It’s new, but it’s old. The Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. has a true vintage heart encased in contemporary styling.
There are many things to consider when purchasing a watch. Many will succumb to the power of advertising, to wristwatches which make headlines when strapped to celebrity wrists or those endorsed by sporting heroes. It takes a brave (and informed) watch buyer to look beyond the latest new trend. Not everyone will recognise the name Armand Nicolet should you choose to purchase one, but those who do will most likely be a knowledgeable watch enthusiast with a penchant for supreme attention to detail.
Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. – The Legacy Continues
Armand Nicolet founded his eponymous watchmaking brand in Tramelan, Switzerland towards the end of the 19th Century, but it was a pocketwatch which he presented in 1902 which brought him to the attention of the watch collectors of that time. It featured a complete calendar, a chronograph function and repeating hours, quarter hours and minutes. Complication timepieces created using artisan techniques have remained vital to the success of Armand Nicolet ever since. Armand’s son Willy took over the business back in 1939 but his legacy is still evident in the watches produced by the company to this day – not just in the continued meticulous hand-crafting, but with the movements which he stored away and preserved more than forty years ago.
Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. – Original Historical Movements
By the 1950’s Armand Nicolet had become one of the largest producers of in-house complications but they also offered finishing and assembling services to other watchmakers. As demand for mechanical watches dwindled in the 1970’s Willy resolved to keep his atelier open and while his company got on with the business of surviving, Willy squirrelled away surplus mechanical movements along with the blueprints and tools required to work them. The stored-away movements by the likes of Unitas, Venus, ETA and others were re-discovered and now form the O.H.M. – Original Historical Movement collection today.
The Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. model features a modern grey open-worked dial styled to showcase a glimpse of the hand-wind Unitas UT 600 Calibre, which dates back to 1957. With a stainless steel black DLC case sized at 42.5mm across, the model blends contemporary styling with the authenticity of a vintage heart which beats at an almost leisurely 18,800 vph retaining a power reserve of 36 hours.
Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. – Accuracy and Precision
The skilled technicians at Armand Nicolet remain respective to the vintage nature of the O.H.M. calibres, restoring them using traditional processes while at the same time employing modern precision machinery to ensure accurate setting. So, although this piece has the endearing “tick” of times gone by, precise timekeeping will not be an issue. The Armand Nicolet L14 O.H.M. will be limited to just 499 pieces, a number which is not chosen for any particular significance, but simply because that is how many of this particular new/old stock movement which Willy Nicolet packed away ever-positive that his company would be able to put them to good use in the future. He was right.