I’ve started to appreciate meca-quartz movements. These movements have seconds hands that sweep instead of “tick” which makes them, in my mind, a nice compromise between mechanical and quartz. That’s why I was excited to see this new Chronoking from Nivada.
Nivada is a small manufacturer with solid provenance. Originally built in 1963, their Chronoking was a popular alternative to Speedmasters and the like and this model, with Seiko VK64A, brings us a bit of that classic flavor without the price.
From the release:
The meca-quartz movement is back! Following the success of the Datomaster meca-quartz in 2022, the baton is being passed on to the Chronoking, which distinguishes itself from the Chronomaster by its date window at the unusual 12 o’clock position and its two grey subdials in relief. As with all the watches Nivada Grenchen releases these days, the Chronoking is the re-edition of a legend. Here, Super-LumiNova® takes over from tritium for the dial markers, its trademark glow accentuated as the red central second of the chronometer module smoothly sweep around the dial. The black aluminum bezel with its large distinctive numerals adds personality to functionality. The 38mm stainless steel case, naturally with a screw-in case back, combines go-ahead robustness with avant-garde elegance.
But there’s more… And what could that possibly be? “A battery-powered watch with a ‘mechanical’ feel!», answers Guillaume Laidet, CEO of Nivada Grenchen. Indeed, inside the new Nivada Chronoking beats the VK64A movement by Seiko. Besides three years of power reserve, it offers the magnificent spectacle of a chronograph hand that glides and sweeps smoothly across the dial, with that mesmerizing quality of a mechanical watch. The principle of a meca-quartz movement – also called a hybrid movement – is to combine the precision of quartz with the beauty of traditional watchmaking by integrating a mechanical chronograph module. The quartz part assures flawless accuracy for time indications and the mechanical module allows for stopwatch functions with the crispness and performance of a mechanical chronograph.
As you can see, the piece has a timing bezel and tachymeter. It’s also got a 24-hour dial at 3 o’clock. The VK64A has certain limitations in layout and size and features “Central hours; central minutes; central chronograph seconds; 1/5 seconds; 60 minute counter at 9:00; 24 hour indicator at 3:00; date at 6:00.” Nivada appears to have removed the date window in a nod to the original.
So you basically get a nice chrono that works like a mechanical, runs on a battery, and looks great. The best part? The watch only costs $479.00. Even at 38mm, that’s a great price for a solid piece.
The watch ships on March 15 and you can pre-order now.