Watches of Knightsbridge, London, June 24 2017
Sold for £6,696
Even those with no more than a passing interest in the vintage watch scene will be aware that rising prices and burgeoning interest in the subject have lead to a dramatic increase in the value – or perceived value, at least – of many dial names that had largely faded into obscurity. Around five years ago, for example, £1,000 – 1,500 would probably have bought you the Nivada watch of your choice, and it would probably have been in fine condition, too. But now – as this sale demonstrates – an ‘interesting’ Nivada is going to set you back at least five times as much.
The firm was founded in Grenchen in 1926 and established itself as a maker of affordable sports watches, emerging in the 1950s and ‘60s as an alternative to brands such as Heuer with models such as the ‘Alertamatic’ alarm watch, the ‘Depthomatic’ dive model and the Chronoking for drivers. In 1958, it also made a watch called the Antarctic which, like Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Geophysic, celebrated the ‘International Geophysical Year’ scientific project. This 1970 Nivada – ambiguously called the ‘Aviator Sea Diver’ – featured a dial made by Singer, which is better known for the so-called ‘Paul Newman’ exotic dials found on the most collectable Cosmograph Daytonas. Indeed, Watches of Knightsbridge described the dial of this watch as a ‘Paul Newman’ because the typeface and design of the chronograph counters is the same as that of the decidedly more celebrated Rolex.
It’s unlikely that any Nivada will ever be worth true ‘PN’ money, however – but, in this market, who knows?