Nivada Grenchen Gives Us the Best of All Worlds with Chronoking Meca-Quartz

Nivada Grenchen’s Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver represents their interpretation of a multi-functional steel sports chronograph teeming with vintage attributes. The collection’s signature – a two subdial display, tachymeter scale integrated into the outer dial, and a rotating bezel that subtly incorporates a 12 hour display giving the already highly capable chronograph the ability to track another timezone. The vintage aesthetic doesn’t just harken back to the designs of your classic steel sport of watch of the 60’s and 70’s, it actually pulls from the very same design cues of the original Nivada Grenchen chronographs.

Nivada’s current Chronoking Manual in particular retains the collection’s design language, but doubles down on the age-old appearance with its chocolate-toned subdials and yellow markers. Topping it all off, the Chronoking encases a Sellita SW510 manual movement in a tidy 38mm case. These are all attractive features and the norm within the Chronoking, as well as the rest of the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver collection. The only caveat here is that their chronographs are positioned within a crowded price tier filled with brands offering something relatively similar in design and function. However recently, Nivada Grenchen released a very enticing iteration of their Chronoking in the Chronoking Meca-Quartz. Albeit sold out, the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking Meca-Quartz includes all the charming traits and functionality at an approachable $479.


Vintage Cues in Abundance

There’s no shortage of vintage cues here. The dial sports a trio of subdials, all of which get the creamy faux-patina treatment. As the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver collection is currently constructed, this marks one of the only few chronographs that uses a three subdial display – a 24-hour subdial at 3:00, running small seconds subdial at 6:00, and a chrono-minute counter subdial at 9:00.

The 38mm case sizing also fits the vintage blueprint here. By today’s standard, this might feel a little on the smaller side, but this was the norm in its heyday. The one significant difference here is the case thickness. Thanks to the thinner meca-quartz movement, the case also thins out by almost a 1mm and now stands 12.95mm above the wrist. Completing the aesthetic is a vintage cherry on top with the double domed sapphire crystal.


Instead of being displayed on the bezel like most traditional chronographs, the tachymeter scale gets relegated to the outer portion of the dial. The tachymeter scale blends right into the dial as it runs adjacent to the minute / seconds track. This frees up the bezel to add another functional feature in the dive bezel. As mentioned above, the Chronoking Meca-Quartz is equipped with a chronograph movement, as well as 24-hour subdial display to differentiate AM and PM.

The Chronoking Meca-Quartz does away with the date window at 12:00 which was present on the Chronoking Manual dial. What does transfer over is the stick handset which lends itself to giving the subdials more visibility as opposed to a broad arrow handset occasionally used within the collection. There’s no dial space wasted here, and everything in regards to dial furniture and signage is exactly where it should be.

Best of Both Worlds

The Chronoking Meca-Quartz houses the Seiko VK-64 meca-quartz movement. As the name implies, the main time is powered by the quartz component, while the chronograph function is managed by the mechanical. Expect an accuracy rating of +/- 20 seconds per month and a battery life up to 3 years. Although Chronoking has the appearance of a watch that has no business being near the water, the 100 meter water resistance, and obviously the dive bezel, proves otherwise.

As mentioned above, the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking Meca-Quartz retailed for $479 and was only limited to just 100 pieces. A lot of value there considering the meca-quartz version is a fraction of the cost compared to  the average price of their manual mechanical movement counterparts. Although the watch has already sold out, it still is an intriguing release that could open the door for more tastefully designed chronographs at a sub-$500 price point. Nivada Grenchen

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.