Although Nixon is mostly known for its youth-oriented, comparatively inexpensive models, their recently introduced Nixon The Ceramic 42-20 automatic diver is created with a higher price tag in mind.
Equipped with the well-known Sellita SW-200 Swiss-made automatic movement (this is a clone of the ETA 2824-2 caliber and a good one at that,) the Ceramic 42-20 is delivered in a black or white ceramic case, which is further reinforced “with a stainless steel skeleton.” Perhaps, by the word they mean the usual steel cage that houses the movement and provides extra structural rigidity to the whole setup.
Compared to their earlier attempts at making ceramic watches, the new piece looks a lot more interesting. There is something refined about how all parts are nicely adjusted to each other and how well they are formed and polished.
The rotating bezel, as well as the screw-down crown, which is located at a rather unusual position at 9 o’clock, is also made of this virtually scratch-resistant material. Both parts are color-keyed giving the 42-20 an even more expensive look.
At 42 millimeters in diameter, The Ceramic 42-20 is as large as an average diving timekeeper that you will find on the market. It is, however, a bit too thick thanks to its massive unidirectional rotating bezel. On the plus side, I must say that the notched bezel provides a good grip, which may be handy if you plan to operate it with hands protected by neoprene gloves.
On the other hand, some people may find the setting crown somewhat uncomfortable. Also fairly large and long, the way it is placed on the left side of the case makes using it a bit of a pain for us righties.
Talking about the movement once again, I should probably stress that the mechanism is robust, reliable, and is also good at keeping time, although it is probably not as good as a COSC-certified mechanism you would be able to find in this price range (but then you would have to trade the extremely cool ceramic body in favor a more accurate movement hidden in more mundane steel or titanium case), it is still precise enough for a normal person.
Perhaps, my only complaint here is that the mechanism comes in almost stock form: besides the black oscillating weight that seems to feature the usual PVD finish, the caliber looks precisely as any other SW 200 you would find in a lot less expensive timepiece.
Priced at $2000 USD, the time measuring device is also equipped with a sapphire crystal. Alas, its transparent numbered case-back is made of hardened mineral glass.
Still, the new Nixon Ceramic 42-20 is rated for depths of down to 200 meters, which actually makes it one of the nicest-looking affordable diving “tools” that I have seen this year.
While the traditional diving scale on the bezel doesn’t look legible enough, the dial with its large rectangular hour markers, huge and bold Arabic numerals, as well as relatively wide hour and minute hands (all of them are covered with Superluminova that looks very contrast white at broad daylight and glows brightly in darkness) provides good readability in almost every lighting scenario.
Nixon Ceramic 42-20 specification
Price: $2000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Sellita SW200, 26 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Black oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case: Steel and Ceramic
Size: 42.00 mm
Lug width: 20.00 mm
Dial: Black or White
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Custom solid ceramic with individual screw pin links and custom solid stainless steel butterfly buckle
Back: Mineral, hardened