Armand Nicolet introduces the new M02-4 GMT collection for 2019, and it’s a very competent (yet probably underrated) dress watch for world travelers. Armand Nicolet, in general, is underrated but I think that is starting to change a bit. The brand has been on my radar since the early days of my watch-collecting experience in the early 2000s. What the brand never did as well as others was transition into a marketing brand able to present an attractive image of the company and its products in order to drive customers into stores. When the retail watch industry started to shrink, a lot of brands including Armand Nicolet were forced to find new ways of reaching consumers. Part of the brand’s more novel approach is fairer pricing designed for a more direct-to-consumer commercial strategy. The watches fit the mold of classic Swiss watches but have a contemporary flair for attention and tasteful dazzle. It’s for the guy who wants to show off just a little bit, without trying to look as though he is trying to show off.
As a “bracelet man,” I prefer the Mo2-4 GMT on the optional matching steel bracelet. For this review, I can only talk about the watch on the alligator-print brown leather strap. It is comfortable enough and looks attractive on the fold-over deployant clasp that neatly hides the excess strap next to your wrist. I just happen to think the watch is the most masculine on the bracelet in style — but possibly more comfortable strap, given the lower weight. Perhaps I’d just choose another strap color. I happen to think this ref. A846AAA-AG-P840MR2 would look good on a gray strap. The ref. A846AAA-AG-M9742 is this same Mo2-4 GMT watch on the steel bracelet.
At 42mm-wide and 12mm-thick (water resistant to 100 meters) in steel, the M02-4 is about as large a size as most guys want to go without a timepiece looking too large. About the maximum most men can get away with when wearing long sleeves is 42- to 43mm-wide. This is an important consideration because the M02-4 GMT is a timepiece you could easily pair with formal or office attire; after all, it is a dress watch in design. The sportiness comes in with the watch’s dimensions, as well as the boldness of the dial. Armand Nicolet opted for a rather deep dial, which has a sloped flange ring around it that is printed with a minute-marker track. This frees up the dial, which is made busy by the internal 24-hour scale that is raised up a bit and has a two-tone color palette to signify daylight and nighttime hours of the day. A blue GMT hand rotates the main dial once each 24 hours along this scale. It makes for a legible layout, even though the GMT dial isn’t a perfect circle given the “hump” over the date window located at 6 o’clock.
I would have rather had Armand Nicolet produce the GMT hand with a slightly different design than exactly like the main hour hand. They do try to separate them in terms of color, but when viewing the dial at certain angles, it is still too difficult sometimes to tell the hands apart at a glance. The hands are, however, cool looking and an overall highlight of the M02-4 GMT watch design. Browse the Armand Nicolet website, and you’ll notice that they produce other dial colors for the M02-4 GMT, including a black dial with red accents and a blue dial with orange accents. Anyone interested in these GMT watches could benefit from browsing the other models Armand Nicolet makes available.
Which the dial is stamped and not actually machine engraved, the light guilloché-style pattern on the inner part of the watch dials is appreciated. I, for one, like these “classy touches” in my watches. The dial has no luminant, and over the face is a slightly domed AR-coated sapphire crystal. The steel case is rounded overall and entirely polished. It’s a well-made case and offers a good level of quality for the money. I do, however, feel that Armand Nicolet could push for more design originality or at least distinctiveness in its cases, just as it does in its dials. But I want to say (going back to the crystal) that there is very little glare, and Armand Nicolet did a great job with the dial-viewing experience.
Inside the M02-4 GMT watch is a Swiss Sellita SW-330 automatic GMT movement. This is, essentially,, the same as an ETA 2893 and likewise operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with about two days of power reserve. In this GMT watch, you are meant to reset the time when you move to a city and then the GMT hand follows the main time. This is unlike some other modern GMT movements for which you can independently set the hour hands. In the SW-330 you are moving the GMT hand in one-hour increments if you aren’t adjusting the main time.
The rear of the watch has a view of the movement through a sapphire crystal caseback window. The presentation is pretty handsome, but the movement itself isn’t very well decorated. That spoils the potential glamour of viewing the movement, but that is simply a function of the movement grade that Armand Nicolet chose for this collection. Even though the brand claims these watches are a more economical approach to the dressy GMT than its customers might have once been used to, I still think for the $2,000+ price of the watch, a more well-decorated movement could have been selected for the M02-4 GMT.
The rich level of personality — despite the conservative and classic persona of the brand — is what makes Armand Nicolet a brand worth looking at. They make about as interesting a dress watch as you can get without risking your timepiece offending anyone. It is an extreme approach to the traditional timepiece, and there is most certainly a market for this among fashion-focused watch enthusiasts. To help promote the collection, perhaps the next step is for Armand Nicolet to give the “M02-4 GMT” collection a proper, relatable name. Price for the Armand Nicolet M02-4 GMT is 2,200 Swiss Francs on the leather strap and 2,400 Swiss Francs on the steel bracelet. Learn more at the Armand Nicolet website here.
>Brand: Armand Nicolet
>Model: M02-4 GMT reference A846AAA-AG-P840MR2 (as tested)
>Price: 2,200 – 2,400 Swiss Francs
>Size: 42mm-wide, 12mm-thick, and about 48mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a loudly conservative dress watch for those who travel and like to know the time back home.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Perhaps those who are looking for one nice watch to wear on a regular basis and aren’t attracted to wearing major brand names.
>Best characteristic of watch: Very comfortable wearing experience and easy to read dial (most of the time). Well-finished case and personality-rich dial design.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Price still seems a bit on the higher side, given the stiff competition out there; movement should be decorated in a watch at this price. Dial design isn’t for all tastes, but it is easy to love.