Nivada Grenchen is one of our favorite recently resuscitated heritage brands for a few reasons. The first, of course, is the watches themselves. Nivada Grenchen’s sports watches produced in the 60s and 70s feature some of the most enduring designs of the era, so simply reproducing the aesthetic of those pieces with modern movements and manufacturing is a winning game plan. But Nivada has taken things a step further since the brand was relaunched, and leaned heavily into the enthusiast watch community for support. One gets the impression that the people behind the brand are genuinely interested in making watches for connoisseurs and people who are deep into this hobby already, and to that end they’ve offered their new watches with a range of customization options, from dial colors to the movements that are used. This is the kind of thing that hobbyists love. For Nivada’s latest watch, a new version of the Antarctic (which we first discussed here) the brand was inspired by a photo of a vintage watch shared by a fan on social media. Taking cues directly from your customer base can be a slippery slope, but it’s certainly a proven method of tying your brand directly to the people who support it. Let’s take a look at the new Antarctic Spider.
The Antarctic is an unfussy, traditional sports watch that has clear parallels to early examples of the Rolex Explorer and similar no nonsense tool watches that were meant to simply be worn for any conceivable occasion, whether that means a hike, mowing the lawn, or a more formal occasion. While the first expression of the Antarctic released during this iteration of the Nivada brand was unrelentingly simple, this edition has a lot more style with the “spider” design on the dial. This is essentially a slightly avant-garde take on the sector dial, with straight black lines pointing from the dial’s center to each hour marker. A cross-hair runs through the center of the dial to divide it into quadrants and point to the cardinal hour positions, and it also reinforces the symmetry that’s inherent in the design. The dial is silver in color and has a brushed, sunray finish, which feels true to the era this watch was born in. Somewhat disappointingly, all the lume (on the hands and hour markers) is in a deep tan to evoke aged lume, but Nivada has at least used it sparingly, with simple dots at the hours, which again is in the style of vintage watches of the era.
The Antarctic’s case appears sized to take on a wide variety of wrists, coming in at 38mm in diameter, 11mm tall, and 45mm from lug to lug. The case has twisted lugs and a combination of brushed and polished finishing, and in the Nivada supplied photographs seems to be pulling its weight as being a complement to the dial, which is clearly the star of the show here.
While Nivada isn’t giving customers the option to customize the dial or movement used in the Antarctic Spider (it’s an automatic Soprod P024), they are providing an impressive array of choices when it comes to straps and bracelets. This in itself is a throwback, and the Antarctic Spider takes on a different character depending on how it’s worn. In addition to Nivada’s own seven link and Oyster style bracelets, they will also sell the Antarctic on three different Forstner bracelets: the Klip, Beads of Rice, and Rivet. These bracelets have an old-fashioned, lightweight charm to them that should pair well with the Antarctic’s overall look and feel, and it’s commendable that Nivada is offering five bracelet options (plus three straps) when so many brands offer a simple binary choice between steel and leather.
The starting price for the Antarctic Spider is $724 on a leather strap, and it tops out at $924 on any one of the five (five!) bracelet options. It’s available for pre-order now, with delivery slated for January 2022. Nivada Grenchen