Armand Nicolet is like a newly found gem for watch enthusiasts in the rough of the Swiss Watch industry, their new 2018 release of the JS9 series intrigued me and I managed to my hands on this watch to give it some fair justice in the busy world of wrist watches. And If you are anything like me, I’m as curious as a cat when it comes to new automatic Swiss made divers.
A Brief History Of Armand Nicolet
Son of a watchmaker, Armand Nicolet got his early introduction into the art of watchmaking and would embark on creating his own brand of pocket watches, starting in 1875 in Tramelan, Switzerland.
Known for his incredible grand complications which include full calendars, enamel dial, and a mono-pusher chronograph which are highly regarded. His iconic pieces can still be found at Nicolet SA’s museum where his work can be appreciated by watch enthusiasts worldwide.
After Armand Nicolet’s passing in 1939, his son Willy picked up his father’s passion and followed in his footsteps and would carry the torch to create one of the largest watchmaking facilities in all of the region specializing in the assembly and producing finished movements.
Despite the era that of the Quartz crisis of the 1970’s that would gobble up many Swiss watchmakers, Armand Nicolet managed to survive the dark times of Swiss watchmaking by working alongside other important brands which would solidify a massive victory for its place in horology.
The Armand Nicolet brand would that take a new direction in watchmaking after Willy met Italian Entrepreneur and watch enthusiast Roland Braga to bring us what we know today of their latest collections. (Additional Source)
So join me on this journey and discover Armand Nicolet JS9 Automatic steel diver and why you may want to add it into your watch collection even if you are a beginner or seasoned watch enthusiast.
Going into the JS9 you won’t find that much about it, there are some great reviews and images online. However, if you are a looking for another viewpoint on the JS9 then you have come to the right place.
I was torn between their rose gold steel variant and plain black version, however, after much back and forth I decided on the black for its simplicity and its functional purpose to complement both business and casual occasions.
Modal number A480AGN-NR-GG4710N, it’s a hard one to remember off the top of the head, so when you go to visit your authorized dealer you may want to be sure to write it down or print it out on a piece of paper. Either way, the JS9 model I chose comes in the black bezel, black dial, and black rubber strap.
On that note, the product images on Armand Nicolet website don’t seem to do the watch much justice. That said, it was an incredible treat to unbox it and see and feel it in the flesh, which was nothing less than an amazing first impression.
Delivery & Unboxing Experience
The shipping was lightning fast, it reached my doorstep in 24 hours after placing my order.
I received the watch in a shoebox-sized box, the package was bigger than I expected. As a watch collector who is privy to the size of Rolex packages. This was a grand unboxing experience to compare it with, especially it being a mere fraction of the cost of many other luxury traditional steel divers.
I was met with Amand Nicolet’s watch case, it comes presented in an elegantly styled rosewood varnished wooden case with padded faux gun metal grey leather on the top where you’ll find the Armand Nicolet branding eloquently printed and finished with a white stitch outlining.
Upon inspecting the box you may catch yourself in the reflection of the varnished wood as I did. Come to the front of the box, you’re greeted with a beautiful Armand Nicolet emblem. The box opens smoothly to touch and you are presented with a cream white faux leather interior.
The watch wasn’t inside the case, instead, it was vacuumed sealed in its own box along with the manual and the warranty card. I think was a good shipping decision to avoid it being touched by customs inspectors.
Upon unwrapping the watch from its vacuumed sealed wrapping It included the AD modal tag attached to the buckle. Now we come to the first impressions
Coming in at 44mm in size and 13mm thick, it is a slimmer and sleeker fit for a guy with a small wrist size.
At first glance, you’re hit with black shine of the ceramic bezel followed by the beauty of the brushed stainless steel case featuring an outer trajectory styled crown protector that leads to the sporty Audemars Piguet styled rubber covered crown, topped off with a beautifully detailed Armand Nicolet engraved emblem that we see on the box.
My attention was taken aback by the sword styled minute and hour hands, with an arrow sweeping second hand leading the way over the beveled time indicators that work in tandem to complement the numbered rotating black bezel.
The date window at the 3 o’clock position is easily legible in combination with the stylish black dial and time indicators. It makes a blind bat like me tell the time even with my glasses off.
Flipping over to the back of the watch you are greeted with a highly detailed solid case back with an exquisite fish artwork swimming clockwise. The watches specs and branding tastefully placed on the outer circle of the case back and finished off with a layered and complicated engraved outer edgings.
The rubber diver strap is comfortable and a great fit for someone with small wrists, however, the bracelet is something I would like to make a comparison too in a later update. The rubber strap is finished with a quality deployment bucket.
The watch wouldn’t be completed without the screw down Date Calibre AN2846-9 Swiss movement inside which makes the JS9 come to life. The Day Date AN2846-9 is considered to be an older styled 3hz movement (rather than the more modern 4Hz movements that are now widely used). The use of an older movement could be explained to the stockpile of unused movements from back from the Quartz crisis days.
As previously mentioned, the movement can be configured for both Day and Date function which is seen with their J09 modal. With JS9 we only see the day and I personally prefer it based on the sentiment that “less is more” with the JS9 diver.
Movement: Caliber Date AN2846-9
Mechanism: Screw down crown
Power Reserve: 48 hours
Water Resistance: 30 ATM
I have a small wrist and the Armand Nicolet diver is one of their brand new diver lines the delivers to the slim and sleek looking design, reminiscent to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but with less of that submariner thickness. I would love to see glass case back for this watch to get peek into the movement, but that’s just personal preference.
- Easy to read dial with lume dial indicators and minute and hour hands
- Goes with most outfits and occasions
- Easy setup with 3 way screw down crown
- Looking at the dial from the side color of the dial changes into deep blue color which is a nice touch to this watch.
- The rotating bezel feels a little loose which is the only weak link on this watch. However its not a deal breaker considering its price point.
What My Wife Thinks
My wife is a fashion designer and just likes to give her opinion about my watches from a completely non-educated non-watch enthusiasts standpoint. By just looking at the watch she said it looks nice has given me the seal of approval that it was a nice pick on my end.
Coming in at 1600 Swiss francs, many may think that this is an expensive diver to invest in Some have mentioned that the absence of the story of how the JS9 diver came into fruition may come as a turnoff to some. However, I would turn your sights on Armand Nicolet’s heritage in horology history that goes back into 1875. History aside, I think that the price of the JS9 is justified based on the quality you are getting for a Swiss made a watch.
I’m personally really happy with the JS9, it wears easy and goes with all outfit choices, be it sporty, casual or professional. If you are a watch enthusiast who is in search of an affordable and high quality automatic Swiss made diver that has a rich history and heritage in horology and beating the adversity of the Quartz crisis. I would highly recommend taking a closer look into the Armand Nicolet line of watches. You won’t be disappointed.
Get your own from their website here or an authorized dealer near you.