Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial: the vintage watch with an assertive retro look, typical of the renaissance of the Nivada Grenchen brand
Watchmaking is a field where tradition and innovation constantly rub shoulders.
The rebirth of the Nivada Grenchen brand is a fine example of this. Founded in 1926, the Swiss brand has had its ups and downs, notably due to the quartz crisis of the 1970s-1980s: it has been brilliantly resurrected in 2018 by Guillaume Laidet and Rémi Chabrat.
Their strategy? Reissue the brand’s cult models, including this Nivada Antarctic Spider with its salmon dial. Let’s see how this watch is a fine tribute to vintage elegance, while incorporating modern technical specifics.
I. Nivada Grenchen: a brand enjoying a remarkable renaissance
Nivada Grenchen is a Swiss watch brand founded in 1926 in Grenchen, the birthplace of Swiss watchmaking. Founded by Jacob Schneider, Nivada quickly became a pioneer in the production of automatic watches in the 1930s.
In 1950, the brand created the Nivada Antarctic, the first water-resistant automatic watch, worn during the American expedition Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. In the 1960s, Nivada launched its flagship collection of robust, water-resistant chronographs: the Chronomaster, Aviator and Sea Diver.
Despite these iconic models, Nivada suffered from the quartz crisis of the 1970s-80s and almost completely disappeared from the watchmaking landscape. The brand was bought in 2018 by two enthusiasts, Guillaume Laidet and Remi Chabrat, who decided to relaunch it in 2020 by faithfully reissuing its vintage cult models.
1 The rebirth of Nivada Grenchen
After more or less disappearing for almost 40 years, Nivada Grenchen is making a remarkable comeback in 2018 thanks to Guillaume Laidet. This watchmaking enthusiast is behind the rebirth of this iconic Swiss manufacture.
Guillaume Laidet is no stranger to the watchmaking world. The 37-year-old Frenchman already has a solid CV, having worked in the marketing departments of prestigious brands such as Zenith, Girard-Perregaux and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
In 2015, he decided to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure by creating his own watch brand, William L. 1985. Inspired by vintage Swiss chronographs from the 1950s, the young label quickly met with success. In 3 years, William L. 1985 sold over 100,000 watches in 50 countries.
Building on this successful experience, in 2018 Guillaume Laidet decided to give a second lease of life to a forgotten Swiss watch brand, Nivada Grenchen. With the support of his partner Rémi Chabrat of the Montrichard Group, he bought back the rights to the label, which had been asleep since 1985.
It was a risky gamble, but Guillaume had a plan. Rather than reinvent Nivada Grenchen, he decided to capitalize on its rich past by reissuing its vintage cult models. To achieve this, he surrounded himself withan expert team mastering the entire watchmaking production chain, from design to distribution.
Starting in 2020, Guillaume brilliantly resurrects Nivada Grenchen’s legendary Chronomaster, Antarctic and Depthmaster. Faithful in every respect to the originals, these re-editions are a great success with aficionados. The new Nivada is riding the neo-vintage wave with a focus on pre-orders and e-commerce, the sign of a modern and astute strategy.
Passionate above all else, Guillaume Laidet places the customer at the heart of the Nivada Grenchen revival. He doesn’t hesitate to gather feedback on social networks, especially Instagram, to adapt products to consumers’ desires.
In fact, it was after spotting a photo of a vintage Nivada model posted by a fan on Instagram that the idea of reissuing the legendary Antarctic Spider germinated in Guillaume’s mind. In 2021, this iconic model is resurrected, with the sectorial « spider web » dial that made it famous.
Among the re-editions on offer is theAntarctic Spider, a vintage 1960s model with a sectorial « spider web » dial, hence its name. Its vertical faceted hour-markers are linked at the center by lines evoking the legs of a spider.
In 2021, Nivada presents a new version of this iconic model with a superb salmon-colored dial. This unusual hue for a sports watch gives it a unique cachet, both vintage and contemporary.
II Test&Avis of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider watch
The legendary Nivada Antarctic was created in 1950 by the Neuchâtel manufacturer of the same name. It is inseparable from the American Operation Deep Freeze expedition to Antarctica in the 1950s, during which it was adopted by polar explorers.
This sturdy watch accompanied members of the US Navy on the first mission to the Antarctic continent after the Second World War. Its heroic history contributes to the myth of this vintage timepiece.
Operation Deep Freeze
Operation Deep Freeze refers to a series of American missions to Antarctica aimed at establishing permanent settlements in this inhospitable territory during the Cold War.
