Nivram (Marvin) 1930s Tuxedo Calatrava
I have never more lamented my Neanderthal wrist proportion more than just Monday. Let me explain. One of the great joys in this small project are the watches you all send in. Over the weekend, reader @brendano11 threw this in my inbox and my, was I disappointed. Disappointed only that I could not purchase it for my own wear. For some more svelte among us, this is a seriously gorgeous bit of 1930s design. Also, I’d like to formally apologies to John Reardon for just bastardizing the word Calatrava but I feel the model is approaching full category-defining colloquialism in modern times.
Interestingly, in my cursory researching, no one seems to know just why Marvin produced watches with their name read backwards at the start of WWI. It could have been used as a work-around for legal disputes such a Racine’s Enicar. One other has suggested it was made to be read in the mirror of aviators. That seems unlikely to me, but what do I know. This could be a telling thread for someone with more time than myself right now to pull.
What is known is that this is an incredible dial. A near-sector with white inside and black chapter known as a tuxedo; it has a railroad petite seconds, non-magnetic signature, and elongated roman numerals. The case is steel and 33mm with a strong hooded lug, a perfect size for many. The calibre 540 incorporates light at-balance shock resistance, magnetic resistance, and a neat star signature on the gear train. It is in a spacer, unfortunately. Best of all: an extremely delicate blued steel handset, matched in the petite sub-seconds.
For a 1930s manufacture, this watch is in insane condition. There’s still some brushing visible on the case and lug flanks. Movement appears un-corroded. That magnificent dial is only lightly showing signs of its age, with mild discoloration around the signature (but only slight). For the right type of collector, this is an attractive and non-repeatable proposition. It comes from a small Japanese retailer with a really thoughtfully specific inventory.
Find this Nivram Tuxedo Calatrava here from Advintage Japan for ~1500 USD.