One of the hottest drops from this year’s Baselworld is the Armand Nicolet’s JS9 watch – the company’s newest summer release. This stylish diver is now available in several stunning color variations and will make a nice addition to your beach attire – at an affordable price for a luxury timepiece.
The Mechanical Masters
Based in the small Swiss town of Tramelan, Armand Nicolet has been watchmaking since 1875 and has endured some challenging years, including the 70’s quartz crisis which has reshuffled the watch market from the ground up.
This was partly because of the brand’s famous specialization in the T1 process of producing complicated mechanical movements. During its peak years, Armand Nicolet was rolling Venus Chronographs, the Complete Calendars, and many other prestigious calibers off its production line, selling the same to some of the most-esteemed Swiss brands.
Today, we’re having a look at their new JS9 collection, more specifically at the model that’s bringing black back into fashion. Although there are other very attractive color schemes in this collection (the navy-blue model comes to mind), the black dial, stainless-steel timepiece we’re examining today seems to do it for me.
The JS9 is a very handsome timepiece. It is finished in a classic diver style yet it has some bold, offbeat characteristics going on. The indices on its dial, for example, are split in half for an eccentric twist and along with the hands feature an extra-thick design with substantial SuperLuminova paint for an added legibility you’ll appreciate in the underwater darkness.
The ceramic bezel is a work of art, too. It boosts the overall case diameter to 44mm but you won’t mind one single bit of it. It sports a lovely conic flow to it and gives the watch its reflective shine. You’ll also hear a satisfying rotating sound when trying to time your underwater performance, indicating the attention to detail Armand Nicolet has given to their ratcheting process.
I’ve somehow always felt diving watches are either tool divers or stylish divers. The first would be professional, extreme-diving pieces which have a case that won’t leak even if you find yourself at the bottom of Mariana Trench.
Unfortunately, for technical reasons, such pieces tend to stick out from your wrist so far you don’t even have to look down to tell the time. The JS9 belongs to the stylish divers category – with the water resistance of up to 300m, you can take it scuba diving but can also wear it at your more formal, ashore occasions.
Surprisingly Thin Case
From its sapphire crystal glass to the case back, JS9 measures only 13mm. The model that we have here today is the stainless steel version, the JS9 also comes in a DLC black variation.
The case is very thin but does not lack in details, as you can see by the machine grooved bezel. The thinness of the case allows this watch to be worn in a multitude of situations, whether for casual wear, business casual and even in the water.
The superb lume, ceramic bezel, and sapphire crystal glass prove Armand Nicolet spared no expense on material usage. The watch is also built from high-grade 316L stainless steel with good corrosion resistance and sports a generously-large, screw-down crown.
Metal or Rubber Strap
The strap actually comes in two variations; a stainless-steel bracelet and a rubber strap ideal for those planning to wear the watch mostly under water.
Both look great; the stainless-steel bracelet includes a beautiful folding clasp with an engraved AN logo, while the rubber version has been decorated near the lug with a tapisserie motif.
Now, you would expect the JS9’s movement to seal the deal but it’s actually somewhat of a low point, mostly due to the rather poor power reserve. While the market average revolves around 48 hours, the Calibre AN2846-9 inside our stunning diver only boasts 36 hours. To make matters worse, the mechanism ticks at below-average 21600 vibrations per hour, meaning it should theoretically last a lot longer.
With that being said, the AN2846-9 is still an interesting movement. It has been produced in-house by the manufacturer which has built its success on exactly that field of craftsmanship. Based on a 2846 ETA movement and graced by 21 jewels, you can look at it as a solid workhouse movement that needs a commonplace push.
All in all, the JS9 will, in my opinion, accompany many watch-lovers on their holidays in the upcoming years. Because, even though it retails for well over $1000, the watch simply is worth your buck. It’s built from the highest-grade material into a stunning timepiece and a great diving watch.
The mechanism may be a slow beater but is still a reliable trooper. Time will tell how popular the watch will become but I’d take action early and get it while its price hasn’t surged.
To have a look at the entire Armand Nicolet collection visit their official website here.