Watches
Jewellery

Alex’s Alpina Diary – Day 2

Alpina News & Releases

Last week I wrote a post about the first day of my fascinating trip to the Alpina factory in Geneva, focussing on the sightseeing side of the trip – but by day 2, the tourism was over and it was time to knuckle down and get back to work.

Luckily the tour of the factory was at least as exciting as the tour of the lake, especially for those of us who are fascinated by all things horological! When you visit Geneva, the craft of watch-making surrounds you, however as we approached the factory it was clear that we were moving even deeper into the territory of the master crafters, with impressive facilities for many of the biggest watch brands; not only Alpina but many others, including Rolex.

It is not only their physical location which puts Alpina in the good company of these watch brands, but also their dedication to the creation of truly outstanding watches. Recently, they became one of the very few companies to be granted the Geneva Seal, alongside companies such as Cartier and Chopard, which have had far longer to establish their names.

With this in mind, taking a tour around the factory certainly gave us an intriguing and welcome insight to what goes in to creating such highly respected timepieces. Remarkably, they have managed to keep operations quite small, with only around 150 members of staff; this means that the quality can be ensured, as everyone remains accountable for their work.

Less surprising was the high tech machinery which could be found around every corner. Many of the gadgets which we saw at the Alpina factory were deceptively simple to look at – take the picture below, for instance. These relatively innocuous machines were actually a crucial part of the working day, sucking dust and impurities out of the air to ensure that the more delicate components of the watches weren’t damaged.

Perhaps one of the most striking things which I found as I looked around Alpina was the juxtaposition of old and new – the desire to remain true to their heritage (much of which I outlined in last week’s post) whilst still finding ways to move into the new era and stay at the cutting edge of technology.

Nowhere was this more apparent than with the horological smart watch – a hybrid design which would offer the same high standard of machinery as all of their other watches, whilst also offering 21st century connectivity. With designs such as this, Alpina and their dedicated team are remaining true to their roots while also staying relevant. Of course, they are also still focussing on the more traditional designs which they see as their ‘DNA’ – sports and lifestyle watches which capture that spirit of adventure and can be worn by people who lead a full life.

The ingenuity of the technology was matched only by that of the people themselves, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people who spend their days dealing with these small and delicate watch parts – apparently while listening to ACDC!

We also met Pin, the head watch-maker, who was discovered at the university in Holland; his enthusiasm for the full variety of products being created by Alpina was certainly infectious, and I think that everybody there came away with a renewed passion for the industry. It certainly made me proud that we are able to offer Alpina watches here at Banks Lyon; if you are interested in the range or would like to talk to us about the many other brands currently available please don’t hesitate to get in touch, online or at 01524 38 48 58, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

For the final instalment on my Alpina trip keep an eye out for my digital ‘photo album’, full of pictures from the trip and coming to the blog very soon!

{star-snippet}