If you are a fan of watches that light up the night, you have plenty of options. There are the heavily-lumed watches to go for (such as the Seiko Monster), or you can go in a different direction, with watches that rely on tritium tubes for their illumination. One of the brands we have featured in the past with these tubes is British company Nite Watches. Until now, all of their watches have featured quartz movements. That changes with the launch of the Nite Icon Automatic.
No surprises, no spoiler alert – the Nite Icon Automatic features an automatic movement. In this case, it is the Sellita SW200-1 movement. The SW200-1 is a capable movement, and one that should be rather reliable within the new watch. That, by and large, is the main difference when compared to the Nite Icon T100 (as reviewed here). The other changes would be the text on the dial, the crystal topping the 44mm stainless steel case (it’s now sapphire, rather than mineral), and the exhibition caseback. I think it is a safe bet to assume the weight of the watch will be up as well, given that quartz movements tend to be lighter than their mechanical counterparts (UPDATE: the watch weighs 195g).
This means that, for the Nite Icon Automatic, my views from the Nite Icon T100 review stand – it’s a solid casual watch, and the flat tubes are definitely what you want to go for in a tritium watch, if you have the option. This means you are basically left with a decision – is the move to a Swiss automatic movement enough to justify the price jump? The Nite Icon Automatic comes in at $870 (or $960 on the bracelet), which is around a doubling of the price (plus or minus, depending on the strap). On the surface of it, that is a fairly hefty jump. If you widen your net to compare it not just to it’s quartz brother, but also other Swiss movement driven tritium watches (which is a smaller pool), then the Nite Icon Automatic seems more reasonable.
For example, if you were to get into one of my other favorite tritium brands, Ball, you would be looking at something over double of what the Nite Icon Automatic is going for. This is not to say that the two brands watches are equivalent (aside from the tritium tubes, there are significant differences in terms of engineering and styling), but to point out that the pricing is perhaps not as unrealistic as you might initially think. Then again, it’s not my job to defend the price. Frankly, I am a little surprised they started off as high as they did, as the comparison to the T100 is inevitable. It would have been nice (for the consumer) to see the pre-order period gaining a discount of some sort, but that is not the case.
Speaking of, the pre-order period for the Nite Icon Automatic is open now, with delivery anticipated for early November 2015. While I obviously have not compared them side-by-side, the observations I had for the Nite Icon T100 should apply just as well to the Nite Icon Automatic – a great everyday sort of a watch that gives you tritium tubes without going into the world of tacti-cool. Since this is the brand’s initial foray into an automatic, I am curious as to what our readers think, so please do sound off in the comments. Inquiring minds want to know! nitewatches.com
- Brand & Model: Nite Icon Automatic
- Price: $870 – $960
- Who we think it might be for: This is for the fellow who wants the brightness of a tritium watch, but would prefer a more traditional look to the dial along with a Swiss automatic movement
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Possibly. At this price point, however, I would have to think long and hard if I’d jump, or save up some more
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The flat tritium tubes, and that the brand is spreading into mechanical movements
- Movement: Sellita SW200-1
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal on front and back
- Illumination: Swiss made GTLS by mb-microtec
- Case diameter: 44mm
- Strap options: Stainless steel bracelet or black leather