What is it that we hold in our hands? In one, the faithful successor to an Original, the Antarctic-Diver; in the other, a wonderful book to tell the story behind and around this iconic watch. The one you see here is none other than the first diving watch that appeared at the end of the 1950s at Nivada Grenchen, reborn. A watch that emerged and stood out in its own way as the wave of dive watches crested with the likes of the Rolex Submariner or the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms, to name but two. After World War II, skindiver watches gained enormous popularity as water sports and exploring undersea life became the new thrill. No self-respecting brand would be seen without a dive watch in its line-up. Nivada Grenchen didn’t just follow the trend, releasing several models, starting with the Antarctic-Diver. Let’s zoom in on the flagship model of one of the famed watch manufacturer’s emblematic collections.
The first thing you notice when you put the new Antarctic Diver on your wrist is its presence. The impression of quality is enhanced by the solid heft of its universally sized 38mm-diameter (up from 36.5mm), 12.9mm-thick case. Let’s just say you can confidently take it on any (underwater) excursion, with plenty of margin.
Slim, comfortable, built for any task, whether it’s navigating a reef or a cocktail party, it exudes casual chic with that conversation-starting vintage vibe.
As far as the overall design of the watch is concerned, it looks exactly like the original, complete with patinaed «cream latte» hands and indexes. To continue the ‘blast from the past’ look, the Antarctic Diver comes with a generous, easy to read black dial providing a crisp backdrop for the markings, all in the same shape and position and as on the original, including the unmistakable script. The unidirectional rotating bezel now a black ceramic insert, giving it a deeper, richer contrast, along with greater durability. The date window is located at 3 o’clock.
True to the original, the dial comes with the discreet ‘red cross hairs’. Back in the day, the buyer could choose between several versions (red or white ‘cross hairs’; the numbers 1-12 on the bezel). The reissue honors the iconic version with red cross hairs and the minimalist, non-numbered bezel.
The tribute would not be complete without the legendary Nivada Automatic logo at 12 o’clock and Antarctic-Diver in the unmistakable vintage script at six o’clock faithfully echoing the aesthetics of the original. The caseback is engraved with the signature emblem of the Antarctic collection: the profile of a penguin, an allegory of the great cold and a nod to the name of the collection.
Model: Antarctic Diver
Indexes: Patinaed, “cream latte”
Lug-to-lug height: 45mm
Case material: 316 L stainless steel
Case finish: Satin-brushed
Lug width: 20mm
Wristband size: 20x16mm
Movement: SOPROD P024, three-hand,
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power reserve: 38 hours
Crystal: Double-domed sapphire
Caseback: “Penguin” engraving
Water resistance: 20 ATM
(200 meters, 660 feet)
Retail price: 900 USD / 800 CHF / 815 EUR