December 19, 2023
Introducing the Nivada Grenchen x Worn & Wound Chronomaster Valjoux 72 and Datomaster VK63 V2: The Legend Returns, Again
in partnership with

Last year, we teamed up with Nivada Grenchen for an extraordinary project. Together, we designed and produced a series of chronographs utilizing two distinct yet important movements. One was a mechanical legend that powered some of history’s most famed chronographs, the Valjoux 72. Out of production for 50 years, it’s revered for having been at the heart of such mid-20th century icons as the Heuer Carrera and Rolex Daytona. A movement with a cult following that makes any watch that features it a collectible, just the mention of the Valjoux 72 can get a watch enthusiast excited.

The other was very modern and praised for its feel and accessibility, the Seiko Meca-Quartz VK64. A quartz movement with a mechanical chronograph gear train, it has become a staple for independent watch brands thanks to its firm pushers, sweeping chrono seconds hand, instant reset, and affordable pricing. Though wildly different from each other, these movements represent two eras of watchmaking. The old guard and the new kid.

It was a special project we thought we’d never have the chance to repeat. Valjoux 72s are scarce to find unused, given their age. Well, as luck would have it, the team at Nivada Grenchen was able to secure and revitalize another small batch. It’s with great excitement today that we share with you the Nivada Grenchen x Worn & Wound Chronomaster Valjoux 72 V2 and Datomaster VK63 V2.

Making a sequel is an exciting business but faces the challenge of living up to the previous release. You can’t just rinse and repeat. No, you need to find a new angle, while maintaining the integrity of the characters and themes. Last year’s launch was a dark and moody affair. The colors were inspired by saturated tones seen in shadows and overcast days. It all had an air of mystery. So, for this year, we left the dark behind and sought adventure outside.

The Chronomaster retains the same case dimensions from the previous model, coming in at 38mm x 46.5mm x 14mm thick with a 20mm lug width. Based on a popular watch from Nivada Grenchen’s archives, the design features a unique lug shape that flattens to a rectangular form on top, which is brushed to contrast a wide polished bevel. The double index bezel, however, has the most visual impact.

Featuring a wide-toothed grip, the bi-directional friction bezel has a large anodized aluminum insert with both minute and hour scales for increased functionality. For this year’s version, the bezel is a striking teal with deep tonality. A color that will remind you of open waters on a sunny day, it immediately sets an energetic stage for the dial.

We retained the outline of Nivada Grenchen’s racing dial design from last year’s model but reinterpreted how color could be applied. The base is a pale sand color that beautifully complements the teal of the bezel and gives the dial a more open feeling. The “racing” seconds/minutes index is printed on a ring of teal that doesn’t quite reach the outer edge of the dial. Pale blue applied markers add contrast for the hours, as well as feature lume plots.

The active seconds and 30-minute counter sub-dials received a ring treatment as well. Rather than solid sub-dials, their indexes are printed on teal rings, with sand centers. This lightens them visually while maintaining contrast. The twelve-hour counter at the six position has no ring, matching the dial surface, further opening up the dial, and allowing the bright sand surface to shine. At a glance, the dial appears as a dual-register design.

Blues, yellows, and dark reds add contrast where needed for legibility. While the dial takes center stage while the watch is on, off the wrist, you’re likely to keep the Valjoux 72 movement in view. Visible through the display case back (a complementary solid back is included as well for purists), the manually wound, column-wheel chronograph caliber is a symphony of gears, screws, bridges, jewels, and levers. As it has no rotor, there is never anything obstructing the view of this iconic masterpiece of metal.

The Nivada Grenchen x Worn & Wound Chronomaster Valjoux 72 V2 comes mounted to a steel beads-of-rice bracelet, for a luxurious, sporty style. Additionally, a burgundy suede rally strap is included for a more casual look, and each watch is accompanied by an 8” x 8” letterpress print of the Valjoux 72 movement by Springs + Gears in coordinated colors.

The Nivada Grenchen x Worn & Wound Chronomaster Valjoux 72 V2s are limited to 15 pieces at $6,900 each – one per customer. They will be available to purchase on December 19th, 2023 at 1PM Eastern, and will begin delivering in May of 2024.

As the flipside to the chronograph coin, the companion piece to the Chronomaster Valjoux 72 is a Meca-Quartz powered Datomaster. While only a handful of years old, the Seiko VK Meca-Quartz movements have achieved a lot, reaching tens of thousands of wrists globally. Made by the brand that created the first quartz watches, one of the first three automatic chronographs, as well as the first analog quartz chronograph, the Astron, 6138, and 7A28, respectively, the VKs bring together decades of expertise. They are a welcome torch bearer for chronographs into the future.

For a fun contrast to the Chronomaster, we chose the bezel-less, 36mm Datomaster for the Meca-Quartz movement. A wonderfully sized watch, its compact case is belied by its wide dial opening, which is larger than that of the Chronomaster. As such, it wears very well, having the footprint of a small watch, but the presence of one much larger.

This year, we utilized the three-register VK63 for the Datomaster, which adds an active seconds hand at six, making it the only modern Datomaster with a three-register layout. In doing this, we were able to directly translate the design of the Chronomaster into the smaller format.

You’ll find the dial is the same sandy color featuring a series of teal rings to highlight indexes, though their functions are different. At three is a 24-hour dial, synced to the local time, at nine is a 60-minute counter, and at six is the active seconds. There is also a color-matched date wheel visible at the bottom of the dial with teal numerals on a sand surface. More blues, yellows, and reds provide contrast and texture throughout the dial. The Datomaster VK63 comes mounted to a medium brown rally strap.

Limited to 150 pieces, the Nivada Grenchen x Worn & Wound Datomaster VK63 V2 is priced at $499 and is available to purchase now. Watches will begin shipping in May of 2024.

A sub-variant of watch collecting is movement collecting. Sure, it’s fun to buy watches for their dials, cases, brands, and such (downplaying of course), but it’s what’s within that does all the work. Where the magic really happens. Though the result might be the same, many different movements have been used in the history of the wristwatch, some of which have cult status for being rare, designed by someone famous (in watch industry terms) while others are simply famed for their reliability and ease of use.

The Valjoux 72 and Seiko VK63 are wildly different movements from different eras that are both trying to do the same thing. One is fully mechanical, the other a hybrid. As a collector, experiencing both is part of the journey.

See you in 2024

Product Design
Zach Weiss

Production and Photography
Kat Shoulders

in partnership with
December 19, 2023