The competition got bigger – The Nivada F77
Two years ago, I would have said that we reached the end of the road with integrated-bracelet steel sports watches, we have seen great re-issues and original designs (some not so much) for the last 5 years, and apart from IWC missing a new ‘’Ingenieur’’, that was pretty much it. I was wrong! Not only a new version of the classic Gerald Genta IWC came our way, but it also seems that many brands have ramped up the adoption of the trend and now they have an offering of this genre in their catalog. One of the first chronographs I reviewed was the Nivada Chronomaster and I was so surprised by the quality, a faithful revision of the watch with great movement and vintage cues, like every watch enthusiast got ‘’hooked’’ at the spot. The guys at Nivada have a great back catalog, there is no denying that, and they have been doing an amazing job bringing some of those pieces back to life, unlike many other brands, they produce their watches with faithful dimensions as the original ignoring today’s trends. Kudos to Nivada for taking this path. Of course, this method brings issues when you commission cases, hands, and dials, is not a generic exercise of choosing what the supplier has off the shelf, it is more of an in-depth conversation among the lines of: ‘’what can you do for me?’’.
When I saw the F77 being teased over social media I knew I had to review it, I knew that Nivada would stay true to the original model launched in 1977 and that the size (which is the big topic with these types of watches) would be spot on. Well, this time, I wasn’t wrong, as soon as I opened the box, I could see that the quality and finishing of the F77 was in another league for their respective price point, with small details all over the watch, I couldn’t like it more than I do, please join me to discover them.
The F77 it’s the right size, its 37mm across with a thickness of 12.6mm, the magic with this last measurement is that the mid-case looks as thin as 8mm, and the case back and domed sapphire crystal are the reasons for the official dimensions, but trust me, the watch feels very thin on my 6.25-inch wrist. The case is more complex than any other integrated bracelet watch I’ve reviewed so far, the octagonal bezel with 8 external screws dominates the watch face nicely, beautiful polished and brushed surfaces make the whole case look even more angular, and the very tall double dome crystal distorts the edge of the dial making the F77 a nostalgia trip.
I have to say that sometimes because of the shade of the lume in the applied indices, the watch looks like a well-preserved object that is 40+ years old, I also feel that the pattern on the dial plus the black color gives a vibe that maybe the blue version (yes, there is a blue version) cannot match. The watch face has minimal writing with ‘’Nivada’’ at 12 o clock and ‘’F77’’ at 6 o clock followed by a subtle ‘’automatic’’, we managed to review the date version and although I am a firm ‘’no date’’ guy,
I think the framed window blends nicely, enough for me to choose the date version as a winner. The F77 is powered by a Soprod P024 date or no date which means you won’t have a ghost position at the crown when you are setting the watch, the Soprod is nicely decorated movement with 38 hours of power reserve and protected by a screw-down crown giving the watch 100 meters of water resistance.
On The Wrist
Here is where I will say that because of the 37mm and 45mm lug to lug the watch can be pulled in any situation, this is true, but it is a bit more complex than that. The F77 uses an integrated structure that connects the end links with the bracelet seamlessly, they do not articulate downwards making the watch feel more like a 48mm lug-to-lug watch which is still manageable for many of us with slender wrists. Because of the thin bezel and large opening dial, the watch feels like a 38mm piece but not a mm larger, it feels just right. One of the main problems that I encounter with an integrated steel bracelet is the flow of the links, there is nothing of that here, all the parts are very well machined, and they contour the wrist as they should, everything ends with a solid milled clasp which is very thin matching the whole vibe of the F77. There is quite a bit of adjustment available, with screws for the links and micro adjustment at the clasp, I am sure it would be quite easy for you to get a good fit.
The steel sports integrated bracelet category is a crowded one, there are many offerings at different price points and to have an original design with dimensions that are well proportioned, it is true gold, something that we do not see every day. Another strong point and coming back to those proportions, I enjoy that the F77 stays true to the original watch designed in 1977, not bending to today’s fashion trends, this is a box that Nivada has managed to tick every time. The F77 is one of the coolest companions I’ve reviewed this year, the built quality and luxurious appearance of the watch have won me over, I even managed to pick the date version as the winner, so now, I am a converted man. The Nivada F77 is available at 1150 USD more formation at www.nivadagrenchenofficial.com
Dial - Embossed Carbon Pattern, Shiny Silver Applied indexes, Shiny Silver Applied Date Window
Case Size/ Diameter - 37 mm
Case Thickness - 12.6 mm
Case Material - 316L Stainless Steel Silver Color
Lugs to Lugs - 45 mm
Case Finish - Alternating satin-brushed, polished including the glass
Bracelet dimension - 22x16 mm
Crown - Screw-down
Frequency - 28’800 vibrations per hour (4Hz)
Movement Functions - Hours, minutes, seconds (date optional)
Movement - SOPROD P024 Caliber 11 ½’’’, automatic movement (date optional)
Power reserve - 38 Hours
Crystal - Sapphire, double dome
Water Resistance- 10 ATM