Armand Nicolet -a Swiss watchmaking brand that was established more than a hundred years ago, succumbed to the Quartz Crisis back in 1970, and, reborn under a new management, found a profitable niche in making luxury timekeepers powered by NOS (also referred to as “new old stock”) mechanical calibers- has officially presented its new range of watches built with modified historic movements inside. The Armand Nicolet L09 in rose gold and DLC titanium (Ref. S619N-BU-G9610) is one of the new trio of sporty timekeepers that successfully combine their modern exteriors with deliberately archaic mechanisms.
The movement in question is the caliber AN0711A. According to the company’s press release, it is based on the Unitas UT 600 movement that was made in 1957 and, till now, awaited its fate in the Swiss company’s warehouse. Although in most cases mass-produced movements are renamed for marketing purposes only (many watchmakers believe that putting your name on a good old old ETA blank movement automatically increases the timekeeper’s selling price by at least twenty percent,) here the Swiss-based brand had every right to do so if you count in hundreds of hours of skilled labor invested into making each caliber.
Armand Nicolet’s watchmakers took the movement apart, decorated it with Cotes de Geneve stripes and beveled bridges and the three-quarter plate, plated it with rhodium for an even more premium look and even gold-plated all the necessary inscriptions, as well as decorated the gears with sunburst finish. Did I forget to mention that all visible screw heads were blued and polished? Well, they were.
To upgrade the mechanism to the brand’s higher quality standards, Armand Nicolet also decided to add a swan neck regulator, as well as modern Incabloc shock absorption system, and some other modifications added in order to make the movement more up to date. Then, it was adjusted in five positions: not something terribly exclusive, but still nice to have when you are dealing with such an ancient slow-beating caliber as the UT 600.
Although in their press release Armand Nicolet calls the movement “self-winding,” I am positively sure that this is a hand-wound job and someone at their PR department will pay dearly for the mistake. Or perhaps won’t.
As you can see on the photos, the movement is placed inside a rather bulky, robust-looking case. Measuring 44 millimeters in diameter, many potential customers may find it too large for their wrists. Luckily, the lugs are short, so, at least in terms of length to wrist’s width ratio, there won’t be any problem.
Made of black DLC-treated titanium and adorned with a rose gold bezel, the case must be both very light, as well as resistant to occasional scratches.
The DLC treatment (which stands for Diamond-Like Carbon) provides the scratch-prone titanium with a very thin layer of carbon, which is almost as hard as a real diamond.
The only thing that may get damaged here is the bezel, which is crafted from 18-karat rose gold.
The open-worked blue dial provides a nice view of the discreetly decorated movement.
When ready to ship, it will be limited to only 450 pieces.
See also: Ball Watch Storm Chaser DLC Glow
Photos: Armand Nicolet
Armand Nicolet L09 in Rose Gold and DLC Titanium (Ref. S619N-BU-G9610) specification
Price: 9200 CHF (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber AN0711A, based on Unitas UT 600, 18 jewels, 127 parts, 18,000 vph, 31.5 mm x 3.95 mm, modified in-house, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve on the bridges and mainplate
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case material: Titanium, black DLC
Bezel material: Rose gold
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 14.00 mm
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with DLC black titanium buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides