Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic

Venerable Swiss watchmaker Alpina is no stranger to tool watches. They supplied watches for military pilots in the 1920's, developed water resistant models in the 1930's, and launched the first Seastrong diver in 1969. The Seastrong has seen several incarnations since then. The current line consists of the Horological Smartwatch, the Big Date Chronograph, the Heritage reissue, and the Diver 300 Automatic that Alpina loaned me for this review.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic

First, the specs. The Seastrong is a 44mm wide diver rated for 300m. It features a sapphire crystal, display case back, 120-click unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, and luminous indices. The press loaner was a model AL-525LBG4V6B with a black dial, gray bezel, and a stainless steel bracelet. It lists for $1395 USD.


Alpina produces several in-house movements, but the Seastrong's AL-525 is not one of them. Instead, it is a modified Sellita SW-200. This 26 jewel automatic has Incabloc shock protection, a 38-hour power reserve, and a smooth 28.8k bph sweep. I don't usually care much for exhibition case backs on divers as they can complicate pressure resistance and the movements behind them tend to be more workmanlike than pretty, but the AL-525's Geneva stripes, blued screws, engraved black rotor, and high level of finish makes it well worth the look.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic case back movement

I'll confess that I was a bit put off when I saw the Seastrong had a 44mm cushion shaped case. The Time Bum is not a terribly big dude, and while I have no compunction about wearing oversized divers on the weekends, I usually can't pull off anything quite that large with my usual work week business suits. Also, in case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of cheap. If I'm dropping over a thousand bucks on a watch, I want to be sure it will get some quality wrist time. I'm pleased to report that the Seastrong fit the bill. Measuring 49mm long and 13mm thick, it certainly is not lacking presence, but it fit the confines of my 6.5" wrist and found its way under my dress shirt's cuff without issue. This is a good thing because while the this is certainly a capable diver, it is also quite handsome.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic wrist shot

The Seastrong isn't as square as most cushion case watches; in fact, I'm more inclined to paradoxically describe it as "round with corners." They aren't large corners, but they are there, flowing off of bowed sides to fill it out a touch. A shallow bump out on the left mirrors the low-profile crown guards on the right. Surface finishes alternate from the brushed top, to the polished sides of the lugs and barrel, to the brushed tables of the bumper and guards. The angular interplay works, creating a sophisticated, masculine silhouette that stops short of being blocky or slab-sided.

The large screw-down crown is polished with a black barrel and head. Its texture is not very deep, but it is sufficient to afford a good grip. It is signed with the Alpina red triangle logo. As expected, it operated smoothly.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic crown

Alpina took care to get the details right and nowhere is that more apparent than on the bezel. It has only six small patches of teeth to hold onto, but the action is flawless - smooth and firm without a hint of wobble or back play. A polished edge and a dark matte gray aluminum insert provide just enough contrast against the black dial and the satin finish on the upper surface of the case.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic bracelet

Both the bezel and the dial feature oblong markers that stand proud of the surface. All are filled with strong white lume, even those on the bezel. I particularly like the recessed lume pip inside the red triangle on the bezel. In fact, the famous red Alpina logo also appears on the crown and on the second hand counterweight. 

The dial presents a clean and classy face. It's not too busy and restrained enough to cross over into dress-diver territory. Polished and semi-skeletonized sword hands carry lume at their tips. There are numbers on the minute index, but no hash marks in between. Text is limited to the Alpina brand name at the top of the dial, "Automatic" and "300M 1000FT" at the bottom. A white-on-black date window peeks through at 3 o'clock. Thanks to the large markers and generous application of lume, it is also highly legible, day or night.


Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic lume

I always tell my readers to "buy the bracelet, " and this is no exception. Several other Seastrongs come with a 22mm rubber tropic strap, but this one (and others with SKUs ending in B) has an excellent H-link bracelet that tapers to a 20mm push-button, butterfly deployant clasp. Following the finishing of the watch, the bracelet is brushed with polished center links. Its seamlessly integrated, low-profile clasp keeps the bulk to a minimum, further dressing up the watch.

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic bracelet

All told, the Seastrong impressed me. Granted, some may take issue with the absence of a graduated index, but I am not among them. I even grew comfortable with its size. I still might have preferred it at 42mm, but the Seastrong carries its proportions nicely. The Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 is not a flashy piece, rather, it is solid and tasteful with top quality construction and a host of desirable details. For more information see AlpinaWatches.com. ⬩

Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic
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