Alpha is a Chinese watch company that has been in business over 26 years and specializes in remarkable high value, high quality watches.  For this review I have their homage to the legendary Omega Moonwatch.  The first watch worn on the lunar surface by Buzz Aldrin in 1969, the Omega Moonwatch is generally considered the most significant and famous chronograph currently available and of all time.  It has been in production in one form or another since 1957.  The Rolex Daytona is probably the other chronograph that has become mythical over the years and both are frequently copied by many watch companies.

The Alpha M1957-Black is an affordable alternative to the Moonwatch, and, from what I can tell, performs very similarly.  I don’t have an example of the Omega to compare it to, but from the photos I can find, Alpha has carefully duplicated the watch with extreme attention to detail.  The Omega’s dimensions are very similar; 49 mm lug to lug, 14 mm thick, 20 mm lug width with a 42 mm case diameter.  The Alpha watch that I have measures 48 mm lug to lug, 15.5 mm thick, 20 mm lug width with a 42 mm case diameter when measured from across the case between one of the pushers and the crown.   When measured across the Tachymetre bezel, the Alpha watch is 40 mm in diameter.

The case and bracelet designs of the two watches appear to be very similar, from what I can tell.  The Alpha’s center link of the end links at the case may protrude further out which might give the Alpha watch less of a contour on the wrist.  The shapes and finishes of the case appear to be very similar; brushed sides of the case, polished tops of the case from lug to lug, beveled polished beveled bezel base with polished recessed pushers and crown.  The crown on the Alpha measures 6.5 mm in diameter with a gear edge and a polished and etched logo face.  The 316L stainless case and bracelet of the Alpha is very carefully machined and finished.  The brushed and polished solid bracelet links and milled portion of the clasp are very nicely done.  The subtly signed clasp is similar in design to the Omega but the Alpha but does not have any micro adjustments, though it fits my 7 inch wrist perfectly. There is a solid piece of clasp link with a keyhole like slot tucked into the back of the clasp.  It allows the clasp to be extended, but for what purpose I am not sure, since this is not a dive watch.

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The case and bracelet designs of the two watches appear to be very similar, from what I can tell.  The Alpha’s center link of the end links at the case may protrude further out which might give the Alpha watch less of a contour on the wrist.  The shapes and finishes of the case appear to be very similar; brushed sides of the case, polished tops of the case from lug to lug, beveled polished beveled bezel base with polished recessed pushers and crown.  The crown on the Alpha measures 6.5 mm in diameter with a gear edge and a polished and etched logo face.  The 316L stainless case and bracelet of the Alpha is very carefully machined and finished.  The brushed and polished solid bracelet links and milled portion of the clasp are very nicely done.  The subtly signed clasp is similar in design to the Omega but the Alpha but does not have any micro adjustments, though it fits my 7 inch wrist perfectly. There is a solid piece of clasp link with a keyhole like slot tucked into the back of the clasp.  It allows the clasp to be extended, but for what purpose I am not sure, since this is not a dive watch.

The face and bezel of the Alpha duplicate the Omega very well, with only very minor differences.  All the hands on the face of the Alpha match the Omega except for the stopwatch second hand.  The Omega uses a polished arrow with a needle like tip while the Alpha uses a bright red thin tapered sword.  I prefer the Alpha second hand because it works so well with the black face and white markings.  All face printing is white on this black dial, as are the subdial hands. The twelve hour markers are lumed as are the inserts of the polished hour and minute hands.  There are three differences on the faces of the Alpha vs the Omega.  First, the Alpha has its own brand ID on the upper portion of the face.  Second, the 6 o’clock subdial of the Alpha is a 24 hour dial while on the Omega it is a 12 hour timing recorder dial.  And third, the Alpha very nicely prints the word “Chronograph” discretely above this dial, while the Omega does not.

Powering the Alpha is a manual wind, 20 jewel, Seagull ST1903 movement with a 42 hour power reserve.  It winds easily and smoothly through the crown and it is the first manual wind watch I have seen in quite some time.  Surprisingly, this movement is a column wheel design which is generally reserved for more expensive watches.  It requires greater precision to manufacturer and is less common than the more typical coulisse chronograph movements.  The movement used in the Omega is their 18 jewel 1861, which has a 48 hour power reserve, though in some versions of Omega they use their 3301 movement which has a 52 hour power reserve.  Regardless, I am totally amazed at the performance and finish of the movement on the Alpha, as seen through its screw down, etched, brushed stainless steel, exhibition case back. The movement has blued screws, visible jewels, Geneva stripes, polishing and more.  Accuracy on my example is close to perfect, as long as the watch is wound and worn regularly.

The Omega moonwatch lists for $5,350, but can be found online for under $4,000, though I am not sure if through authorized dealers at this price.  The Alpha M1957-Black is currently on the Alpha Europe website for 152 Euro, which converts to less than $173 US.  It is a remarkable watch and is the perfect watch to wear to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.  It is a gorgeous and classic chronograph design of remarkable quality and value.  alpha-1993.com

Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.