The sporty Armand Nicolet SL5 (Ref. 9613C-AG-G9615B) features 33 nicely-cut diamonds and, for a change, sports an automatic movement: a combination, which is not so common in the world of jewelry timepieces for women.
Although the SL5 line comprises whole five versions (with three of them sporting sexy black DLC-treated cases,) the most pleasant for the eye in this new collection is the model with the reference number 9613C-AG-G9615B.
Coming in a plain stainless steel body, it features a winning combination of steel, rubber, and diamonds. Just what a contemporary energetic lady wants from a sporty watch.
The timekeeper has 23 diamonds on its bezel and a set of 10 diamonds on the guilloched dial that serve as hour markers.
The bezel, as well as the oversized winding crown, is protected from occasional bumps with white (or rather light-beige rubber.)
The wide hour and minute hands are covered with some Superluminova, which makes the watch more usable in total darkness. The feature may come in handy if a blackout strikes and you find yourself stuck in an elevator with a total stranger.
According to the corporate press release, the watch is powered by the caliber AN 2846-10 automatic movement. There are no details given as to the movement characteristics, but I guess that this is a modified (or, more probably, a re-decorated, if even that since the mechanism will be hidden from your eyes with a solid case back cover with a stylized fish engraved on it) version of the ETA 2846 self-winding caliber.
The mechanism is a decent workhorse caliber that, even though hopelessly archaic, is still being used by some brands thanks to its good accuracy, sturdiness, and an adequate power reserve of 48 hours that, unfortunately, comes courtesy of a relatively slow frequency of 21,600 vph, not an especially long mainspring. As a result, you get a central seconds hand that doesn’t move as smoothly as that on a more modern mechanism working at 28,800 vph.
On the other hand, the slower cadence of balance is usually a good thing when it comes to “vintage” mass-produced calibers: being a bit, um, cruder than modern mechanisms, they are also harder to fine-tune, and the slower the balance wheel oscillates, the fewer errors will be multiplied by the next time you decide to correct time on your timekeeper.
Also, there is not as much stress on moving parts, which means that the mechanism will probably last longer and you won’t have to service it as often, which is a plus for a person more obsessed about how their timekeeper looks, not how it works.
The SL5 was unveiled during the Baselworld 2011 trade show and will go on sale later this year at a price of €4000 (approximately $5200 USD at the time of writing this review article.)
Photos: Armand Nicolet / eBay.com
Armand Nicolet SL5 (Ref. 9613C-AG-G9615B) specification
Price: €4000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber AN 2846-10 (base ETA 2846,) Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, seconds
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel: Stainless steel and rubber
Size: 34.50 mm
Case height: 11.50 mm
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: White rubber band with a stainless steel deployment buckle
Back: Solid, engraved