The first expedition took place in 1955, led by Admiral Richard Byrd, a pioneer of Antarctic exploration. It was an unprecedented logistical and scientific operation involving 4,000 men, 13 ships and 26 aircraft.
The mission led to the construction of American research stations on the frozen continent, including McMurdo Base. Nivada Antarctic watches were adopted by sailors and scientists alike for their unfailing reliability.
The first waterproof automatic watch
In 1950, when Nivada created the Antarctic, it was the first manufacturer to offer a water-resistant automatic wristwatch.
This major technical feat made it the ideal companion for the members of Operation Deep Freeze who had to face extreme conditions. Its water-resistance to 200m and its robustness worked wonders.
With its simple, easy-to-read design, compact 35mm size and innovative automatic movement, the Nivada Antarctic became THE watch for polar explorers in the 1950s and 60s.
II. The bold vintage design of the salmon dial and 38mm case
With its Nivada Antarctic Spider with salmon dial, the Neuchâtel manufacturer has created a successful re-edition that fully embraces the vintage heritage of the original model. Let’s take an in-depth look at the aesthetic features of this retro-styled watch.
The brushed steel case is faithful to that of the 1960s Spider, with its clean lines and contained dimensions. Its diameter is limited to 38mm, a rare size these days for a sports watch, but perfectly in keeping with the vintage spirit.
In terms of thickness, the Spider doesn’t exceed 11.5mm despite its automatic movement. This slimness is an asset for going unnoticed under a shirt sleeve. Fans of flat watches of modest size will be delighted.
With its classic round shape and straight lugs, this case exudes vintage appeal. Its discreet horizontal brushing evokes the craftsmanship of another era. The result is both sober and elegant.
The salmon dial
The dial is of course the signature element of this reissue, as it features the famous new salmon hue. Made with a soleillée finish, it features subtle gradations that play well with the light.
This soft, powdery hue gives the Spider a unique look that’s both retro and refreshing. It contrasts with traditional diver’s watches with black or navy blue dials.
But the characteristic spider web motif is always present. The 8 facetted hour-markers linked at the center by lines evoke the legs of a spider, while the spherical luminous studs are reminiscent of eyes.
Why is this famous salmon color so popular in watchmaking?
The salmon-colored dial is a vintage trend that regularly recurs in watchmaking. This warm, elegant color evokes the watches of the 1940s-1950s.
The origin of the salmon dial dates back to the 1870s-1880s, when watches were fitted with grand feu enamel dials. Hand-crafted enamels produced a range of hues, from pale pink to deep salmon. In the 1920s-1930s, salmon dials became popular on Art Deco watches that accompanied the rise of the automobile.
In the 1940s-1950s, it was used on chronographs and pilot’s watches, notably by Breitling, Heuer and Zenith.
From the 1970s onwards, the salmon dial disappeared in favor of more modern, colorful dials. It made a comeback in the years 1990-2000, driven by renewed interest in vintage watches.
Many brands reissued historic models with salmon dials. Today, the salmon dial, synonymous with classicism and casual elegance, remains a safe bet in contemporary collections. It’s a timeless choice that adds a distinctive vintage touch to a sporty or dressy watch.
The cyclops date window
The perfectly integrated, curved cyclops date window adds an unmistakable vintage touch.
Dauphine hour and minute hands are typical of vintage watches. Their tapered tips offer optimum legibility of the time, while adding a quaint elegance to this Spider.
Their tips are edged with discreet Super-LumiNova. This contemporary detail perfectly balances the nostalgia of the rest of the design. A subtle blend of past and present watchmaking codes.
Luminescent indexes and studs
The baton-shaped indexes are reminiscent of the original Spider from the Sixties. They weave the unique weave of the spidery dial.
Coated with Super-LumiNova, they ensure perfect legibility in the dark. They interact with the 8 spherical luminous studs evoking spider eyes.
The combination of indexes, lines and dots forms a balanced graphic composition that elegantly enlivens this retro-style watch.
The screw-down crown is faithful to the original with its engraved Nivada Grenchen motif. In addition to water-resistance, it better protects the winding and adjustment of this watch on a daily basis.
Its contained 5mm diameter blends discreetly into the vintage silhouette of the case without ever impeding wearability. A functional element that reinforces the historical DNA of this successful re-edition.
The polished stainless steel caseback also features the Nivada Grenchen logo. It also bears the words « Stainless Steel » and the watch’s serial number.
Its simple, unadorned satin finish perfectly matches the clean aesthetics of this sporty, vintage-style watch.
