Since its relaunch in 2018, Nivada Grenchen has enjoyed a series of highly popular releases that reimagine fan-favorite vintage models from its archives. Within the brand’s modern catalog, it is arguably the Chronomaster collection that is Nivada Grenchen’s signature offering. However, watches from this series are typically among its more expensive models, simply due to the fact that they require more complex movements than their various three-handed siblings. However, as its latest new release of 2023, Nivada Grenchen has created a colorful and highly affordable rendition of its signature sports chronograph, and the new Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange pairs a meca-quartz movement with a vibrant and funky dial that has been revived from the 1970s.
Earlier this year, Nivada Grenchen released a different Chronoking model powered by a meca-quartz chronograph movement. However, while that previous model was a produced as a limited edition of just 100 examples that immediately sold out upon the news of its launch, the new Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange will be offered for a period of five weeks (July 27th to August 31st, 2023), where those who wish to purchase one can place their orders. Delivery is scheduled to take place in September and October.
Technically speaking, this release approach makes the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange a limited edition, since it will not be joining the catalog as a core collection offering. However, since production will not be capped at a specific number of examples and potential buyers have five weeks to make their decision, those who wish to purchase one should easily be able to add one to their collections without jumping through hoops or paying a premium on the secondary market.
As for the watch itself, the new Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange is essentially a dial variation of the original limited edition Chronoking Mecha-Quartz watch from earlier this year. What this means is that you get a 316L stainless steel case with brushed and polished surfaces that measures 38mm in diameter by 13.75mm-thick, with drilled 20mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 46.5mm. Similarly, the top of the case receives a double-domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, and surrounding the crystal is a bidirectional rotating bezel that is fitted with a black aluminum insert with a fully demarcated 60-minute timing scale.
The reverse side of the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange receives a solid stainless steel screw-down caseback that’s engraved with the Nivada Grenchen logo. Access to the meca-quartz movement is achieved by a large signed crown flanked by a pair of pump-style chronograph pushers that stick out from the 3 o’clock side of the case. Just like all of the models from the brand’s greater Chronomaster collection, the new “Paul Newman” Orange features 100 meters of water resistance, which makes it entirely capable of surviving virtually all types of moisture contact that you are likely to encounter on a regular basis.
The real party piece of the new Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange is its dial, which is a revival of a specific style that was fitted to some of the brand’s vintage Chronoking watches during the 1970s. With that in mind, while the original vintage model featured a tonneau-shaped case and was powered by the manually-wound Valjoux 72 movement, this new edition for 2023 brings this vibrant and colorful dial to Nivada Grenchen’s Chronomaster collection. It also opts for a contemporary movement that offers the convenience, accuracy, and autonomy of quartz timekeeping.
Originally produced by Swiss dial manufacturer Jean Singer, who is also responsible for the mega-expensive vintage Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona dials, this style of exotic dial is characterized by the Art Deco-style font used for the numerals of its chronograph registers. While most people typically associate this style with Rolex due to the incredible prices of vintage “Paul Newman” Daytona watches, similar dials can be found inside chronographs from a variety of other manufacturers during the 1970s. Jean Singer also produced a number of different famous and highly collectible exotic dials from the golden era of the sports chronograph, such as the Omega Speedmaster Racing, the Heuer Skipper, and the Universal Genève “Blue Nina”.
The dial of the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange features a matte black central surface with a trio of gold-colored chronograph registers arranged in a traditional 3-6-9 layout. The sub-dials showcase their signature “Paul Newman” typography in black, and surrounding the matte black central section of the dial is a contrasting minute track in a bright orange gradient color. The outermost perimeter of the dial is occupied by an additional thin black section that frames the bright orange minute track, and printed upon this section is a tachymeter scale in white.
The trio of smaller hands that appear within the sub-dials are black with golden-colored center sections, while the centrally-mounted chronograph seconds hand is finished bright orange to compliment the minute track on the dial. The central hour and minute hands feature entirely polished surfaces with large burnt orange luminous inlays that match the lume that appears on the applied hour markers of the watch. The rich tint of the luminous material appears to be significantly darker than the variety the brand uses to emulate aged vintage lume (such as what can be observed on the Nivada Grenchen Antarctic Diver), and when combined with the punchy orange and black colorway of the watch, the complementary color of the tinted lume creates a highly cohesive aesthetic.
Powering the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange is the Seiko VK64 meca-quartz chronograph movement, which pairs standard battery-operated quartz technology for its timekeeping with a mechanical module for its chronograph. Aside from being substantially less expensive than traditional mechanical chronograph calibers, meca-quartz movements are also highly practical, as they offer all of the same accuracy and convenience of quartz while still being able to provide the snappy tactile pusher response and instant hand-reset action of a mechanical chronograph. Although you will still need to replace the battery every few years with a meca-quartz movement, you don’t ever need to worry about costly repairs or service since you can purchase an entire replacement Seiko VK64 for a fraction of what it would cost you to have a basic service performed on a traditional mechanical caliber.
Rather than fitting its watches with a single strap or bracelet, Nivada Grenchen offers its timepieces with a wide variety of different options that include everything from leather and rubber straps to numerous different styles of stainless steel bracelets that even include some from the popular third-party strap/bracelet manufacturer Forstner. With standard 20mm drilled lugs, a virtually endless list of compatible strap options will also be on the table, and Nivada Grenchen even sells its straps and bracelets separately for those who wish to own multiple different styles.
Due to being powered by a mecha-quartz movement, the new Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange is significantly less expensive than its mechanical siblings, and it is accompanied by an official retail price of $479 USD. Although you can expect to pay up to a couple hundred dollars more if you opt for one of the premium bracelet configurations, this new mecha-quartz chronograph still costs well-below half the price of the least expensive mechanical models from the greater Chronomaster lineup, while simultaneously offering one of the most unique appearances within the entire collection. Given how quickly the 100 examples of the previous mecha-quartz model were claimed, I imagine that the new Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange will be incredibly popular among those who missed out on the original version, and with a fairly generous five-week window of availability that runs until August 31st, 2023, most motivated collectors should have plenty of time to place their orders and secure themselves an example. For more information on the Nivada Grenchen Chronoking “Paul Newman” Orange, please visit the brand’s website.