Before we dig into the history of Croton we must explain the various names that you will hear in connection to the Croton brand. These are Nivada, Nivada Grenchen, Croton Nivada, Croton Nivada Grenchen or really any combination therein. The fact is that any of these names are essentially interchangeable, and were all produced by the same company. The explanation for the various names is simple. Copyright law. Nivada got into trouble with Movado for a phonetic similarity that forced them to add the Grenchen name and use the name Croton in the US.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk a little bit about the Nivada brand. Founded in 1926 by Jacob Schneider in Grenchen Switzerland, the company was known for quality mass-produced watches. In recent years the watch collecting community has taken an interest in the Nivada chronomaster watches of the 1960’s and 70’s. As interest has grown for those models, other Nivada watches have begun to peak collectors interest as well. From the Antarctic, the watch that was worn by the members of the American Navy’s Deep Freeze 1 during their expedition to the South Pole from 1955 to 1956, to the Depthomatic and the Aquamatic, Nivada, and all their other named brands, are certainly worth paying attention to.
The aquamatic line dates back to the 1940’s when Nivada heavily marketed the waterproof features of the line but it wasn’t until the 1950’s and the introduction of the Antarctic line that the watches really gained popularity. As mentioned above, the watch that was worn by the members of the American Navy’s Deep Freeze 1 during their expedition to the South Pole. A big deal at the time. The Aquamatic line spans literally hundreds of different dial and case combinations and was one of Nivadas most popular selling line of watches. Also of interest to this model is the 360EL that is printed on the dial. Nivada used this to designate their automatic movements that utilized an automatic winding mechanism that rotates 360°, rather the older bumper models. We have seen some indications on various forums that further states that the EL portion was there to designate the Incabloc function but we cannot confirm this. This particular example has a fantastic combination of a black dial with applied breguet style numerals (a personal favorite of this author) and a classically styled stainless steel case. The block style logo dates this watch to the mid 1950’s.
The 34mm stainless steel case is in very good condition with no major faults to note. It shows signs of a previous polish but all of the edges remain crisp and defined. The crown matches that of other similar examples and the caseback is signed and thought to be original.
The Dial and Hands
The highlight of this watch is without a doubt the dial. The combination of simple black with applied breguet style applied numerals is a winning combination that has been used by man of the most famous watch brands. This particular dial is in very good condition. The lume is all present and has aged nicely.
This watch is powered by an ETA automatic movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Reference Number||AQU 17270|
|Movement||Automatic, ETA Movement|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|
|Clasp Type||Stainless Steel Buckle|