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Alex’s Alpina Diary – Day 1

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Earlier this month I was given the incredible opportunity of heading out to Geneva in Switzerland. Ostensibly this was to be a business trip, and certainly I benefited enormously from the opportunity of meeting some of the top brains behind the stunning Alpina brand, and of seeing them in action as they worked on some of the most impressive, and yet surprisingly affordable, watches of our generation.

However, no trip to such a beautiful place is complete without a little sightseeing, so for day one of my two day trip I was happy to play the role of the tourist. There was certainly a lot to see, and with expert guides there to lead our party through the historical town and across Lake Geneva itself I was able to absorb as much history – and fine Swiss cuisine – as one day would allow. So, for Part 1 of my Alpina diary, I would like to set the scene for you by relaying the tale of that first day in the city.

After a pretty early start, and with more than a few bleary eyes among us, we arrived in Geneva for a much needed coffee and a first look at the hotel. The comfort of clean sheets beckoned for those of us who had been awake since the early hours, but we tore ourselves away for a delicious quail lunch and then the main attraction: a boat tour around the croissant shaped Lake Geneva.

The landmarks and sites of historical significance came too thick and fast for me to list them all here, but a few highlights really piqued my interest – I was fascinated to see Villa Diodati, the house where Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley were famously staying when Shelley first conceived of the story which would go on to become Frankenstein, while the popular Geneva Water Fountain was a must-see attraction.

After the boat tour we were ushered along to Geneva Old Town, a district which felt very exclusive, with some exquisite architecture which really captured the alpine style. As we wandered through the city soaking up the atmosphere, it was hard not to feel the spirit that captured the imagination of Gottlieb Hauser all the way back in 1833, when he brought together the leading independent Swiss watchmakers, creating a community of so called ‘Alpinists’.

Spending much of his time mountaineering in the Alps, Hauser was nothing if not inspired by his surroundings – he dreamed of creating a watch which would match the exceptionally high standards of precision and timekeeping, whilst simultaneously thriving in a sporting environment. After defining the four characteristics of a true sports watch (antimagnetic, antishock, water-resistant and made from stainless steel) he was able to lead his brand to the creation of just such a watch.

For me as a huge fan of the innovation behind Alpina, it was incredible to have the opportunity to experience the very surroundings which gave birth to the brand. We stock a huge range of Alpina watches here at our Banks Lyon store, so if you would like to see the designs offered by the modern company please have a browse – for more information you can contact us online or at 01524 38 48 58. Otherwise, tune in next week to find part 2 of my diary, where I’ll delve into the technical world of the Alpina factory – sure to be a must read for all the watch-lovers out there.

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