Armand Nicolet M02 Day/Date Review
About Armand Nicolet
Armand Nicolet has history dating as far back as 1875. Based in Tramelan, Switzerland, Armand Nicolet is a boutique watch manufacturer.
Armand Nicolet has created an excellent reputation and is well regarded among watch aficionado’s. The rich history of the company is evident, as demonstrated in the attention to detail seen in their timepieces.
HOW WE REVIEW WATCHES
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As a photographer, I’ve failed to truly showcase how attractive the M02 is. Guilloche and steel contrast, drawing your eye toward a finely decorated prize. Yes, it looks better in person than it does in photo, but there’s more to the M02 than looks. It’s heavy, built to last, and uses a high-regrade and retouched ETA movement. Then there’s the tie-in with Armand Nicolet’s other pursuits, and to me, that’s worth the cost of entry on its own.
Armand Nicolet M02 Day/Date Technical Specifications
Day/date display, screw-down crown
Approximately 40 hours
Setting the Time
The day/date function on the AN 23834-2 is identical to the ETA version of the movement that it’s based off of and uses a three position crown.
How To set the time:
- Pull crown to the furthest position (position 3). Turn the crown clockwise to set the time. Note that the day/date display will rollover at at midnight, indicating AM time.
How To set the date:
- Pull the crown to the middle position (position 2) and turn clockwise to set the date. Turn counter-clockwise to set the day.
Armand Nicolet M02 Day/Date Aesthetics & Design
I did my best to do this watch justice. View the photos in full size (bottom right of the image carousel) to see some high resolution close ups of the crown, dial, and movement. Armand Nicolet has paid attention to the details and it really pays off.
I’m actually quite impressed by how well done this watch is at it’s relatively low selling point of $1,200. The dial is a mat finished guilloche design with chrome hour markers and hands. It isn’t something that screams at you, but once you take a good look at it you notice and appreciate the workmanship on the dial.
The grooved crown is embossed with Armand Nicolet’s logo; once fully screwed in, the crown sits snug with the case. It’s finished with a nice polish, matching the case and bracelet. Turn the watch over and you’ll see the steel has been grooved and engraved. The movement itself is engraved but not decorated, which for me is a toss between a good call and a missed opportunity.
The quality of build is quite high. Under significant zoom from my 90mm macro lens, the level of workmanship is very consistent.
Armand Nicolet M02 Day/Date Build Quality
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the M02 is it’s weight. Like the Bulova 96A101 I reviewed, all the steel really adds heft. The M02 doesn’t quite feel uncomfortable, but it’s close. The tolerances are nice and tight throughout the build, which contributes to the 10 ATM (100m) water resistance rating.
Crystal, Case, and Dial
The sapphire crystal on the M02 is great and of equal quality to what you see from other other Swiss brands at this price point. The rear exhibition crystal is also sapphire.
The mat finish on the dial appears to be of good quality. The markers and markings are all aligned properly, and general pride of craftmanship is pretty obvious inside and out. Despite the steel feeling heavy I managed to put a small nick in the bezel thanks to a collision with a quartz countertop.
Strap and Clasp
The stainless steel bracelet is heavy, with thick joints and solid pins/screws. The deployment clasp is also good quality, and is engraved with Armand Nicolet. Despite overpowering the dial a little bit, the bracelet and clasp easily match the quality of the case/dial.
As with all stainless steel bracelets, some small scratches appear over time from regular wear. The bracelet on the M02 appears to be holding out better than most.
More About the Armand Nicolet M02 Day/Date
Armand Nicolet uses modified ETA movements for their Contemporary Collection watches, which the M02 is a part of. In this application, a modified ETA 2384-2 is used. The ETA 2834-2 movement is rated +/- 15 seconds per day (standard variant). My stopwatch suggests that the M02 gained 6 seconds per 24 hour period.
The ETA 2834-2 used by Armand Nicolet is likely Elabore grade and is widely considered to be a reliable, accurate, long-lasting movement.
Value for Money
With a MSRP just north of $3,000, it’s hard to say that this version of the M02 is a good purchase at that price. But, given that you can purchase the M02 for around $1,200 on Amazon (and on other online watch stores), its value proposition is much stronger.
First, your wearing a watch with a lineage dating back to 1875. A lot of brands boast about their history, but Armand Nicolet has it in spades. I have a certain appreciation for the niche that Armand Nicolet fills, and I especially appreciate what they do with antique movements in their OHM collections. I love that this M02 has a connection with that, even if it just shares a name.
Finally, this watch feels nearly indestructible. It’s also a luxury day/date watch with 100m of water resistance (with the crown securely screwed down). I don’t know if I’d go diving with it, but I’d have no issues wearing it if I was just splashing around.
For its street price of $1,200, the M02 is a good buy. I’d buy it again. 🙂
Where to Buy
Armand Nicolet M02 Day & Date Review Conclusion
My thoughts This model of M02 (9641A-NR-M9140) is the most affordable M02 you can buy. Even still, it's a good value with excellent materials and quality of overall finishing. It's built well, it looks good, and it uses a good-grade modified ETA movement. If you want a day/date from a brand that's a departure from what you usually see, this Armand Nicolet is worth consideration.