Alpha “Sub” Hommage Watch

Looking through my array of watches a few months ago, I found that I was without a Rolex Submariner hommage. Looking through my wallet, I found that i could not afford the original anyway. Besides, the idea of having such an amount of cash on my wrist never pleased me.I had read mixed things about Alpha watches from China on several watch forums, but they looked really great on most photos there, so i ordered one from Alpha´s homepage via paypal. The price of  (currently) 58 dollars includes shipping with registered mail.Upon arrival of the small box several weeks later, i found the index bar at six o clock having become loose, probably during the postal ride, happily flying around under the crystal. Two days later, the Alpha was back on its way to China for repair. Another three weeks later, it was returned to me. Repaired. The one year guarantee against defects seems to work. Quite frankly, i had not expected to see my watch again.I have worn the watch every day since then and i must say that the bracelet is quite well made with screwed-together links and comfortable on the wrist. The clasp is not up to the standard of the bracelet, being cheap and thin sheet metal. I am told that Rolex didn´t make them any better for several decades, up until the 1980s. The Alpha weighs in at 126 gr.The finish of the case leaves not a lot to be desired and the bezel clicks 120 times with pleasing accuracy, unidirectional. It´s not in the league of the Fortis Cosmonaut Diver i owned in the late 90s, but i have seen and felt considerably worse on other, more expensive watches. It is certainly good enough to exactly measure your parking time.I cannot comment on the movement as i have no tool for opening the case. Alpha seems to use different chinese (Seagull) movements, sometimes improving them over time without notice. They are held in place with an ugly plastic ring. The movement feels very “dry” when setting the hands and date. It remains to be seen how it runs in one or two years and how daily shocks will affect it. Also, you have to bear in mind that the watch is officially only waterproof to 30 meters. I have no doubts that it would take at least (!) twice of that, but you just cannot be sure. No O-rings are evident at the crown. Some silicone grease might help a bit. Let´s bear in mind that humidity has to work it´s way through those srew channels first…The lume of the Alpha is also not the best. The hour markers glow a good bit after dark, but the hands cannot be made out during night hours. Summing up, the Alpha “Sub” is certainly a good looking watch that is very true to the original and boasts an automatic movement. If that are your biggest concerns, you cannot go wrong with it.

The original Swiss Submariner is a design classic and there are many “diving timepieces” around that look a lot like it. If you buy an Alpha and expect the quality of a similar mechanical watch that costs two or four as much, you are out of luck. For what it is, the Alpha seems a good value to me.

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