Tropical black leather strap
This perforated textured black leather strap is inspired by the golden age of rally racing in the 1970s. Its small round holes evoke both disc brakes and the aerodynamic design of racing cars, while offering enhanced breathability. This breathable bracelet is ideal for sports activities and hot, humid environments. Its timeless style complements both contemporary and vintage watches.
II. Movement and technical specifications
Beneath its bold retro styling, the salmon-faced Nivada Antarctic Spider hides a reliable automatic movement with solid performance. Let’s take a closer look at the technical features of this vintage-looking timepiece.
Soprod automatic movement
The salmon-colored Spider features a proven Soprod P024 movement. Of Swiss origin, it offers an impressive 38-hour power reserve when wound.
Its Nivachoc balance spring enhances precision and resists shocks and magnetic fields, while the balance oscillator beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. All meticulously assembled for optimum reliability.
In short, a reliable, high-performance motorization at the service of the vintage aesthetics of this spider-like watch.
100m water resistance
Thanks to its screw-down crown, the Nivada Spider guarantees reassuring water-resistance to a depth of 100 meters. So you can wear it on land as well as in the water. Vintage yet robust.
Double-domed sapphire crystal
The domed, double-curved sapphire crystal is reminiscent of vintage watches, but infinitely more resistant. It protects the dial from scratches and everyday shocks far better than Plexiglas.
Its contemporary anti-reflective treatment makes the retro dial easy to read in any weather. Yet another successful duality between watchmaking tradition and modern innovation.
The meticulous finishing touches contribute to the success of this Nivada Grenchen re-edition. The polished case and brushed lugs lend an elegant play of light to this watch’s assertive look.
The finishing touches soften the angles and make the surfaces pleasant to the touch.
The Super-Luminova covering the hands, hour-markers and dial studs offers exceptional night-time legibility. Its controlled aging evokes the tritium watches of the 1960s.
Performance and vintage: the Spider salmon combines the best of both worlds for a seamless, successful result.
The cyclopean date window flips instantly at midnight, avoiding the unsightly gap between two days. An optimal watchmaking setting for this revisited vintage model.
The date blends harmoniously into the retro-style dial, while benefiting from a welcome contemporary display comfort.
III Style tips
Here, I wanted to opt for a sober outfit that would show off the watch’s luminous salmon color: it’s a color that contrasts very well with shades of blue, especially navy blue.
So that’s what I chose for the jacket and pants. Finally, to add a little contrast to the outfit, I opted for a mid-blue Paris-Yorker mock-neck sweater, whose mottled look and mock collar work well with the Hast shirt.
I’m wearing the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider Salmon watch with it:
– a Paris-Yorker mock-neck sweater
– a Hast Paris oxford shirt
– a Balibaris leather jacket
– avenza flannel jogpants
– morjas loafers
With the Antarctic Spider Saumon, Nivada Grenchen has created an inspired reinterpretation of an iconic timepiece from its watchmaking heritage. The brand has succeeded in preserving the vintage spirit of the original model while adapting it to contemporary tastes. The salmon dial adds a touch of casual elegance to this timepiece with a strong character.
This new version rekindles the passion for an assertive retro style, against the tide of hyper-technological watches. The Antarctic Spider cultivates an offbeat, graphic aesthetic that leaves no one indifferent. Behind its polarizing look lies rigorous Swiss Made watchmaking expertise.
With this launch, Nivada Grenchen proves its ability to draw on its rich heritage to offer timeless, trendy models. The brand has established itself as a safe bet for lovers of vintage watches with a strong temperament. The Antarctic Spider Saumon is in keeping with this tradition, combining casual elegance with a strong character. A personality that is sure to seduce aficionados of fine mechanical engineering.
Q: What is the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial?
A: The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial is a watch that features a unique spider dial design.
Q: Where is the center of the dial located?
A: The center of the dial is located vertically.
Q: What are the hour markers like on the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial?
A: The hour markers on the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial are vertically applied.
Q: Which country is the watch company Nivada Grenchen from?
A: The watch company Nivada Grenchen is from Switzerland.
Q: How large is the diameter of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial?
A: The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial has a diameter of 38mm.
Q: What is the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial a throwback to?
A: The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial is a throwback to the 70’s.
Q: What type of movement powers the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial?
A: The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial is powered by a self-winding Swiss movement.
Q: What is the case of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial made of?
A: The case of the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial is made of stainless steel.
Q: What type of glass does the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial have?
A: The Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Spider salmon dial has a sapphire glass.
Q: What is the design of the dial called?
A: The design of the dial is called the sector spider dial or the spider dial.
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