Overall fit and finish is on par with other watches at this price point. Of course, I can point to a few things a more expensive watch might do better, but one needs to be mindful of price versus design originality. I think the bezel could be a bit more stable when moving it around. It stays put enough but is a bit “mushy” when it is being turned. This is a real “nerd concern.” Then on the case, I feel that the contrast polishing could be a bit better. What I mean is that I like it when the transition from one finishing to another is sharp. Here we see rounded, versus very sharp edges (sign of better machining).
Other areas of case detailing are a bit more impressive. That includes the engraved caseback, perlage polishing on the butterfly-style deployant clasp, and as I said, the dial quality. Speaking of the bracelet, I found that it was a bit too tight or loose for my wrist – even though Armand Nicolet includes a half-link to size the bracelet. On your wrist there is just as good a chance the watch will fit perfectly. If you are concerned about fit, then the rubber strap is a good idea (although you don’t get the look of the wide brushed three-link bracelet, which is so popular and handsome).
Inside the JS9 watch is an automatic mechanical movement Armand Nicolet calls their caliber “Date AN2846-9.” It isn’t their own movement but rather a base Swiss automatic which is an ETA 2846. I am not entirely sure why they used this older, yet still sort of modern ETA caliber. The logical choice for such a watch would be the ETA 2824-2 automatic. The 2846 operates at 3Hz versus a more modern 4Hz, and it has a power reserve of 48 hours. The movement also technically has a day of the week complication available but that wasn’t integrated into this watch dial design. My guess is that Armand Nicolet had a lot of these older movements and wanted to find good use for them. At the same time, getting actual ETA 2824-2 automatic movements is still challenging these days. Let me remind you that in the Armand Nicolet O.H.M collection (aBlogtoWatch review here), the brand specialized in offering restored vintage movements in modern timepieces.
Armand Nicolet chose to have the date on the dial of the JS9 at 3 o’clock. I don’t mind it but I know that these days there is a growing group of collectors who would prefer to eschew the utility of a date window for the clean look of a more symmetrical dial. It is really about personal preference. I know that I enjoy both dive watches with and without the date.
There are times when I simply can’t argue that the world needs more dive watches (especially since so few people are diving with them), and yet I keep finding myself more interested in new dive watches. These are for many people their daily wear option because they communicate an active lifestyle, an interest in nice things, at least some degree of artistic taste, and hopefully a gregarious and engaging personality. Dive watches should be as unique as the people who wear them, and thus I welcome variety of all kinds. The more people consider that their sports diving watch is an extension of their personality, the more satisfaction I think they will have wearing less common yet still utilitarian and expressive models like the Armand Nicolet JS9. Price for this reference A480ASN-NS-MA4480AA on the bracelet is 1,700 CHF. armandnicolet.com
>Brand: Armand Nicolet
>Model: JS9 reference A480ASN-NS-MA4480AA
>Price: 1,700 Swiss Francs
>Size: 44mm wide, 13mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Actually makes a good sports watch – I’d put it on a more secure strap for swimming, trekking, and other physical activities. But the watch can “clean up” nicely as well.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Original style-focused watch lovers interested in utility but also wearing interesting watches most other people don’t have.
>Best characteristic of watch: Great legibility and inspired dial design. Ceramic bezel will offer lots of scratch resistance. Comfortable on the wrist but probably best for larger wrist sizes.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Watch case could be finished a bit better in my opinion. Armand Nicolet doesn’t offer much of a story or purpose to the design and the resulting communication is “we wanted to make a new dive watch” that can alienate all but the most determined collectors. Brand might be wise to include both steel bracelet and rubber strap in the same package.