There is nothing as hype these days as the 1970s steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet. To make it short, they are all around and in all price ranges. The style is so popular that even high-end indie watchmakers and micro-brands are jumping on the bandwagon. Can we blame them? Surely not, as it’s just an answer to what the market wants. Looking at the accessible segment, not many watches are true solid offerings, specifically with Swiss movements – indeed, the Tissot PRX collection is basically your go-to option. Except that it now has a new competitor, it comes from Nivada Grenchen, and it’s named the F77 Automatic.
As with most of the previous releases of Nivada, this new watch doesn’t come out of the blue. It is actually reviving a vintage watch that was produced in 1977, with all the codes that you can expect from a watch designed after the shockwave that was the Royal Oak. The original model, which you can see below, certainly had some references to existing watches – an octagonal bezel with screws – and was completely in line with the codes of its era. Sharp case, facets all around, raised bezel, textured dial, integrated bracelet and all-steel construction. No question here, it’s part of the countless watches that followed the RO.
Back to 2023. Guillaume Laidet, the man behind the recreation of Nivada (and more brands) with a certain flair for trends, has decided that it was time for the brand to embrace the vibe of the 1970s steel sports watch. And since there was already a watch that played exactly on this trend, the task was simply to modernize the overall concept.
The new Nivada F77 Automatic remains faithful to the original version, with some adjustments to contemporary standards, and some decisions that were sourced from the brand’s own community – what’s better than to get your fanbase’s approval in advance? What remains is the overall design, with a 37mm diameter, a relatively thick case of 12.6mm and, for the best or the worst, an octagonal bezel with 8 screws that certainly feels very familiar. Even though the original model featured the same element, it remains a design feature highly linked to a certain RO watch. Anyway. The rest is a sharply designed case with facets, alternating brushed and polished surfaces, a domed sapphire crystal on top, a screwed steel back and a screw-down crown for a comfortable WR of 100m.
Moving to the dial of the Nivada F77 Automatic, then again we can see a recreation of the past design, with a black or blue colour, and a basket weave pattern – again, the resemblance with the Czapek Antarctique will be mentioned, even though the 1977 watch already featured it. This textured dial is complemented by typical 1970s baton hands and markers, with luminous inserts. The logos of the brand and the model are raised on the dial – nice touch – and Nivada will let you the choice of having or not a date window at 3 o’clock. The brand mentions that a smoked brown tobacco dial will also be launched later this year.
An important element of such watches, the Nivada F77 Automatic comes on its own integrated steel bracelet, with lines that follow that of the sides of the case. The integration with the case and the way the connection is made isn’t as smooth as some other pieces in the category, but then again it respects the original design. This 3-link steel bracelet is closed by a folding clasp and is entirely brushed. It doesn’t feature a quick-release system, yet it has classic spring bars on the back so it could be removed quite easily.
Underneath the solid steel back is a classic Swiss automatic movement, the calibre Soprod P024 – a clone of the ETA 2824 produced by a long-established Swiss movement maker. This self-winding engine runs at 4Hz and stores 38h of power reserve when fully wound. Classic, precise enough and easy to service.
One of the key elements of this new Nivada F77 Automatic is its price, just below 1.1k euros. There aren’t many models in this range. The PRX Powermatic 80 comes at a slightly more accessible price, while the next Swiss-powered models we can think of, the Frederique Constant Highlife COSC and Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic, are closer to the 2k euros mark. In this respect, the F77 is rather well-positioned.
It will be available for pre-order as of April 7, 2023, exclusively at nivadagrenchenofficial.com, at a price of EUR 1,089, USD 1,150 or CHF 1,078, and not as a limited edition.
Technical specifications – Nivada F77 Automatic
Case: 37mm diameter x 12.6mm height – stainless steel case, satin-brushed and polished – raised octagonal bezel with studs – domed sapphire crystal – screwed caseback – screw-down crown – 100m water-resistant
Dial: basket weave dial pattern, in blue or black – with or without date at 3 – applied baton markers and hands, with SLN
Movement: Soprod P024 (ETA 2824 alternative) – automatic – 25 jewels – 25.60mm – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 38h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, optional date
Bracelet: 3-link integrated steel bracelet with folding clasp
Availability: Pre-orders start on April 7th, exclusively at nivadagrenchenofficial.com
Price: EUR 1,089