A Tasty Proposition: Hands-on with the Nivada Chronoking Mecaquartz Salmon

A color may be a trend, but getting it right can still be a tricky business. Look, for example, at the wide variety of green-colored dials offered these days. By comparison, Salmon is still somewhat niche, perhaps because it is even more difficult to balance in the overall design of a watch. That didn’t stop Nivada from using a shade of it in their new Chronoking, showing us a surprisingly novel side of this versatile chronograph.

Three colors dominate the design: salmon, black, and white, and at first this seems like an unlikely combination. Nivada makes it work by blending them to perfection. The black aluminum diving bezel sets the stage for the salmon dial to shine. With the dial’s sunray finish, it has no problem doing so, especially when light hits it at the right angle. The applied indexes, whose luminous material really gives back in dark environments and white hands for the subdials, offer perfect legibility. It is all brought together by the centrally mounted hands, which are black for the hour and minute, with luminous material at the center. The hand for the chronograph seconds is also black at the center but only for about 1/3, as the rest is white. This gives a pleasantly sporty blend that goes surprisingly well with the orange-pink-toned dial.

The legibility is superb, except for the tachymeter scale on the perimeter of the dial. Not only is the font rather small, but it is often also directly under the curve of the double-domed sapphire crystal, and even its anti-reflective coating doesn’t help much. Personally, I still like that it is there, as it visually frames the center of the dial in a subtle way in a way that is fitting for a chronograph with a nod to the past. Do also get out your loupe for this Nivada because, despite its modest price tag, there is more than enough to enjoy. There, you will see that the perimeter of the dial is actually raised with the numerals and markings lying on top.

Other brands might also want to take note that this Chronoking is water resistant up to 10 ATM/100 meters, which is quite something for a chronograph that lacks a screw-down crown and is offered at this price point. Of course, the TMI VK63 Mecaquartz movement plays an important role in keeping this watch so affordable, but it brings quite some qualities to the table. Next to the chronograph function, with smooth running seconds hand, it has a 24-hour indicator and runs for about three years on a battery. When you operate the chronograph, it feels as if you are using a mechanical one, so the only telltale that you are dealing here with a battery-powered one is the second hand at six o’clock. Some die-hard purists might not be able to live with that, but even they must realize that even the watchmaker of watchmakers, Jaeger-LeCoultre, has developed mecaquartz movements in the past and utilized them in its collection.

In terms of proportion, the Chronoking hasn’t changed. With its diameter of 38 mm it offers vintage charm, but still has enough wrist presence, and the thickness of 12.95 mm gives it substance without being overweight. The screwed-down caseback looks like it comes from a much more expensive watch, given its fit and finish, including a nice and deep engraving of the company logo.

As Nivada is accustomed to doing, they also offer the Chronoking Mecaquartz Salmon with a wide variety of different straps and bracelets. It looks equally good on black and brown leather, making it that probably many of its buyers will opt at some point for a second strap. In this configuration, Nivada is asking $479 for the watch, which can only be ordered for a limited time. When you opt for the flat link or beads of rice bracelet, you pay $675, but get in return a very well-made bracelet that looks exceptionally good on the Chronoking. Delivery is scheduled for September this year.

For more info, visit Nivada, here.

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