No, it’s not a breakfast cereal, the Reiser Alpen is a new octagonal German-made watch with a stunning guilloche dial.
Reiser Alpen Review
The Reiser Alpen is presented in a stunning padded box, which oozes quality. It set the scene well for what turns out to be a rather nice wristwatch. The watch will retail between £440 (on a strap) and £465 (as reviewed, on a bracelet). It is designed in the Netherlands and made in Germany – and the design is protected by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Case and Movement
Let’s begin with some specifications: the Reiser Alpen has an octagonal 41mm case which means it wears bigger than the equivalent round watch thanks to the greater dial area. The Seiko NH35 movement (cost-effective but high quality) allows for a thickness of just 11.45mm – and the flat sapphire crystal means it looks as thin as it sounds from the side. The crown, at 5mm diameter, is a little smaller than I would like but any bigger and it would have overhung the case – so it is a sensible compromise to maintain the thin profile. I loved the design feature whereby the bevel changes angle and thickness on the case sides to make the watch feel even slimmer.
Round the back is a display window – I’m not usually a fan of seeing the NH35 movement, which is rather plain. The Reiser Alpen solves that problem with a really attractive decorated rose gold rotor. It looks good and adds to the feeling of quality. The watch is comfortable to wear and looks good on the wrist. I was surprised it only has 50m water resistance – not because I would want to go deep-sea diving with it, but because a higher water resistance can indicate a higher build quality and this watch feels just as solid as my 150m rated Christopher Ward c65 Trident. If I had to pick fault, the brushing on the case could be a bit neater.
Dial and Hands
The Reiser Alpen is all about the dial. A deep guilloche pattern is stamped into the gloddy green dial, catching the light wonderfully, and the hands are simple but supremely legible. Applied markers add to the quality feel of the watch, and the date window is a welcome addition. An angled chapter ring emphasises the depth of the dial. Overall, a really good looking watch that is easy to use as a daily wearer.
Bracelet and Clasp
You immediately notice the integrated bracelet of the Reiser Alpen, and one can be forgiven for thinking it’s just another Genta copy. That is true to an extent, but there are some significant design points in the production models that I think improve the wearability of the watch. The review sample has fixed end links that make the watch overhang smaller wrists. The final watches will have this part flexible so it wraps the wrist better. I demonstrate in the video review, and it makes a good bracelet great, in my opinion.
The clasp is a simple butterfly with decoration. I would have to reverse it as there is a Reiser branded part on the end that hands over – meaning you have to close it 6 O’clock end first. I prefer to do it the other way. A minor irritation that doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the watch. What might is the absence of any micro-adjustments, meaning you had better not have a wrist halfway between a link size or you may struggle to get the perfect fit. Having said that, the push pins are easy to get in and out so it’s not too much stress to get the right fit, and once sized it is very comfortable to wear. Please note that the production watches will have a slightly wider bracelet – I show this in the video review.
Reiser Alpen – Video Review
What I Liked
- The watch is Genta-inspired but has enough of its own identity to stand out
- The dial looks great, especially in natural light
- For a relatively big watch, it is very pleasant to wear
What I Didn’t Like
- The bracelet’s lack of micro-adjustments could make it hard to get the perfect fit
- The brushing on the case – especially the bezel – could be a bit neater
- The price is higher than some similarly-specced competitors
Reiser Alpen – the WRUK verdict
Let’s address the elephant in the room: at £465, the Reiser Alpen costs more than some similar Genta-inspired watches we’ve reviewed lately – and is also relatively expensive for an NH-35-equipped timepiece – but I think it is worth the money. Let me explain…
First up, the closest competitors I have seen to the Reiser Alpen recently are the Swan and Edgar Sovereign and the Rotary Regent. The Swan and Edgar watch is half the price but has an unbranded movement and the difference in build quality reflects the price difference. The Rotary is better and £100 less, with better finishing. I prefer the Seiko NH35 to the Miyota movement in the Regent, though.
The reason that I believe the higher price is justified is that the other two watches are made in China, whereas the Reiser is made in Germany. Now I don’t doubt that significant portions of the watch originate in the Far East, but there is an intrinsic value to a Made in Germany product that I think is deserving of a price premium, and which is worth supporting.
Overall, then, despite a couple of niggles, the Reiser Alpen is a good-looking watch that is nice to wear and one that I am happy to give the WRUK seal of approval.
Buy a Reiser Alpen
You can grab your Alpen direct from Reiser watches online: https://www.reiserwatches.com/