Moritz. The resort’s sun-shaped logo is engraved on the caseback. Inside is an ETA calibre L440, with a microcontroller with flash memory for recording split times and allowing instant resets – ideal for any slalom fanatic; www.longines.co.uk/watches
Swiss company Linde Werdelin crafts limited numbers of super-lightweight outdoor sports watches. The company tested out its SpidoSpeed Carbon Green by strapping it to the wrist of Danish competitive freeskier Sebastian Jakobsen as he toured Iceland, hiking up couloirs before clicking into his skis for the descent.
Linde Werdelin’s contemporary watches lend themselves nicely to extreme sport in both design and function; futuristic aesthetic appeal is backed up by lightweight durability. The SpidoSpeed Carbon Green is more skeletonised than previous iterations, not only on the black forged carbon case but also the dial and movement; turn it over and on the back, the rotor too is skeletonised, in the shape of a stylised ‘LW’ logo.
Linde Werdelin’s project of skeletonisation began with the most famous mountain of them all. Founders Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin were approached by Leo Houlding ahead of his Altitude Everest Expedition in June 2007. Houlding suggested that the Linde Werdelin kit was a too heavy; Linde responded by stripping away any excess – no mean feat with such a small amount with which to play.
On the side of the watch, a spider-engraved crown and ‘start-stop’ pusher for the chronograph have been highlighted in the same bright green that accents the dial; handy for using on a low-visibility day on the slopes; lindewerdelin.com