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Among the vast world of vintage timepieces, there is no doubt that vintage tool watches hold a special place in the hearts of many collectors, ourselves included. With their simple, clean designs and reliable, robust movements, the tool watches of the 1960s and 1970s were built to accompany the adventurer across the globe and to keep time at its great heights as well as its dark depths.
Given the popularity of the style (even to this day), there are hundreds of interesting variants from dozens of companies. Though these companies all, for the most part, ceased production due to the ravages of the Quartz crisis, their watches remain. They all have a story to tell, a unique take on a tried and true theme.
Among these, vintage chronographs are some of the most attractive; even when relegated to desk duty, there's just something so right about a vintage chronograph on your wrist.
Nivada (or Nivada Grenchen, or Croton in the States) should be a familiar name to vintage watch collectors. Founded in Grenchen, Switzerland in the 1920s by Jacob Schneider, Nivada was one of the first brands to manufacture automatic watches. Nivada embraced other innovations as well, producing waterproof and “rustless” watches that would stand up to the rigors of the outdoors.
They faced their ultimate test in the mid-1950s, when watches made by Nivada went to the South Pole in Operation Deep Freeze. During this operation, led by Admiral Richard Byrd of the U.S. Navy, Americans first set foot on the South Pole. Members of Byrd’s crew wore Nivada Grenchen Antarctics, which cemented the brand’s reputation as a producer of watches for men of action and adventure.
The watches that the brand produced throughout the 1960s did well to uphold Nivada’s reputation, like this watch: the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver.
The name says it all, really. This was an age of action and exploration, when no region of the world was left untouched. Jet travel made it possible to fly from Paris to New York in one day, and the popularity of SCUBA diving meant that more and more people were delving into the deepest recesses of the ocean.
Watch brands began rolling out specialized watches to suit every need, from driving, to flying, to diving, and everything in between.
Nivada followed suit in 1963 with the introduction of the Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver in 1963. Throughout its fifteen-year run, the Chronomaster would come in many different iterations. This is one of the earliest, with the trademark broad arrow hands (reminiscent of early Omega Speedmasters) that it would carry until a redesign in the 1970s.
While these watches are by no means scarce, one in this condition—and with a box—is rare indeed. The bevels on the lugs are as sharp as they must have been when this watch first rolled off the assembly line. The hour markers and hands do show signs of age, having mellowed to a handsome even patina, and the case back likewise shows signs of light use.
But what we have here is a versatile timepiece, at home in any environment you wish to wear it—on land, in the air, or at sea.
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown and pushers). Venus 210 Movement.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition, with sharp lugs and slight signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Black rotating MH bezel is in very good condition with minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing. Dial does have signs of age, including fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown. Signed case back has some signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm black silicon rally-style strap.
Also includes box.