A lot of the time people ask me for advice on buying a watch. Be it for themselves, a loved one, or maybe even a child. I do my best to counsel the, but it is hard to instill the passion I have for watches to someone who is just getting their feet wet in the area of horological enthusiasm. The best approach is to get a watch that is affordable, and allows you to appreciate the complexities and refinement of traditional watch making. Enter this original German Nivrel Grand Guilloche watch. I say ‘original’ because this watch has subsequently been updated a bit, and this is the original model, but I would argue it is nicer than the update (which is pictured below). The retail on a watch like this is $600-$700. This particular model can be had for $500 or less (with some bargaining) on eBay right now. So only one lucky person will get to have this specific watch.
Nivrel is a line that offers sub-$1000 watches to ones that in the many thousands. This means they have the know how to create something world-class in design and appeal, but can also down market their watches a bit. Nivrel watches have always been known as one of the highest quality affordable German watch, but they are not alone in this distinction. This particular watch embodies a few really nice features. First is the satin and polish finished high-grade steel case that offers a lovely traditional look, as well as durability you can rely on. The guilloche term refers to the machine engraving on the dial of the watch which is often hand done by unique and often antique machinery. Notice the historic font used for the Arabic numbering. Nivrel has experiments on these watch utilizing Arabic and Roman numerals. I tend to think that the Germans are better suited to Arabic numerals, while the Swiss can be left to meddle with Roman numerals.
The hands of the watch are done in a Breguet style, referring to the little round sections on the hands that aid with legibility. Breguet has been making hands in this fashion for literally hundreds of years. Being a traditional formal watch, this Nivrel is devoid of a date window, and any lume on the hands that would make it appear more sporty. Notice the grooved crown on the watch that adds character and functions to assist with operating the crown.
Inside is a very capable ETA automatic 2824-2 movement, that has been used since the 1970s because of its immense reliability. I own several watches that contain this movement and am very happy. In this form, the movement is likely in a mid-grade state (the same movement often has various grades of quality and decoration given the watch it is meant to be in). The ETA 2824-2, while not in this watch, can easily be tuned for use in a Chronometer watch.
The reason this Grand Guilloche is a good gateway to watch appreciation has to do with the many traditional elements that this watch has; a mechanical movement, guilloche decorated face, high grade steel case, and heritage from a well established European watch maker. This is worlds different from a trend fashion watch, or mainstream department store watch. You’ll begin to realize little details you didn’t notice before when owning a watch like this, such as how much you appreciate a textured dial. Soon, you’ll notice how more expensive watches apply these same features and more, and have a reference for being able to appreciate what can cost many thousands of dollars. So for the person interested in watches, or wanting to instill this appreciation in someone close to them, or a young adult, this Nivrel Grand Complication (or similar watch) is an excellent choice.
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