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by bpawhite

Well finally I have found the time to do a review of my latest addition. Sorry that it took so long Max. I have been on vacation for a couple of weeks and went back to California to see the folks, so I just didn’t find time to do this until now. You may remember that I did a review of the Alpha Daytona that I bought back in September. I looked at all the watches on their website and liked the look of the Daytona but it was not until I saw Max’s fantastic photos that I decided to purchase one. I was very happy with the watch although I think it looks slightly better in Max’s photo than in real life. The case of the watch is fantastic but I wasn’t thrilled with the bracelet and clasp. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it; I just wasn’t keen on how much it tapers from 20mm at the lugs to about 16mm at the clasp. Recently I put an alligator strap with a deployment clasp on the watch and now I think it looks way better. Here is a photo:




Anyway, I started talking to some of the other Agents at the station about watches and a few of them have since become quite interested. Although, I must add that none have gone off the deep end enough to join us merry fools in the ranks of the WIS. I told one of the guys about Alphas and he looked at the website. He liked the Speedmaster and ordered one. I saw the photo on the Alpha website and was not impressed, it just didn’t grab me. Well, about a week later he comes into work with it and WOW, WOW, WOW. I could not believe it. This watch is gorgeous!! So I ordered two and gave one to my brother-in-law for Christmas. Here it is:



And here are the watch’s specs:
43mm 9 – 3 o’clock including crown which is flush with the case when screwed in.
15mm thick at the thickest part of the domed crystal.
48mm lug to lug.
20mm band width.
Screw on case back.
Screw down crown.
Non-screw down pushers.
Push-button deployment clasp with diver’s extension.
Solid stainless steel bracelet with solid end links.
Spring-bar connection to lugs.
154 grams (this was taken from the Alpha website and not weighed by me).
21 Jewel movement (once again taken from the Alpha website and not verified by me)


Guys, I cannot say enough about this watch. It is the nicest watch that I own. I don’t know how they can make them for this price. $55.00 including shipping from Hong Kong. I don’t know how they pay their watchmakers.

My Alpha Daytona is nice but the fit and finish is not as nice as on my Invicta 8926 or my 8928. The new Speedmaster however, is in my opinion superior. It has become my favorite watch quite quickly. In an attempt to give a review of this watch, I will go over all of the parts of the watch individually and rate them on a scale of 1 – 10.

Crystal:
The watch has a domed mineral crystal that gives it a distinctive look. The curvature of the crystal tends to magnify the minute/second markers and when viewed at an angle distorts the dial and hands in a way that is very attractive. The crystal is perfectly clear and no dust or blemishes of any sort can be seen inside or out. It is getting a 9 only because it is not sapphire.
Rating: 9 out of 10

Here is a picture of the side view of the watch. You can see the fantastic dome of the crystal:


And another that shows off the crystal:


Dial:
The dial on this watch is really beautiful. It is a metallic silver color and has very faint lines that appear to radiate from the center to the edges. Something about the combination of the dial and the domed crystal really make the face of the watch pop and stand out. Light seems to reflect off the dial no matter what angle you view the watch. The sub dials have a series of concentric embossed circles that help to separate them from the rest of the dial.
Rating: 10 out of 10

Here is a photo of the dial at an angle. It really shows how the light catches the dial and it really pops:



Here is a photo of the dial. Unfortunately, my digital camera will not let me macro any closer than this so I was not able to get a good close-up of the sub dials:



Lume:
Three words sum up all that needs to be said about the lime on this watch, “Practically Non Existent.” I was not impressed with the lume on my Invicta 8926 when I got it. However, compared to the Alpha, the Invicta looks like it has gas tubes in it. I held a Police Stinger Flashlight up against the crystal for 15 – 20 seconds (This makes my Invicta glow like crazy) and the Alpha glowed for all of about 3 seconds. I’m giving it a 2 only because it has lume at all.
Rating: 2 out of 10

I’d post a lume shot here, but a black rectangle with nothing in it doesn’t make for viewing pleasure.


Bezel:
Well there is both good and bad here. The non-rotating metal ring itself is flawless. Perfect fit and finish. My problem is with the bezel insert. Its outer diameter is slightly smaller than the inner diameter of the bezel ring. I realize that I’m being a little anal here; the difference is minute, probably only a few thousandths of an inch, but it is just enough that when viewed carefully you can see a very slight gap. Also, as you can see in the previous photo, the bezel insert is not properly aligned. It looks as though it was glued in incorrectly. The 60 does not line up with 12 o’clock marker at the top of the dial by about 1/3 of a second. Once again, I realize that I am being picky, but I believe that we are all rather particular about our watches and any imperfections that they may have. I’m giving the bezel a 7 because these two imperfections are rather minor. I wonder if the bezel insert could be heated up to melt the glue long enough to move it a little without damaging the watch? Any opinions?
Rating: 7 out of 10


