Joseph Alstater (b. 1910) emigrated with his wife from Belgium to the United States in 1940. Alstater moved to New Jersey in 1942, bought a chicken farm and worked to support the US war effort. In 1946 the Alstaters sold the farm, moved to New York City and established the Alstater Watch Corporation.

Like other American watch firms after WWII (Bulova, Hamilton, for example), Alsta turned to Switzerland for production. Mr. Alstater traveled there regularly to conduct business.

By 1961 Alstater ran Alsta Watches part-time, and yet Alsta produced some of its best-known watches during the 1960s. Along with Breitling, Omega, and Heuer, Alsta became a leader in sport watches sold in America. In 1971 Mr. Alstater retired and Star Watch Company of Los Angeles continued releasing watches under the Alsta name until 1978.

Alsta quickly became one of the most prolific and interesting watch brands operating in America after World War II. Alsta's designs generally follow the changing tastes from the more traditional 1940s and 50s into the sporty styles of the 1960s and 70s.

THE 1940s & 1950s

The 1940s & 1950s were dominated by traditional smaller dress watches, with chronographs and triple-calendars with pointer-dates being popular complications. This was an era when Art Deco designs were slowly giving way to more casual and sporty approaches.

THE 1960s & 1970s

By the 1960s, Alsta was one of the most prolific producers of recreational dive watches and skin divers.

Skin divers are worn against the skin, rather than against a wetsuit, and are built for shallower dives than SCUBA watches. Skin divers are usually slimmer than SCUBA watches, typically waterproof to 100m, and skin divers almost always sport right angles between the lugs.

During the 1960s and 70s, Alsta also issued many fascinating dress watches, often including day-date and alarm complications.


Alsta continues to draw on its history and heritage while issuing new watches in the 21st century. Alsta's rich back catalog is a contant source of inspiration for our designers, as well as a rewarding niche for collectors to explore.

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