In the world of complicated watchmaking, the chronograph reigns supreme. Its usefulness for timing events is unparalleled; it can be dressed up or down; and its ubiquity and ease of use mean that anyone can utilize one.
During the 20th century, a new class of chronograph arose to cater to a highly specific use — namely, that of regatta timing. As boating became a popular pastime in midcentury America and elsewhere, chronographs designed for skippers cropped up from a variety of brands. Using a specially designed subdial, boat captains could precisely count down the time until a race began, thus lining up their craft for a perfect start.
In the spirit of these vintage regatta timers, Analog:Shift is proud to present the Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” LE. An edition of just 100 pieces, it's the result of a partnership with renowned independent brand Nivada Grenchen, a watchmaker with a reputation for creating some of the most capable tool watches on the market.
Nivada Grenchen x Analog:Shift Chronomaster 'Big Eye' Yachting Limited Edition - IN THE SHOP
Nivada Grenchen's bona fides are legion: In the 1950s, they outfitted the U.S Navy with water-resistant automatic watches for its exploration of the South Pole. In 1963, the brand released perhaps their most successful watch, the Chronomaster, which boasted an impressive 200m of water resistance and contained features for divers, drivers, and aviators.
After several years of dormancy, Nivada Grenchen was relaunched under the leadership of Guillaume Laidet, who marked this rebirth with the recreation of the Chronomaster. In the years following the 2018 reincorporation, Nivada has been on a steep upward trajectory in popularity as more and more enthusiasts discover their story and heritage.
Our Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting Limited Edition of 100 pieces captures all that we love about Nivada Grenchen in a single piece. Built upon the platform of the brand’s most iconic model, the “Big Eye” Yachting gives off both a sporty and casual chic vibe, taking us back to the 1960s when the tool watch became an elegant addition to every wrist.
Inside its 38mm case with polished and satin-brushed finishes beats a manually-wound Sellita SW510 BH B movement with a 63-hour power reserve. Vintage watch enthusiasts will surely appreciate this subtle detail, as it's notoriously difficult to find a vintage homage piece of this variety paired with a manually-wound movement. Lucky for us, Nivada Grenchen is prepared to go the horological distance to connect their contemporary watches with tool watch past.
The watch's satin silver dial is set under a domed sapphire crystal, a piece of modern technology that echoes the aesthetic of acrylic used on the original Chronomaster while offering much improved scratch resistance. The dial itself is clean and uncluttered, making it both a focal point of the watch, and highly legible. With applied indices, a lumed 'baton' handset, and a printed black 1/5th-seconds scale, it immediately recalls classic, 20th-century chronographs. The bi-directional rotating bezel, meanwhile, boasts not only a 60-minute diving scale, but also a 12-hour scale, which can be used to track a second time zone. Its aluminum surface is light grey, giving its the impression of tropically induced patina.
An orange seconds hand pops to add a flash of color to the otherwise reserved design, while two subsidiary dials — including an oversized 'Big Eye' 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock and a black 60-minute register at 9 o'clock — are accented in contrasting colors to further aid in legibility. Look closely at the 3 o'clock counter and you'll notice a 1-minute countdown scale used to time the start of a yachting race. (Cross the start line before the starting gun sounds, and you're disqualified!)
This handsome limited edition is presented on a stainless steel beads of rice bracelet to reinforce the underlying vintage theme, but would look equally at home on a variety of straps that can be used to pull out the colors on the dial. Notably, it's also the first limited edition to feature "Analog:Shift" on the dial — a nod to Nivada's rich history in private label manufacturing and retailer editions.
Watches are, at their core, tools. Beautiful, elegant, refined —however you choose to market a timepiece, in the end, it serves a practical function. Nivada Grenchen, at its heart a tool watch maker, has kept this idea alive while offering variety, affordability, quality, and creativity in its catalog. We could not be more excited to be working with such a historic brand — one that all watch enthusiasts should feature in their collections.
Check out the Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting Limited Edition at Analogshift.com today!