Nivada Grenchen is easily one of the more successful heritage brands to resurface in the last few years. We’ve covered their Depthmaster and the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, and have been impressed with their fidelity to the original styling of the brand, as well as a willingness to provide customers with tons of choices through an ability to customize many small details to spec. Nivada Grenchen’s latest project is interesting as it isn’t merely a reworking of a classic reference, but has something a little extra underneath the caseback in the form of a vintage movement.
For the Valjoux 23 VZ Limited Edition Nivada Grenchen has taken their popular Chronomaster format and replaced the modern Sellita SW510 that powered their previous chronos with a vintage (and fully restored) Valjoux 23 VZ. The Valjoux 23 is a classic hand wound chronograph movement produced from 1916 through 1974, the prime years for the original incarnation of the Nivada brand.
Because of the nature of these vintage movements, this is a small project, and is aimed squarely at Nivada Grenchen collectors and folks who have already purchased a Nivada Grenchen watch since the relaunch of the brand last year. Nivada purchased a total of 55 movements, and plan to use 5 for prototyping purposes, leaving a highly limited edition of 50 available for sale. You can register your interest right here.
In addition to using a genuine vintage movement, Nivada Grenchen is making this release special by changing up the dial options a bit. Two variants are being made, the “Paul Newman Panda” and the “Paul Newman Reverse Panda.” These are exactly what you’d expect, with either white on black or black on white dial and subdial arrangements, with the running seconds register at 9:00 in the familiar “exotic dial” layout common to the prized Daytonas that regularly fetch well into six figures at auction. It’s a thoughtful homage, and an undeniably handsome dial in either color, with accents in red on both versions that remain completely true to Nivada’s style forward 60s and 70s aesthetic. The case remains 38mm in diameter, and with the vintage hand wound movement inside they’ve worked the case height down to 12.65mm (the automatic version last year in the linked article above measured nearly 15mm thick).
The Panda/Reverse Panda split will be even, with 25 watches being made in each dial variant. The retail price is $5,350. More information here.