I bought a Sugino Alpina for Arielle. To tell you the truth, I knew I would. I'd thought about getting a Velo Orange Grand Cru fluted double crankset. But, even though I like some "retro" stuff, I don't do "retro" for retro's sake. And that's what I feel the Grand Cru crankset is.
But most important, with the Sugino, I know what I'm getting. I've ridden several of their cranksets before, and they have always been good, functional items that were good values. And the Alpina is definitely one of the prettier cranksets I've seen.
Now, I have some Velo Orange accessories on my bikes. But I haven't used one of their major components yet. (They offer brakes, among other things.) If the crank were defective in some way, I'm sure they'd take it back.
The difference in price between them is not great and therefore would not have been a factor in my purchase. VO is selling the Alpina for $175 and their own crank for $190. When I admitted to myself that I was leaning toward the Alpina, I found it for $150 at Ben's Cycle and Fitness Center of Milwaukee. They sell on eBay as well as on their own website and in their store, and I've bought a few things--mainly track cogs and other track-related parts--from them previously.
On top of the good price, I got free shipping via UPS.
I think Arielle and I are going to be happy with the Alpina.