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Non Rado content- Armand Nicolet L-10

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  • Non Rado content- Armand Nicolet L-10

    So here is the spur of the moment purchase that bumped up the 2017 single purchase plan to three watches by mid-year.

    The Company

    Armand Nicolet is a privately held company located in the small village of Tramelan which is located in the Jura. Armand Nicolet was the son of a watchmaker himself but struck out on his own in 1875. In 1902 he changed the name of his Atelier Horologie to Armand Nicolet. The company seems to still be owned by his descendants. Before the quartz crisis Armand Nicolet had become known as something of a movement specialist. During the quartz crisis Armand's son Willy, who assumed control of AN when Armand died in 1939, steadfastly stuck with mechanical movements and managed to keep his watchmaker's busy, sometimes restoring and modifying other's movements. He also apparently stocked up on other's movements.This may have been the genesis of the current O.H.M.s, or Original Historic Movements.

    The Watch

    The L-10 is limited to 999 pieces. It is 40mm in diameter w/o crown and 50 mm lug to lug. The AN0710A is a none too thin 3.6mm thick as opposed to slim “newer” handwinds like some of the last Longines or the Peseux 7001, which is a mere 2.5 mm thick. Despite that plus sapphire glass front and back the L-10 is a mere 8mm thick.

    P6220194 by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    Because of the high placement of the lugs and the curved back it wears even thinner, looking closer to 6mm thick on the wrist.

    The lug to lug width is 21mm, which some might consider inconvenient. On the L-10 this seems to have been a carefully made decision. The 21mm lugs on a 40mm case allows AN to make long elegant lugs without becoming uncomfortably long, or giving someone with small wrists that lug overhang problem. It also allows the L-10 to have what one might call a vintage feel to the case shape even though it is modern sized with outer edges of the lugs much closer to the maximum width of the watch. 21:40 is nominally the same ratio as the not uncommon 18:35 that is common in 1950s watches.

    P6220187 smart copy copy by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    The dial is flat until the very outer edge, where it curves downward sharply, carrying the outer edges of the indexes with it. The nearly invisible minute markers are located within the downward curve.

    P6220180 smart copy copy by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    The hands are beautifully sculpted. Their cross section is curved so that some portion of the hands are almost always catching the light. Because they are curved the width of that gleaming sliver constantly changes, providing a simple soul like me with a constant source of entertainment.

    P6220175 smart copy copy by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    P6220168 smart copy copy by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    O.H.M.


    Fabrique Horologerie Fontainemelon was founded in 1793 and started industrial production of movements in 1816. By the 1870s they were manufacturing nearly a quarter of a million ebauches a year. In the 1920s they merged with Landeron and then became a founding member of ebauches SA.


    The FHF- 72 was a hand wind movement manufactured from 1955 until at least 1964, though Dr. Ranfft has Ollech and Wajs using the movement until in 1970 and possibly beyond. The FHF-72 featured the world's only mass produced free sprung regulator. It had a sweep second hand, a beat rate of 1800 A/h and a power reserve of 39 hours.

    At some point in the 2000's Armand Nicolet came up with an interesting way around ETAs movement restrictions. The L-10 features one of those. They acquired, or possibly still had, a large number of FHF-72 movements. The movement was disassembled and 3D scanned. AN's technicians analyzed each part looking for ways to improve the movement. Any parts found to be lacking were redesigned and manufactured. The movements were then decorated and rebuilt. And there you have a watch with a pretty unique movement. Amongst other modifications Armand Nicolet upped the beat rate to 21,600 A/h which also dropped the power reserve to 34 hours. A flat hair spring, “ancre” escapement and Incabloc shock absorption were added. Perlages and Surfaces Vagues finishes were used throughout.

    In a similar vein Armand Nicolet has released a two register Venus chronograph based watch and currently has a modified AS 1883, and FHF-70 and an FHF- 905, which is a women's movement, in their O.H.M. lineup.

    One can find the year of manufacture and the year of Armand Nicolet's upgrade on the dial of every O.H.M.( Original Historic Movement) watch. In the case of the L-10 the supply of FHF-72s was manufactured in 1960 and modified in 2010.

    AN back by Hank Blanc, on Flickr

    One of the things I instantly loved about this watch is that close inspection shows that AN's engraving equipment is clearly still manually operated and shows some of the same quirks one can find in the engraving of craftsmen like Rainer Neinaber or Jochen Beinzinger. Note the little glitches particularly in the AN logo and the LE numbering. Despite the unadjusted plate from the original FHF-72 the AN0710A seems to have been adjusted to five positions, or so the service manual implies.

    Oh, lovely crown too.

    AN side by Hank Blanc, on Flickr
    Last edited by Henry Krinkle; 06-22-2017, 09:16 PM.
    Solve all your doubts through question mode.

  • #2
    A beautiful watch Henry, the high end craftsmanship really shows.
    Congratulations, enjoy and wear it in good health mate.
    http://s145.photobucket.com/user/sco...deshow/Watches

    Comment


    • #3
      Fantastic.
      That's what small-production manual watches are all about. I love the idea of a hand-made movement, but can anyone say this is less exclusive or special? Such a well-thought-out and executed piece. I am really curious about the chronograph version...must find some info...

      (edit) The link below looks like an old web page for a model they no longer include among the Collections on their website:

      http://www.armandnicolet.com/the-new...mited-edition/

      They made 120 with Venus Cal. 188 and 20 with Venus Cal. 175 (famous column-wheel mvt. now produced as ST-19 by SeaGull / Tianjin)



      And here is the AS 1883, as found in the L15 model from A. Nicolet:

      Last edited by Watch Carefully; 06-22-2017, 03:35 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Did you notice that they have downloadable parts and service manuals for all the O.H.M. movements?
        Solve all your doubts through question mode.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Henry Krinkle View Post
          Did you notice that they have downloadable parts and service manuals for all the O.H.M. movements?
          I did not. That is a nice touch. Compare that to Cartier and Rolex and other companies who limit parts availability and information--often exclusive to their own authorised technicians.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Watch Carefully View Post
            I did not. That is a nice touch. Compare that to Cartier and Rolex and other companies who limit parts availability and information--often exclusive to their own authorised technicians.
            Literally everything you need to know from the diameter of the dial feet to what oil to use where. In three languages.

            http://www.armandnicolet.com/wp-cont...4/AN-0710A.pdf
            Solve all your doubts through question mode.

            Comment


            • #7
              Awesome watch, congratulations enjoy it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Henry, you didn't let us down, simply stunning, so much to enjoy!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you guys all for the kind words.
                  Solve all your doubts through question mode.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fabulous review

                    Comment

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