Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue

Alpina Startimer Series: Pilot Heritage GMT Review

Looking for a travel buddy? The Alpina Startimer Heritage GMT may be a good lead for your adventure.

Date Published
Oct 11, 2021
Gnomon Watches
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I am a traveler and going over to new places would certainly be my passion. Exploring culture and the people while also admiring mother nature. My best buddy for traveling always sits tight right on my wrist — you’re right, a lovely timepiece that’s more than just telling the time. As for me, an explorer without a watch is like losing a soul. It serves me with a range of needs either functional and fashionable ones. I’ve been switching from one watch to another but the Alpina startimer has always picked my interest. And recently, I have added the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue Ref. AL-555LNS4H6 in my collection along with the other 4 of them.

Talking about Alpina, this watch brand has been known as a creative Swiss brand that manufactured watch movements and calibers for both the Swiss and German markets from the early 20th century. Back then, they focused on making rugged tool watches that were also supplied to the military. As for the new Startimer Heritage GMT, it was introduced as the collection of aviation-inspired watches.

But truth to be told, the pandemic of Covid-19 has changed almost my whole life when going to places is not allowed. I’ve been staying in my home and, therefore, rather than being killed by boredom I started to think about writing an Alpina startimer review. Let me introduce you to quite a large buddy of mine, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue Ref. AL-555LNS4H6. It’s a big one with a bold look but vintage at the same time thanks to its brown strap and a unique case design.


The case might be the thing that would intrigue you, the Alpina Startimer Heritage GMT takes a different design from their current collection. It might make the watch look too big on your wrist — to be honest, this also concerned me at first — but once you strap the watch on your wrist, its 42mm side-to-side and roughly 45mm lug-to-lug just feels so right. It does look bigger because of the rectangular shape and lugless design but the case sits proportionately ideal on my 7inch wrist.

Protruding on the right side of the case, the two crowns sit beautifully located at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions. The bidirectional inner GMT bezel can be easily operated using the screwed-in knurled crown, the one at 2 o’clock, while the crown at 4 o’clock is used to quickly adjust the winding and date settings.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue
The case of Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue

Alpina’s dedication and consideration to provide details can also be seen through the use of classy “boxed” sapphire crystal with double anti-reflection coating — this is where the image of vintage is radiated from. The finishing is also well done with a hand satin-brushed on all surfaces, except for a polished bevel. With that being said, the Alpina Startimer Heritage GMT appears with a high-rate case finishing.

Last but not least, you can also see Alpina’s mountain and airplane logo as an indicator of the Startimer collection in the caseback — once you flip over your watch. Around the caseback’s perimeter, Alpina engraved every particular of the watch, especially its 10 ATM water resistance.


“Don’t judge the book by its cover,” they said, but I couldn’t deny that its beautiful dial is what attracted me at the first sight. It lays underneath a boxed sapphire crystal. Its vintage stylings just hit differently. Talking about the dial, it slightly gives a taste of the Omega Seamaster Memomatic Alarm from the 1970s. What makes it different is that the Alpina Startimer Heritage GMT opted out of the Memomatic for a GMT function — a nice choice for a traveler.

As you can see, the Alpina Startimer Heritage GMT made another distinctive image by putting a GMT indicator, a spinning white triangle, on an inner disc while the GMT markers are on the outer rotating bezel. At the 12 o’clock position, an Alpina logo was engraved and a unique date window was put at the 3 o’clock position. The date aperture was surrounded by a rectangular polished frame inside a hole that was cut in such a manner to give a visual cue of depth on the dial. Moreover, the integrated magnifier inside the date window would further enhance the date legibility. 

Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue
The dial of Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue

Alpina also applied Superluminova for the hour and minute hands as well as GMT hour markers. It also brings out an old-school combination because of the orange second hand that ticks beautifully against the sunburst sunset blue dial combined with the inner ocean blue GMT disc.


The gem of the new Startimer Heritage GMT lies in its AL-555 automatic caliber that provides a reliable and true GMT function like the GMT Master II. It derives a Sellita automatic movement that could feature an independently adjustable local hour hand. It has great functionality for a traveler like me, I could adjust the GMT disc to my home time zone and, at the same time, set the hour hand to my local time as I enter a new time zone. It defines a reliable buddy to use as I travel.

Well, generally speaking, the GMT function is my highlight of the watch. The idea of a different time zone always instills my mind with a sense of adventure and going to new places. Although during this pandemic time, all I can do is just setting the GMT to trace a time zone I wish I were in.

Strap and wearability 

The stitched leather strap on this timepiece is also a big contribution to complete the overall vintage look with the lugless design. It’s inevitable that stitching is also one of the ways to perform robustness to the watch. Not to mention, the buckle also comes in doubles as the first keeper. In all, the strap is well-made and would make you comfortable all day long. It matches well with the watch.

Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue
The strap of Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Sunset Blue

Final thoughts

Then, here I am at the end of my Alpina startimer pilot review and I would say that the Alpina would be a good choice for you who are looking for something unique in a timepiece. As for me, the function of jumping local hours has made a great impression on me, especially at this price point — you can afford this timepiece for $990. Currently, you can choose the dial color either in blue (as mine), black, or dark green.

Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.

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