A Watch That Accompanied an Antarctic Expedition Is Back and Ready for Your Wrist

Nivada Grenchen is bringing back the Antarctic, an automatic watch that accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on very, very cold trip.


Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) has moved online and Baselworld 2020 is canceled, but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. Stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases here.

Quite a few pre-Quartz Crisis watch brands are being brought back from the dead recently, Nivada Grenchen among them. Recently we reported on their Chronomaster, a reissue of a vintage chronograph produced by the brand in the 1960s and ’70s. Geared toward professionals, the Chronomaster (Aviator Sea Diver) is being given a new lease on life for just shy of $2,000.

But the more notable watch from Nivada — at least historically — is the Antarctic. This is the timepiece that accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd’s U.S. naval expedition to the Antarctic in 1955. Following the expedition, Bird wrote to the company and said of the watches: “They were subjected to prolonged immersion, extreme altitude and high-magnetism. They were dropped and knocked against ice. They were never wound. Through all these tests, [the watches] kept perfect time.” (Check out this great primer on the original watch from our friends at Worn & Wound here.)


Though upgraded to a more modern 38mm, the new Antarctic very much retains the look and feel of the original, with a stainless steel case, automatic movement (this time in the form of the Sellita SW-200), applied indices and dauphine hands. Now, however, the watch is available with an optional date window as well as in four possible dial colors (champagne; white; black; grey) and with four leather straps options (or a beads of rice bracelet). Each version is water-resistant to 200m and features a commemorative case back, sapphire crystal and a 20mm lug width.

The Antarctic on leather will run you ~$701, while the beads of rice bracelet brings the price up to $917. While it’s nice to see an available beads of rice option (more and more brands have been bringing them back lately, whereas aftermarket versions used to be difficult to come by in the U.S.), we’re not positive it deserves a $200+ premium. However, it does quite a bit to complete the decidedly ’50s look of the watch.

If you’re interested in an Antarctic, sign up for the brand’s newsletter — you should be able to pre-order the watch by the end of June.

Learn More: Here

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