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Armand Nicolet: New watches, vintage movements

by Jonathan Fairfield
18 February, 2013
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About the author

Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

Armand Nicolet L11 black dial close up

Armand Nicolet might not necessarily be the first name that springs to mind when you think about fine Swiss watchmakers. However, with an extensive history dating back more than 100 years, Armand Nicolet is another example of a Swiss watch brand that maybe doesn’t get the recognition it deserves from the wider watch loving public.

As well as creating a range of stylish and well crafted timepieces, Armand Nicolet is also known for its ability to refurbish and revive vintage watch movements, by bringing them back to life and using them in many of its new watches.

The history behind this mechanical watch revival can be traced back to the Quartz Crisis of the 1970’s, which almost caused the death of the Swiss watch industry and saw large numbers of mechanical movements abandoned by the Swiss watchmakers.

 

 

Many of these movements, which were first created during the 1930’s and 40’s were sadly destroyed, whilst some were sold overseas, mainly to the United States, for much less than their true market value. There were of course movements that were simply locked away in storage and all but forgotten about as quartz production quickly became a mainstay of the watch making industry throughout the world.

Fortunately, thanks to brands such as Armand Nicolet, the mechanical wonders of many of these stockpiled movements are being revived for watch lovers to enjoy once more as they are now using them in their latest watch collections, meaning that you can now wear a true piece of watch making history on your wrist.

Although Armand Nicolet are considered specialists in this particular area of watch making, some of the other brands that are also known to revive vintage watch mechanisms include Maurice Lacroix, Grieb & Benzinger, Antoine Preziuso, Barrington Griffiths and Carl F. Bucherer.

Armand Nicolet LS8

 

The Armand Nicolet LS8 features a hand wound Calibre AN0711S mechanical movement, which is made up of 127 individual parts. The movement itself has been constructed from the components of the original mechanism from 1957.

The 18 jewel calibre beats at 18,000vph and also features a 36hr power reserve. The skeletonised timepiece means that the beauty of the vintage movement is there for all to admire through the watch’s dial. The dial also has a sapphire crystal that has anti-glare finish on both sides. The case of the LS8 has a diameter of 43mm and is made from 316L stainless steel. The watch is also water resistant to 50m.

The Armand Nicolet LS8 is limited to 600 pieces.

Armand Nicolet L07

 

Launched in 2008, the Armand Nicolet L07 uses the bridge and plate from the brands first Venus 188 Chronograph and is inspired from its haute horlogerie collection of watches. The watch pictured above is the two tone 316L steel and 18k pink gold version, which is a limited edition of 30 watches. The L07 is also available with a choice of other cases including steel (limited to 70 pieces), as well as 18k pink or white gold , which are both limited to 20 pieces each.

The grey 43mm diameter dial, features an openwork hour counter at 9 o’clock, which also displays a small view of the movement. At the position of 3 o’clock is where you will find the 30 minute counter. The watch is finished with a grey alligator leather strap.

The Armand Nicolet L07 is available from around £19,000

Armand Nicolet L11

Released 2012, the Armand Nicolet L11 is one of the brands newest timepieces. The L11 is the the first Armand Nicolet watch to to have a rectangular case, which is very stylish indeed. The main focal point of the L11, however, is its original hand wound movement which dates back to 1959, having been given a modern rework and finish. The calibre AN0712A hand wound movement has a 34 power reserve, beats at 18800 vph and includes 16 jewels.

Thin rectangular watches similar to this one can sometimes seem a little delicate and a little fragile but the L11 has a certain level of masculinity about it that only helps to add to the overall look of the watch.

Limited to 499, it is said that this was the exact number of 1959 movements which were left in storage.

Click Tempus looks forward to seeing more Armand Nicolet timepieces at Baselworld 2013.

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Jonathan Fairfield | Website

Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

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