Armand Nicolet J09 Chronograph
The Armand Nicolet J09 Chronograph is available in a broad array of variants. Angus Davies gets hands-on with a DLC version of the watch for a few days evaluation.
This detailed review of the Armand Nicolet J09 Chronograph includes live images, specification details and pricing.
A few weeks ago, I attended Baselworld 2017 and chose to visit the Armand Nicolet exhibition stand. To my shame, despite the brand being able to trace its origins 1875, I knew little about its products. Eager to remedy this situation, I spent some time learning more about its history and products.
The company offers two families of watches, ‘Contemporary’ and ‘O.H.M’. The latter family, ‘Original Historical Movements’, involves working with existing vintage movements and enhancing them with in-house decoration and, in some instances, making improvements to the original specification.
Conversely, the ‘Contemporary’ family of models utilise modern movements and it was one of these ‘contemporary’ models which I chose to wear for a few days evaluation. Namely, the J09 Chronograph which had caught my eye at Baselworld with its distinctive dial design and attractive DLC case.
Armand Nicolet certainly believe in the concept of choice, offering the J09 Chronograph in a myriad of dial, case and strap options. My press loan was supplied with a black dial featuring blue hands and indexes, together with a black DLC case and rubber strap.
The captivating lavender blue hands and indexes exude a notable air of style and uniqueness. The hands feature an unusual U-shaped tip which is matched by a similar U-shaped edge on the indexes. All indexes are of the baton-type variety, except for noon which features Arabic numerals in a modern font.
The central chronograph seconds hand is black and its tip is, once again, blue. At 3 o’clock, a subdial displays the running seconds and features a blue hand and blue circlet delineating it from the remainder of the dial. Positioned opposite the small seconds dial is a 45 minute chronograph register. The style of this hand is different from the aforementioned small seconds hand in that it is openworked with a blue tip.
A beautiful aspect of the dial is the ‘guilloché’ motif, consisting of parallel lines spanning the dial from east to west. This motif provides a wonderful contrast with the smooth hour track, augmenting eye-appeal.
While I adore the lavender blue detail on the dial, I did sometimes find it difficult to read the time in dim light conditions and, for this reason, it may be worth considering versions with silver numerals which I suspect may prove easier to read.
The 41mm case is formed of DLC and stainless steel. The space between the horns is 24mm making the watch appear larger than it actually is. Conversely, the height of the case measures 15mm, but feels much slimmer when worn. Overall the timepiece exhibits a very neat appearance.
The crown and the pushpieces are integrated tidily within the caseband. The angled pushpieces nuzzle the crown protectors, assuming a stealthy presence and according the right hand side of the watch with a near-symmetrical facsimile of the left hand flank of the case.
Smoothness is a reoccurring theme with this watch. The case is matt and feels silky to touch. It is a high quality item and feels very impressive. The bezel, once again, is very smooth, but in this instance is presented in a high-gloss finish. There is no evidence of sharpness anywhere on the case and the watch grants high levels of wearer comfort.
The press loan was supplied on a rubber strap with a DLC deployant. Alternative versions are available with DLC bracelet or leather strap.
The movement, Calibre AN 2045 / 2872, is visible via an exhibition caseback. The oscillating mass is adorned with a combination of Côtes de Genève and spiral shaped motifs. Furthermore, the brand’s nomen is proclaimed on a brass coloured cartouche affixed to the rotor.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 47 jewels.
Where the watch reveals its smoothness is in terms of the operation of the push-pieces. Indeed, pressing the push-pieces reveals a buttery-smooth action. Furthermore, when zeroing the chronograph seconds hand it returns to noon without the merest hint of wobble.
The Armand Nicolet J09 is a handsome timepiece. Its dimensions are deceptive, appearing wider than it actually is whilst seeming slimmer than reality. The dimensions accord a comfortable union with the wrist and the smooth finish of the case bestows excellent wearer comfort.The case is of high quality, with a glossy lustre to the bezel which I found most becoming.
Beyond the notable smoothness of the case is the silky operation of the chronograph push-pieces which proved very impressive. This timepiece is certainly a smooth operator.
- Model: Armand Nicolet J09 Chronograph
- Case: black DLC & steel; diameter 41mm; height 15mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph.
- Movement: Calibre AN 2045/2872, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 47 jewels.
- Strap: Rubber strap, presented on a black DLC deployant.
- Price: CHF 4,600 (RRP as at 8.5.2017)