In a strange confluence of fate, Oracle Time appears to have predicted the latest launch from Nivada Grenchen. Last month we were discussing the history of Nivada Grenchen’s legendary Antarctic tool watch and then last week we took a deep dive into the phenomenon of tropical dials. And now Nivada Grenchen have released a new version of the Antarctic, called the Super Antarctic 3/6/9, with a faux tropical dial.
If you check out our article on the history of the Antarctic, you’ll see that one of the significant landmarks in the genesis of this watch was an expedition called Operation Deep Freeze. It’s this expedition in particular that the Super Antarctic 3/6/9 is designed to commemorate.
On the back of its 38mm diameter stainless steel case is a golden medallion, engraved with a wintery scene of an Ice Breaker ship and a plane arriving at the glacial continent. Similar medallions decorated Nivada Grenchen watches around the time of Operation Deep Freeze and were a sign of prestige and watchmaking excellence, reserved for those watches that achieved chronometer certification. Today, they’re more a celebration of the brand’s heritage.
However, it’s the dial that makes the Super Antarctic 3/6/9 particularly interesting. There are two versions available: one is simply called the Super Antarctic 3/6/9, while the other is the Super Antarctic 3/6/9 “Cadran Tropical”. Both feature elements of stylised vintage patina, with the “Cadran Tropical” taking this concept a step further than the regular edition.
The regular one has a matte black dial and patinaed hour markers and hands. The hour markers are actually what gives this watch the “3/6/9” part of its name because those are the only markers given as Arabic numerals, the rest are bar indexes with the exception of 12 o’clock, which is a triangle.
Super Antarctic 3/6/9 “Cadran Tropical” has the same faux vintage hands and hour markers, but pairs them with a tropical dial in a delightful chocolate colour. It’s important to distinguish that this is, at least in some regards, a genuine tropical dial – it hasn’t simply been painted a tropical colour. Instead, it’s undergone a strenuous and complex process of rapid aging, recreating the process that produces actual tropical dials in a fraction of the time.
This leaves us with an interesting quandary when it comes to defining the dial. What they’ve achieved is more impressive than a watch that is merely ‘vintage styled’, but it clearly isn’t as valuable or exciting as an authentic tropical dial. I think the happy medium is to call it an artificial tropical dial.
Powering both designs is the Soprod P024, an automatic movement based on the ETA 2824-2 with 38-hour power reserve. It’s nothing too exciting, just a solid work horse with an Incabloc anti-shock device making it suitable for the successor to an iconic tool watch.
Plus, it helps to make the watch accessible, with both watches priced at $750 (approx. £630). They’re available for a limited order window of two weeks from November 15th – November 29th. It’s one to add to the Christmas wish list, although hopefully Santa’s elves can work fast enough to get it into your stocking before they’re no longer available.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 3/6/9
- Ref: 32032A10 (black dial)
32031A23 (tropical dial)
- Case/dial: 38mm diameter x 12mm thickness, stainless steel case, black or brown dial
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: Soprod calibre P024 (base: ETA 2824-2), automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 38h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: Black or caramel perforated leather
- Price/availability: $750 (approx. £630)