The History of Alsta

The History
of Alsta

Some brands are adept at creating items that are more than the sum of their components. Instead, their products tell a story. This is certainly true of Alsta watches. The company designs and crafts its timepieces with a distinct target audience in mind. Alsta refers to its contemporary customer as a wearer who ‘cares, dreams, romanticises, aspires and inspires’.

Tracing the history of the company – including its birth, 40-year demise and rebirth – shows how Alsta has achieved this vision. It’s a story that even takes in a famous Stephen Spielberg film – Jaws!

Early Days Of Alsta

The company first created luxury timepieces in the 1960s and 70s. It was particularly favoured by anyone seeking an attractive, superbly engineered watch that was also waterproof.

The company geared its design and marketing around matching the preferences and expectations of men and women who had “intellectual and creative substance”. They were about style, but also the great thinkers and technicians of their age.

The original company's most iconic timepiece was the Alsta Nautoscaph.

Despite the fact Alsta was held in high regard in the watch industry, its days were numbered. Like many leading mechanical watch brands of that era, the arrival of quartz alternatives was a death blow. In the late 1970s, the brand disappeared.

The Return From The Deep

The Alsta brand resurfaced to enjoy new popularity and respect thanks to Glaswegian entrepreneur Angus MacFadyen. The keen watch enthusiast registered the brand name in 2014.

This was the beginning of three years of development work to bring Alsta watches back into production at a sufficiently high level of workmanship. The company has since launched a series of innovative pieces that have built on its past glories. In fact, the very first watch produced by the new incarnation of Alsta was the re-imagined Alsta Nautoscaph II dive watch. This was made available in limited numbers and sold by carefully selected retail partners.

The Nautiscaph II took the best of previous variations of this watch and encapsulated them in a 40mm stainless steel case and bezel and fresh overall design. The new Alsta watch was crafted from Swiss and German components – as a way of preserving the quality standards and design excellence of the brand – and encompassed a Japanese-made Seiko automatic movement.

New Products From Alsta

Since then, the company has created and sold a Nautoscaph III with a black PVD coated stainless steel case.

The company continued the theme of creating robust watches with a vintage vibe and superb technical features with the Alsta Surf n Ski watch. This sporty product features a 40mm 316L grade black PVD coated stainless steel case, with a black and gold-detailed dial protected by hardened mineral glass.

Alsta also launched the Nautoscaph Superautomatic in 2019. This is an authentic re issue of the vintage Nautoscaph from the 1970’s. Crafted in corrosion-resistant 316L grade stainless steel and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. Limited to just 1975 pieces.

Why was this particular piece the focus of the new incarnation of Alsta?

This diver’s watch featured in the classic 1975 blockbuster film ‘Jaws’ on the wrist of actor Richard Dreyfus (playing hero Matt Hooper). This gave the piece an iconic status to add to its stunning aesthetics. It seems fitting that a timepiece that can survive a shark attack should be the inspiration for a faithful re issue watch from a company that is breathing new life!

The ethos of the company – past and present – is clear to see: watches that stand up to considerable use, on land and in water. Practical and technically brilliant, they are also designed to be distinctive, and luxurious.

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