Nivada Grenchen F77
The original Nivada Grenchen F77 was released in 1977. Now, 46 years later, the resurrected Nivada has re-issued the F77, staying pretty close to the original in design, but using modern manufacturing and materials. Heavily inspired by the Genta-Design Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, released just 5 years earlier in 1972, Nivada wasn’t shy about copying it. And now here in 2023, with so many jumping on the Genta design bandwagon, it’s only appropriate that Nivada pull from their back catalog and bring this piece to a present-day audience. Available currently in three colorways, blue, black, and a smoked brown, this 37mm vintage-styled piece is available with a date or no-date dial basketweave dial, integrated bracelet, an automatic movement from Soprod, and a price tag of $1,260.
- Nivada Grenchen F77
- 37mm Stainless Steel Case
- 45mm Lug to Lug
- 12.6mm Thick
- 122 Grams
- Domed Box Sapphire
- Soprod P024 Automatic Movement
- 100m Water Resistant
- Screw Down Crown
- 22mm/16mm/18mm Bracelet
- Swiss Made
Nivada Grenchen is all about vintage and re-creating past models, and for the most part, they like to stay true to vintage sizing as well, which has some watch enthusiasts yearning for larger models from this resurrected brand. Yes, this F77 is 37mm, as was the original, and with a lug-to-lug of only 45mm, this watch is small. Now I wanted to type that this piece is not for the large-wristed fellows out there, but the reality is, that many people do in fact like to wear these vintage-sized watches, large and small wrists alike. Some have posted on Watch Report social media that they would like to see Nivada offer two sizes, and while that would be great, this 37mm is what we have right now. So how does it wear on a 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrist?
Well, not that bad really. While it is small for me, I do find this one more wearable than the DepthMaster, and I could wear this on an occasional basis, but this Nivada Grenchen F77 probably wouldn’t make it into the weekly rotation. There’s a good amount of bracelet showing on the top of my wrist, and the dial does feel small to me. It does fit me perfectly though, as I only needed to take one link out of this integrated bracelet-more on that in a bit.
There’s a lot more to this Nivada Grenchen F77 than its compact size though, and even though this piece is under 40mm, good things do come in small packages. Keeping a very similar aesthetic to its vintage brother, Nivada didn’t change as much as one would think. The case design, bezel screws, and stencil cutout end links are all still here, but everything has been upgraded. It’s now solid 316L steel, a double-domed sapphire crystal instead of plexiglass, end links and bracelet links are solid instead of folded, and of course we have a modern movement as well, the Fesitina owned, Soprod P024, essentially an ETA 2824 clone.
But the highlight of this F77 is undoubtedly this gorgeous basketweave dial. From every angle, in every type of lighting, this dial is just absolutely fantastic. Not only does it look like someone painstakingly sat and weaved threads together to create this look, but when you get up close, everything is just so seamless. The chrome indices are applied and have some depth to them, and feel like they start well below the dial. The Logo and the F77 logo are applied as well, no printed markers or text to be had here. And yes, if you are wondering, it is a true no-date dial, as they did a date delete on the movement. That means no two-position crown either.
Speaking of the crown, the Nivada Grenchen F77 has something that not a lot of watches such as this have, a screw-down crown. Yes, a lot of integrated sports watches like this, especially microbrand homages, tend to go with 50m of water resistance and a push-pull crown. But Nivada isn’t a microbrand, and this does not sell for microbrand pricing at almost $1,300 either. While the stated specs may say 12.6mm in thickness, this is one of those split cases and as such, the mid-case is pretty thin at barely 5mm in thickness, and the angles and edges give this piece a cool look. While the dial is the showstopper, I also do love the profile of this piece, with the contrast of this thin mid-case and the domed sapphire.
The bracelet may be thin, but rest assured these are solid links, using solid one-piece screws to hold it all together, solid end links attached to the case, and a vintage-looking but modern 7-hole adjustable push button clasp. Yes, this is an integrated bracelet, and if you are someone who likes to change straps often on their watches, this watch is just not for you. Nivada has a lot of other models with removable bracelets and straps, but much like the APRO it homages, you’ll have to go custom if you want to put a strap on this piece.
Oh, and those end links, well they are a bit different aren’t they? This design was on the vintage piece and it has carried over to the new one, but I have to admit, I kinda like it. I have seen some comments saying these end links are horrific. Now it could be I am just not as sophisticated as those watch enthusiasts, but I don’t see the big issue. If anything, I think it allows this F77 to separate itself from others with a similar design.
This bracelet has a pretty severe taper as well, starting at 22mm at the lugs, down to 20mm, and tapering down to 16mm, with an 18mm clasp. It made me think back to a decade ago when my watch friends and I would joke about how we would never wear a watch with a tapered bracelet. Now I am walking around with this piece on my wrist, and enjoying how comfortable a tapering bracelet can be, even if this one is a little more tapered than I would normally wear.
At $1,260, I wouldn’t exactly put the Nivada Grenchen F77 in the affordable category, yet I do see a lot of value in this piece. The look is vintage, and the size is vintage, but everything else is contemporary, and I find it to be a very attractive and well-made piece. The basketweave dial is mesmerizing at times and while the blue is my favorite of the three currently available, I wouldn’t mind seeing some other colors down the line, like an olive or forest green, and this may be out there, but an orange dial would be killer.
Maybe one day there will be some larger versions of these watches, but some want both the vintage style and the vintage size, and Nivada delivers on that. This is the smallest watch I have actually enjoyed wearing in the past few years, and even though I am not the demographic for these sizes, I do love pretty much everything about his F77.
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