Nivada Grenchen is one of those hidden gems of the vintage watch scene, a brand with great history and fascinating models, such as the famous Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver or the Depthmaster. Dormant for several decades, the brand has recently been revived by French entrepreneur Guillaume Laidet, who in 2019 obtained the license to use the Nivada Grenchen copyright. Following this, Laidet started to reissue some of the brand’s most glorious past models, which also included the brand’s first waterproof automatic watch, the Antarctic. Having a thing for original, daring designs, he wasn’t shy about reproducing the ultra-cool “Pacman” dials and today it’s yet another bold and unique look that is back on stage, with the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider Re-Edition.
Nivada was founded in Grenchen (Granges), Switzerland in 1926 by Otto Wüllimann, Hermann Schindler and Jack Schneider. The company remained under the control of the Schneider family until its 50th anniversary in 1976. From the earliest days, the company focused on instrument watches that went beyond the simple indication of the time – among the first to offer water-resistance, automatic movements, or to feature a chronograph with additional functions. However, the watchmaking industry had to face the quartz crisis in the 1970s, and Nivada failed to adapt to the demand for electronic and battery-powered watches. However, two watch entrepreneurs decided to bring the name back. The story started in Paris in 2018 during a discussion between Guillaume Laidet, a French entrepreneur in the watch industry, and Remi Chabrat, owner of the Montrichard Group (a private label watchmaker). The latter was in business with the Mexican group (Grupo Industrial Omega SA de CV) owner of the name Nivada, and in 2019 they obtained the license to use the Nivada Grenchen copyright. Since then, the brand has been focusing on re-editing glorious past designs with modern construction, such as the Chronomaster (the most famous model of Nivada), the Depthmaster and the Antarctic.
The latter is one of the brand’s most classic models. In 1930, Nivada Grenchen was one of the first companies to manufacture automatic watches. This led to the creation of Nivada Grenchen’s first waterproof automatic watch called the Antarctic in 1950. The watch was worn by the members of the American Navy’s Deep Freeze 1 during their expedition to the South Pole from 1955 to 1956. This watch has since been re-edited by the brand with faithful designs, yet for the moment, only focusing on the most classic dials. But now, one of Nivada Grenchen’s most quirky, original, daring dials is back.
While the base for this Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider is an old watch, the story about its re-edition is anything but vintage. A typical “connected” background… Indeed, it all started on Instagram when one of the brand’s fans shared his vintage timepiece with the brand, a watch that featured a rather (to say the least) special dial. As soon as the brand re-posted it, loads of messages arrived asking Nivada to recreate this watch… And here it is, the new Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider, a visually faithful model that has been adapted to modern standards and construction.
The Antarctic Spider isn’t just a new dial. In fact, compared to other Antarctic watches, it is new on almost all levels, starting by its case, almost as original as the dial. Measuring a restrained 38mm diameter, the case feels classic at first, with its polished and smooth bezel and overall low-key appearance. What changes, however, are the lugs. Replacing the traditional straight design of other Antarctic, the “Spider” model features twisted lugs combining brushed external surfaces with an internal, curved, polished facet.
While a vintage watch inspires the design, the specifications of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider Re-Edition are entirely modern; the watch is equipped with a double-domed sapphire crystal (which creates nice distortions), equipped like the original watch with a date magnifier, a screw-down crown and a solid steel screwed caseback, resulting in a comfortable 200m water-resistance. The case is compact, with an 11.1mm thickness and 45mm from a lug to another. The overall construction is clean and neat, resulting in a pleasant quality feel.
Of course, the main attraction of this Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider is its dial… And what a special design it is. Typically, it will be a disruptive watch that some won’t like. The dial is graphic, polarizing, eye-catching and doesn’t look like anything else on the market now. But this is also what gives such charm to this re-edition. Forget about the radially positioned applied markers you find on most timepieces. This dial is slightly crazy… And very attractive.
The base is a nicely executed sunray-brushed silver dial. The “Spider” nickname doesn’t really need to be explained, as the resemblance with the arachnids is obvious, with these eight vertically applied hour markers and their eight “legs” radiating from the centre of the dial. The rest of the dial is obviously faithful to the original model, down to the vintage logos, the small luminous dots and the polished dauphine hands. People with arachnophobia, you’d better stay away.
Inside the case is a classic Swiss automatic movement supplied by Soprod. The calibre P024 is an alternative to the ETA 2824, sharing the same dimensions and specifications – 25 jewels, 4Hz frequency, approx. 40h power reserve. A solid movement that helps to keep the price reasonable.
The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider is available on several straps and bracelets (20mm lug width). It includes the present retro-styled brown leather strap as well as a black tropic-style rubber strap. Also available are stainless steel beads-of-rice or extensible Oyster bracelets, closed by folding clasps.
Availability & Price
The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider can now be pre-ordered from the brand’s website. Deliveries will begin in January 2022. The watch will be priced at EUR 650 or CHF 700 with a leather or a tropic strap, and EUR 850 or CHF 900 with a steel beads-of-rice or extensible Oyster bracelet.
For more details or to place an order, please visit nivadagrenchenofficial.com.