Bracelet:
The watch has a speedmaster style bracelet that is without a doubt perfect. The bracelet was the very first thing that I noticed when I unwrapped this watch. Now, let me preface what I am about to say by telling you that I have never held an Omega Speedmaster, but I have tried on and given a good once over to an Omega Aqua Terra at a jewelry store. I have to tell you that the bracelet on the Alpha is every bit as good if not better than the Omega. I don’t know if the Omega has a half link, but the Alpha did not. That did not make a difference to me as taking out one link made it fit perfectly. The solid end links (SEL) were a nice surprise and fit the case tightly. If you hold the watch up to the light you cannot see any light in between the SEL and the case. You don’t see SELs on an Invicta until you spend about $300. This bracelet is the nicest that I have ever seen in person.
Rating: 10 out of 10

Here is a picture that shows the bracelet:


And one that shows the solid end links:



Clasp:
The clasp on this watch is a solid stainless steel pushbutton deployment with a diver’s extension. All of the parts are well machined and finished. The clasp is rather complex with a lot of small parts. This is due to it having a pushbutton deployment and a diver’s extension. The thing that surprised me about this clasp is how tight all of the clearances are. The way the clasp folds in on itself and yet fits perfectly flush with the inside of the clasp speaks well of the way it was made. The clearance in-between the individual parts would probably be measured in thousandths of an inch. This is certainly not what I would have expected to see in a Chinese manufactured watch. The clasp is unfortunately prone to desk driving scratches, but I suppose that can’t be helped on this style clasp.
Rating: 10 out of 10.

Here is a photo of the bracelet and clasp when closed:


Here is a photo of the bracelet and clasp when open:


Here is a photo of the bracelet and clasp when closed with the diver’s extension open:


And here is one with both the clasp and the diver’s extension open:



Case:
The case appears to be well made and beautifully finished. The sides are brushed and the top/face parts are polished. The crown screws in well and the pushers are smooth to operate. I can see no blemishes of any kind. On the back of the case I can however see the marks from where the case was on the lathe/milling machine. They are very, very faint and in the form of concentric circles. They are even in texture and color. To me they do not take away anything from the overall feel of the watch. I do wish the watch had a display back, but I guess you can’t have it all. I am giving it a 9 because even though the mill marks don’t bother me they may bother others.
Rating: 9 out of 10.


Movement:
Well this one will have to remain somewhat of a mystery. I do not have a case back removal tool and even if I did, I’m not so sure that I would use it. I’d hate to get dust or debris of some sort inside the watch. So unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the movement.

The watch has an automatic movement with 3 complications. The 3 o’clock sub dial is the date, the 6 o’clock sub dial is a 24-hour hand, and the 9 o’clock sub dial is the day of the week. The second hand on the Alpha sweeps every bit as smoothly if not better than my Invicta 8926 which has a Miyota 8215. The date and the day change promptly at midnight with no hesitation. I have not done a power reserve test on the watch and the Alpha website does not list a reserve time. I’m not sure quite how to rate this but as I can’t find anything wrong with it I don’t see how I can justify deducting any points.
Rating: 10 out of 10


Overall Fit and Finish:
This watch is beautifully made and the fit and finish have far exceeded my expectations. I cannot say enough about how great this watch looks and feels.
Rating: 10 out of 10.


Value:
$55.00 including shipping from Hong Kong. What more do I have to say? Can I give it a 15 out of 10?? This is not only the best deal that I have ever gotten on a watch, but it is possible the best value for money of any consumer item that I have ever purchased. I truly can’t believe that this watch can be made for this amount of money and be of as high a quality as it is. It sure makes you think about how ripped-off you get buying a high-end watch! Sure, I’d love an Omega SMP Bond, but if Alpha can make a good watch and still make a profit at $50, surely Omega could make one for ten times as much and still make a profit. But no, you can’t get a SMP for $500, more like $1500. That’s 30 times the price of this Alpha. Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t for one-minute doubt that the Omega is a better watch. But 30 times better? No way!!
Rating: 10 out of 10.


Totals:
87 out of 100

Now in coming up with this total score I have just added up the individual scores and given no weight to any of the individual elements. That said, to me value is the most important element of reviewing a watch. I very much like Omega’s Aqua Terra watch and I’m sure that it would get a glowing review, but at $2000 I’m never going to buy one. Same thing for the Rolex Sub, but at $4500 forget it. I would way rather have a Steinhart Ocean 1 and a mix of 30 – 40 Invictas and Alphas for the same price. I will never understand paying that kind of price for a watch; I don’t care how good it is.

Also, something to keep in mind is that the different elements may mean more to you than others. For example, lume may be very important to you but the type of crystal means nothing. Or vice versa, the crystal just has to be sapphire but you don’t care much about lume. In that regard the overall score is a little subjective. In my opinion, had this watch had Super Luminova and had the bezel fixed, it would have scored a 98.


Here is a side by side of the Alpha Speedmaster and my Invicta 8926:


And here is a wrist shot that I’m sure I’ll be using quite often:



Let me know what you guys think of the watch and the review. I may have been a little long winded. Sorry.

@ Knight Watchman & Mtech, once this thread has played out, and if it is deemed worthy, it would be an honor to have it moved to the review and reference forum.

bpajwhite :)
 
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