The history of Nivada Grenchen is packed with cool watches, as you’ll discover with a book that has just been released by the brand, written by Aashdin Billimoria and retracing the story of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic collection. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, there have been dozens of editions of the Antarctic, some of them already back to life such as the Spider of the Super-Antarctic. But today, it’s all about one of the collection’s earliest models, an early dive watch that stood out in its own way, but also the brand’s first diving watch that appeared at the end of the 1950s. We’ll be talking about the re-edition of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic-Diver.
After World War II, professional dive watches and later skin-diver watches (simpler models, with less hardcore specifications intended to answer the needs of recreational divers) gained enormous popularity as water sports and exploring undersea life became the new thrill. No self-respecting brand would be seen without a dive watch in its line-up. There was, of course, the Submariner, the Fifty Fathoms or the Seamaster. Nivada Grenchen also embarked on this journey and, by the late 1950s, released its first dive watch, the Antarctic-Diver – and subsequent models after that, such as the Depthmaster.
The recipe with this new watch is something that we’ve come to expect from the brand… Since its return, under the guidance of its CEO Guillaume Laidet, Nivada has been all about reviving past glories, starting with the most emblematic watch of the brand, the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic-Diver follows the same principle, meaning capturing the spirit of the past and mixing it with modern features. The best of both worlds, some would say.
The first thing you’ll notice with the Antarctic-Diver, besides the obvious resemblance with the past model and the overall retro feeling, is the old-school presence of the watch on the wrist. As said, it is a rather faithful evocation of the past, not a 1-to-1 recreation, and proportions have been updated to match the current trends. That being said, with its reasonable 38mm diameter, up 1.5mm compared to the original, it remains a watch that is compact enough to exude a vintage feel. The design is, as you’d expect, respecting the language of the vintage watch.
The rest of the watch, at least regarding the specifications and materials, has been modernized. With a thickness of 12.9mm, it remains very acceptable for a 200m diver with double-domed sapphire crystal. To ensure water-tightness, the crown and the caseback are screwed, the latter being a solid piece of steel with an embossed logo. The sapphire crystal features a cool (or not, depending on your tastes) magnifying glass and the bezel, which is unidirectional and engraved with a fully-graduated 60-minute scale, is made of black polished ceramic.
The vintage charm continues with the dial of this Antarctic-Diver. Black, with a grained texture, it has a rather unique presence and boldness. There’s quite a lot going on, but everything feels characterful and coherent. The hands, in particular, have a bold rectangular shape with facets and alternating brushed and polished surfaces. Long, thin and white markers indicate the minutes, together with larger luminous rectangles for the hours. The centre features a relatively discreet red crosshair and the name of the watch in the brand’s historic font. And it’s all quite lovely.
The Antarctic-Diver is powered by a reliable outsourced movement to maintain the price at a reasonable level, the Soprod P024. This alternative to the 2824 shares the same architecture and specifications. If the watch we had is presented on a fitting black tropic-like rubber strap, you’ll have the choice between several steel bracelets (Forstner Bonklip, Beads of Rice, Oyster or Forstner Rivet) as well as several leather straps.
Now available from the brand’s website, the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic-Diver is released at a competitive price of EUR 815 or USD 900… A fair price that brings a lot of watch in return. For more details, please visit nivadagrenchenofficial.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.