The Sixties and Seventies was a very fertile time for software watches basically, and for chronographs specifically. Again then, it appeared like everybody and their mom was producing their justifiable share of cool, funky, reasonably priced chronographs designed to do particular jobs: time motor races, time boat races, time SCUBA dives, observe second time zones, observe manufacturing numbers and way more. (Some people even used them to inform the time.)
One identify that classic watch aficionados are little doubt acquainted with is that of Nivada Grenchen. Based in Switzerland, the model’s early water resistant Antarctic was used in the course of the U.S. Navy’s Deep Freeze 1 mission to the South Pole between 1955 and 1956. In 1963, the model launched its Chronomaster watch, which mixed options for aviators, divers and skippers: A stainless-steel case water-proof to 200m housed a chronograph, a count-up dive bezel with a 12-hour scale, and a regatta timer.
In america, phonetic similarity between “Nivada” and “Movado” led to a scenario wherein the model was compelled to undertake a brand new distribution identify. Selecting “Croton,” its wares had been marked with this identify in America, although the watches themselves had been produced by Nivada Grenchen. Within the Nineteen Eighties, the model shuttered, dealt a demise blow by the onset of the Quartz Disaster and low-cost, battery-powered timekeeping.
In 2018, Nivada Grenchen rose from the proverbial ashes underneath the impetus of Frenchman Guillaume Laidet, who, following stints at a number of massive watch manufacturers, used Kickstarter to launch his personal marque, William L. 1985, elevating $200,000 in a number of weeks and subsequently promoting the corporate to the Korius Group. Since then, Nivada has reissued a number of of its traditional watches, the Chronomaster amongst them.
The model, which largely operates on an e-comm mannequin, has seen monumental progress since then — actually, it’s on observe to provide 6,000 watches by the top of 2023. Along with the small, largely family-owned retailers which carry the model’s wares in Europe and North America, and Asia, Nivada is now partnering with Analog:Shift — the classic and pre-owned division of Watches of Switzerland — to broaden its distribution within the U.S. market. In celebration of this new partnership, the 2 corporations are collectively launching a really particular model of the Chronomaster, restricted to 100 items, that’s certain to show heads.
The Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster ‘Massive Eye’ Yachting Restricted Version
As of late, the Chronomaster is produced in additional iterations than you possibly can presumably shake a stick at, together with manually wound, computerized, and Mecaquartz variations. Given the partnership with Analog:Shift, which makes a speciality of classic and pre-owned watches, it’s unsurprising that this new model is of the hand-wound, mechanical selection.
The very first thing you’ll discover about this chronograph is undoubtedly its measurement: at 38mm in stainless-steel, it completely mirrors the scale of classic fashions. On-wrist, it wears like a dream — particularly because it’s paired to a wildly comfy, stainless-steel “beads of rice” bracelet with a stamped, push-button clasp that includes a micro-adjust system. A number of brushed and polished surfaces give the case a classy structure, which extends from the sloping lugs to the bezel.
The bezel insert isn’t fashionable ceramic, however aluminum: executed in a gray shade, it takes on the facet of a pale black “ghosted” bezel that’s seen its justifiable share of tropical daylight. Bi-directional, it’s inscribed with each a count-up dive/timing scale, and a 12-hour scale for monitoring a secondary time zone. Twin-scale bezels comparable to these are pretty uncommon — which is shocking, given how helpful they’re.
Beneath a domed, sapphire crystal made to appear to be classic, acrylic fashions is a good-looking, satin silver dial. Extremely legible and accented with pops of shade, it’s instantly acquainted to Nivada Grenchen devotees, however concurrently new and distinct. Utilized indices are flanked by a 1/Fifth-seconds scale in black, inside which sit twin chronograph totalizers: At 3 o’clock is a “huge eye” 30-minute counter with the primary ten minutes demarcated in blue and yellow. This scale is made for skippers and sailors, permitting them to simply depend down the final ten minutes earlier than a regatta to appropriately line up their vessels with the beginning line. (You’ll additionally discover a small “45” beneath this totalizer, permitting you to trace a further quarter-hour, as long as you’re listening to how a lot time has really elapsed!)
At 9 o’clock is a operating seconds totalizer in black with silver printing, whereas a lumed baton handset with a vibrant orange “lollipop” seconds hand occupies center-stage. Whereas the highest of the watch is marked with “Nivada Grenchen,” the decrease half is signed with the “Analog:Shift” wordmark — a primary for the retailer and a nod to the idea of retailer-signed watches from the twentieth and twenty first centuries. In the meantime, on the case flank sits a signed crown and twin pump pushers, whereas the screw-down caseback is inscribed with the watch’s limited-edition quantity out of 100.
Classic-inspired with out being an outright homage, that is the kind of chronograph that’s certain to get collectors’ hearts racing, and for extra cause than one: What now we have right here is at the beginning a cushty, nicely sized, extremely legible and succesful software watch. Secondly, it celebrates a major partnership, is signed thusly proper on the dial, and is very restricted. Third, contemplating its specs — it’s powered, by the way in which, by a manually wound, Swiss-made Sellita SW510 BH B motion — it’s a severe worth at $1,995, and even ships in lovely, vintage-inspired packaging.
Thoughtfully designed, extraordinarily satisfying to put on, and exquisite, with simply the correct steadiness of shade and classic affect, the brand new Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster ‘Massive Eye’ Yachting Restricted Version is likely one of the greatest watch releases of the yr.
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