One of our goals here at Worn&Wound is to give attention to some of the smaller, less-talked-about brands of the watch world–companies that put out fine wares, but lack the level of prestige attained by some of the bigger players with greater marketing clout. Nivrel is one such brand, and we’ve sung their praises in the past. Having missed them at last year’s Baselworld, we were careful not to make the same mistake twice. After spending some time with Nivrel at Baselword 2014, we left the experience completely impressed with both the brand and the team behind it.
Though born in Switzerland, Nivrel is currently headquartered in Saarbrücken Germany and is owned and operated by the Hofer family (who revived the brand in 1993). They describe their company as being dedicated to “small scale production with attention to the highest quality and individual design.” Nivrel also proudly sources most of its components from German manufacturers (movements excluded) and is honest about its use of Swiss ebauches (which are then decorated, modified, and fine-tuned in-house).
After an impressive showing at this year’s Baselworld, Nivrel has placed itself in a position to rise out of obscurity. In step with what seems to be the recurring theme of Basel 2014, Nivrel turned to its archives for its current lineup by reimagining some of their classic designs and updating them for the 21st century. The result is a finely curated collection of vintage-inspired watches that should appeal to any collector with a taste for classic timepieces.
The standout watch of the Nivrel’s current collection is the Héritage Chronographe Minutes, a classically styled chronograph with a centralized minute counter. Coming in at only 38mm, it offers a great alternative to the larger watches put out by most companies today. The case design is also quite interesting with its long straight lugs and shrouded crown, and while the aesthetics may be an acquired taste, it’s hard to deny the unique nature of the design.
The showstopper, however, has to be the dial. Made of German silver, it features Clous de Paris guilloche, rhodinated index appliques, and rhodinated and guilloched chronograph counters. The heat-tempered blue hands further accentuate the interplay of textures and colors on the dial, and give the piece a tangible quality. The dial layout is made possible by the heart of the piece–a highly decorated ETA 2892-A2 with an added chronograph module–which ensures a legible appearance and highly touted centralized minute hand.
A watch like this isn’t expected to be cheap, and yet Nivrel somehow manages to offer the piece at an unbelievable 998 Euros (including 19% VAT). But that’s not the only affordable piece in Nivrel’s collection. The Coeur de la Sarre is a gorgeous three-hander that borrows heavily from vintage Nivrel watches and is limited to 200 pieces per dial execution (there are four dial colors). Coming in at 630,00 Euros (including 19% VAT), the Coeur de la Sarre offers an incredible value on a beautiful piece.
There are some other gems in the Nivrel line. The Chronographe Replique III (just under 2000,00 Euros) is a beautiful redesign of an older Nevril chronograph. My favorites, however, have to be the two variants of the Chronographe Replique II, a nod to two separate Nivrel chronographs from the 1950s. The watches are simply stunning, and they fully embracing Nivrel’s history and feature a beautifully decorated hand-wound Landeron 248 calibre. Though significantly more expensive, the watches are also unique and stand apart from many other chronographs available on the market.
For me information, visit the Nivrel website.
by Ilya Ryvin
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