A meca-quartz movement combines the accuracy of quartz with the crisp feel and performance of a mechanical chronograph, the best of both worlds. The proof is in Nivada Grenchen’s new hybrid Chronoking Aviator Sea Diver – of which only 100 will be produced – that uses quartz technology for the main time functions and a mechanical module for the stopwatch functions.
Land, sea, air – this watch feels at home everywhere
The very first Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, introduced in 1963, was the tool watch par excellence due to its readily readable dial with purpose-designed hands and integrated tachymeter scale, the additional hour hand for dual-time zone indication, the bi-directional rotating dive bezel and the precision chronometer. It naturally became the go-to timekeeper for divers, aviators, and yachties – the watch that could take anything you threw at it. More than an all-rounder, it truly was a master at all trades. Resolutely sporting, it also spelt elegance and total ease at the wrist on land, at sea and in the air. Soon after being launched, the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver established itself as emblematic of Nivada Grenchen’s engineering and styling genius, and eventually as a highly sought-after model among vintage chronograph enthusiasts.
In 2018, two Frenchmen, Guillaume Laidet and Rémi Chabrat, the former a watch enthusiast-entrepreneur and the latter the owner of the watch manufacturer Montrichard Group, realized a long-held ambition: to revive Nivada Grenchen, the iconic Swiss watch brand so sorely missed by so many watch lovers. The first item on their agenda was to reissue two of the brand’s flagship references: the Antarctic and the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. The latter would come in several iterations, including the Chronoking being launched today in a limited edition of 100 pieces with a meca-quartz movement and a price point under 500 euros.
Chronoking, now available with a meca-quartz movement
The meca-quartz movement is back! Following the success of the Datomaster meca-quartz in 2022, the baton is being passed on to the Chronoking, which distinguishes itself from the Chronomaster by its date window at the unusual 12 o’clock position and its two grey subdials in relief. As with all the watches Nivada Grenchen releases these days, the Chronoking is the re-edition of a legend. Here, Super-LumiNova® takes over from tritium for the dial markers, its trademark glow accentuated as the red central second of the chronometer module smoothly sweeps around the dial. The black aluminium bezel with its large distinctive numerals adds personality to functionality. The 38mm stainless steel case, naturally with a screw-in case back, combines go-ahead robustness with avant-garde elegance.
But there’s more… And what could that possibly be? “A battery-powered watch with a ‘mechanical’ feel!”, answers Guillaume Laidet, CEO of Nivada Grenchen. Indeed, inside the new Nivada Chronoking beats the VK64A movement by Seiko. Besides three years of power reserve, it offers the magnificent spectacle of a chronograph hand that glides and sweeps smoothly across the dial, with that mesmerizing quality of a mechanical watch. The principle of a meca-quartz movement – also called a hybrid movement – is to combine the precision of quartz with the beauty of traditional watchmaking by integrating a mechanical chronograph module. The quartz part assures flawless accuracy for time indications and the mechanical module allows for stopwatch functions with the crispness and performance of a mechanical chronograph.
Finesse with fine price point
“I wanted to give all Nivada Grenchen lovers the opportunity to acquire an affordable chronograph that doesn’t look like a hockey puck on their wrist. The battery replaces the barrel, and the quartz replaces the balance. Everything else is gearing. It shows in the thinness of the case, and in the fine price point. The meca-quartz movement was the ideal solution to get the thinnest chronograph possible at an extremely competitive price. More than that, the meca-quartz movement brings together two watchmaking schools, combining the precision of quartz with traditional mechanics, the poetry of cogs in a way. It’s not a watch with a battery, there’s a watchmaking intent and design behind it. And, yes, the fact that the movement is not entirely mechanical made it possible to achieve a truly affordable price,” explains Guillaume Laidet, proud to announce that the Chronoking will be available for €437.95 starting February 20th, 2023.
Guillaume has a point: a meca-quartz movement is still assembled by a watchmaker, and all services are made by a watchmaker too. If quartz drives the watch, it’s still cogs and wheels that drive the chronograph.
“Let’s also not forget that in 1969, when the Japanese invented the quartz movement, the first quartz watch cost as much as a small car. Any new technology is expensive. Way at the beginning, quartz watches were incredibly prohibitive”.
Chronoking Aviator Sea Diver Meca-Quartz Technical Specifications
Limited Edition: 100 pieces
- Seiko VK64 meca-quartz, assembled in Switzerland
- Functions: Hour, minute, second, date, chronograph, tachymeter
- Material: 316L stainless steel
- Finish: Polished and brushed
- Diameter: 38 mm
- Thickness: 2.95 mm
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire Glass with Anti-Reflective Coating
- Bezel: Bidirectionally rotating aluminum bezel
- Case back: Full, screw-in case back
- Water resistance: 10 ATM, about 100 meters / 300 ft
Retail price: 437,95 €
About Nivada Grenchen
Nivada Grenchen watches have been part of the Swiss watchmaking landscape since 1926, when Jacob Schneider founded the brand in Granges, Switzerland (Grenchen in Swiss German). In 1976, his son Max took over the company. In the United States, the Croton Company was the official distributor of all Nivada Grenchen watches, which explains why some timepieces bear the Croton signature. In 1930, Nivada Grenchen became one of the first watch brands to manufacture automatic watches.
The Chronomaster was one of Nivada Grenchen’s biggest successes until the late 1970s. The Swiss brand was known for the performance and reliability of its timekeepers, even under the most extreme conditions. 1963 saw the launch of the first Chronomaster, a dive chronograph rated to a depth of 200 meters (about 600 feet). In 2018, after years of dormancy and under the impetus of Guillaume Laidet, the brand made a spectacular comeback with two iconic models, the Antarctic and the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver.
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