Since its resurgence a few years ago – we recently listed the brand in our recent buying guide on revived historic brands – Nivada Grenchen has been hard at work offering well-designed and well-priced watches with a retro feel. It all started with the restored Chronomaster, followed by funky models like the “Pac-Man” Depthmaster or the Antarctic Spider. And then came the Super Antarctic, a rugged exploration model with a no-nonsense design. Well, today, it’s not so much about “no frills” as French artist Seconde/Seconde, Romaric André, has given this watch a nice touch (literally) with the new Nivada Super Antarctic Keep Frozen Limited Edition.
You may know Romaric or Seconde/Seconde for his artistic work on watches. His idea was to give a lighthearted twist to normally serious watches. As he himself said, “I destroy other people’s products only because I fail to build mine.” It says a lot about the man’s mentality… Everything he does is filled with fun, an artistic touch, a bit of ironic humor and, rare in the watch industry, never taking things too seriously. We’ve already seen Romaric’s work with H. Moser & Cie or in several collaboration watches with Louis Errard… sorry, Louis Erard.
On the other side, we have Nivada Grenchen, a historic brand with great prestige in the community of experienced collectors specializing in instrument watches. The brand was recently relaunched by Guillaume Laidet (also behind Excelsior Park and Vulcain) and focuses much of its production on vintage-inspired models, all re-editions of the brand’s iconic past watches. And it’s super Antarctic, a robust, no-nonsense exploration watch with a clean design, good specifications and an accessible price. This is the watch Sekonde/Sekonde chose for its latest reinterpretation.
This watch (circa 1950), Antarctic, was Nevada Grenchen’s first waterproof automatic timepiece and was worn by members of the US Navy’s Deep Freeze 1 on their expedition to the South Pole from 1955 to 1956. And the Super Antarctic provided even more clarity. Dial and more rugged case. The modern version uses basically the same recipe, thanks to the convenient 200m water-resistance, screwed caseback and screw-down crown, and despite the compact dimensions of the case – 38mm diameter, 11.50mm height and a reasonable 45mm lug-to-lug. A double-domed sapphire crystal on top completes the vintage look.
The Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic dial certainly brings classic explorer vibes, with its applied markers combining batons and triangles. As a matte black base, it is fitted with large illuminated arms and is all about instant clarity and contrast. Simple and effective. So… what’s new in this Super Antarctic Keep Frozen Edition? The model is based on the Romaric aka Seconde/Seconde White Super-LumiNova. And then, rather than evoking heroic destinations associated with great polar explorations and historical models, the artist brings something associated with our everyday life and very cool… light in all senses of the word.
The central seconds hand is replaced by a central disc (available in 4 colors) that reads “Frozen” and is shaped like a snowflake. It’s “Looks like a frozen product you can imagine, no longer on ice, but stored in the freezer between two ice creams,” explains the brand. And to take the concept even further, the watch is no longer delivered in a standard box, but in a cooler… just like your favorite pack of ice cream. However, as always with Sekonde/Sekonde’s creations it should be taken lightly and with a bit of humor.
Inside the case ticks the automatic Soprod P024, an alternative to the ETA movement with a frequency of 4Hz and a power reserve of 40h. The watch is worn on an FKM Tropic-like rubber strap, which is also available in 4 colors to match the central disc – Ocean Blue, Polar Blue, Forest Green and Tropic Orange.
Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic Keep Frozen x Seconde/Seconde is a limited edition of 15 pieces priced per color. EUR 990. For more details and orders, please visit nivadagrenchenofficial.com.