105-66129 Nivada Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver
The Chronomaster is not only handsome, but may perhaps be one of the best examples ever of unrecognized depth within a single reference. Unrecognized not for its merit, but unrecognized in the sheer degree of depth and comparably vast scholarship that surrounds this still-attainable chronograph. Its production spanned differing dials, cases, register counts, and even calibres throughout its run from 1963 until 1978. However, there are few as desirable as this example with its Valjoux 92, broad arrow, tachymetre dial, fully graduated bezel, and red five-minute subdial counter.
By early 60s, The Nivada Croton Chronomaster had made a name for itself. You see, in 1955 a Naval expedition led by Admiral R. Byrd with a six-ship flotilla explored the Antarctic Ross Sea with the aim of establishing a research station. This small crew built a landing strip that allowed survey of the entire continent. On the crew’s surveying, a VX-6 UC-1 Otter crash-landed. That crew slowly had to make their way back to Okuma in the punishing Antarctic. They did so with Nivada Crotons on their wrist, which kept running time perfectly throughout the whole ordeal.
That event solidified Nivada Croton’s name in rugged dependable tool watches. The Chronomaster was produced by Nivada, but those intended for the US market were marked Croton. Croton had previously been a distributor, but then began getting dials manufactured by others with their own insignia. While the pinnacle collector’s watch would probably have to be the Chronomaster with a Valjoux 23 column wheel, this Valjoux 92 is no consolation and a dependable workhorse in its own right. Moreover, it has the broad-arrow handset. That handset. If there were ever a watch with historic merit that rewarded a little effortful research, it is this. An enthusiast’s chronograph in the extreme.
Surprisingly, these are still something of a value as well. This example has a full case, with solid lugs. Its tritium application has aged with UV exposure to a deep even cream. All printing is still undegraded and beautifully clear. Pushers and unsigned crown are correct. By contrast, its case back is (very) hand-engraved with the letters ‘JAM’. Why or what for? No idea. Love a good mystery. It comes the big H shop, who are doing an increasingly great job of providing actual value to their massive base. While I was guilty of avoiding them for some time for bland offerings and stratospheric valuations, they’ve been correcting that well lately. I have not been paid or incentivized in any way to say that. I don’t need to help their sales and I usually feature smaller retailers, but this watch stands on its own merits so firmly I could not resist.
Find this Chronomaster here from the H Shop for 3800 USD.