Perhaps there are some zombie brands that have demonstrated themselves so fully and beyond reproach that they deserve to just be called brands. Zombie brands, of course, are those which have been brought back to life by one or more enterprising individuals, usually with large back catalogs that legitimize a slew of reissues. Nivada Grenchen is practically the poster child for such brands, and has done so well with itself that I’d argue it’s now just a regular brand. (Imagine an actual zombie trying his very best, reintegrating into society, and being accepted—I smell an Oscar.) To continue the metaphor, what may mark that transition from mindless animated corpse to contributing member of society is Nivada’s announcement of a retail-only exclusive produced in collaboration with vintage and pre-owned powerhouse Analog:Shift, part of the Watches of Switzerland Group. With the new limited edition Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting, the brand is saying, “Hey, if you had any doubts, let us put them to rest—we’re here for the long haul!”
The Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting takes the brand’s wildly successful Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver (one day, brands will just use short, easy names). By my count, there have been no fewer than 21 different Chronomasters since Guillaume Laidet used the model to relaunch the brand in 2019. This has included collaborations with Worn & Wound and Seconde/Seconde, so using the platform in this instance is really no surprise. Chronographs also tend to offer the most opportunities to get creative, given the myriad features and elements that can be changed. With the help of Analog:Shift, the CASD gets a coastal summertime refresh.
The case of this Yachting edition is identical to that of the other CASD models, which stay true to the original vintage design. The stainless steel case measures 38mm across and is quoted at 13.75mm thick, including the domed sapphire crystal; the lug-to-lug is 46.5mm. The finishing is a blend of polished bevels and well-defined brushing, with downturned lugs appearing to offer a bit of comfort on the wrist. The pull-out crown and pushers presumably have decent gaskets, as the watch offers 100m water resistance. The watch is paired with a beads-of-rice-style bracelet with a simple (and in my experience not great) flip-lock clasp. I don’t love the fused rice beads on the end link; most brands use a female endlink, with the beads from the last link extending into the slots in the endlink, not the other way around (look at the Doxa Sub 200 to see what I mean). The Nivada approach looks a bit odd and limits the articulation around the wrist.
The layout here is likely familiar if you know the Nivada CASD model. Surrounding the dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel with a grey, dual-scale aluminum insert which can be used to track a second time zone or as a dive/timing bezel. As far as the chronograph, there’s a central seconds plus the 30-minute register at 3 o’clock. What this collaboration does is all about color and scales. The dial has been brightened up to a stark white, while the chrono hand is made into a striking orange. The running seconds has radial grooving inside its hashes, while the typical paragraph at 6 o’clock has been swapped for Analog:Shift’s name (and font!). Most importantly, though, the 30-minute chronograph register has a yachting pr regatta scale that allows for timing the countdown at the beginning of a regatta. In most boating races, there’s a highly structured 5-minute countdown to allow boats to pick up speed and position, ideally crossing the starting line exactly when the countdown ends. The actual utility of this scale on a modern watch is likely limited for most, but that doesn’t make it less fun.
The Chronomaster Big Eye Yachting is powered by the Swiss manual-wind Sellita SW510 M BH b. This dateless, two-register movement is the hand-wound version of the SW510, which in turn is the 3-6-9 version of the 6-9-12 Sellita SW500 chronograph. It features a cam-operated chronograph mechanism, hacking, and a solid 63-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph. This movement is tried and true, so you shouldn’t expect any issues from it.
The Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting is a fun take on Nivada’s CASD, with brighter colors that move away from the typically dark dials the brand uses. Yachting watches are fairly niche, but no one actually uses a chronograph for any of its intended purposes, so this is more about color and cool than anything else. With that in mind, it’s likely a safe bet for the band’s first retailer exclusive. The Nivada Grenchen X Analog:Shift Chronomaster “Big Eye” Yachting is priced at $1,995 USD and is limited to 100 pieces. It is available exclusively through Watches of Switzerland online outlets (Watches of Switzerland, Mayors, Betteridge, and Analog:Shift) with a limited number available at the Analog:Shift showroom in New York City. For more information, please visit the Analog:Shift website.