Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review and I was not paid, or incentivized in any way to write this. This is in no way sponsored by Armand Nicolet, or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
Armand Nicolet MM2
A few months ago, I reviewed the Armand Nicolet JS9-41 dive watch, and I was very impressed with the design and quality of that watch. It felt great on the wrist, and everything came together really well. They recently launched their latest lineup of watches inspired by traditional pilot watches, called the MM2. These watches have interesting dial colors, dial finishing, and come across as a fun execution of an otherwise serious design style.
The MM2 is sold on a strap, and has a retail price of CHF 1400, or roughly $1550 USD. Since this is a relatively new release, I haven’t been able to find discounts or deals on them yet, but I suspect over the next few months you’ll start to see them more frequently, and maybe at slightly better prices.
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 43 mm in diameter, 52 mm from lug-to-lug and 12.5 mm in height. The case has a combination of brushed and polished elements, with entirely brushed sides and a bezel, and brushed top surfaces on the lugs.
The lugs are well proportioned for this case, and curve down towards the wrist, with a lug width of 22mm. The lugs are not drilled through.
There is a gentle stepped bezel section that is polished, and seats a flat sapphire crystal. I’m not sure what kind of AR coating was done here, but I’ve noticed that this watch picks up quite a few reflections and was a bit challenging to shoot, compared to the last diver.
You then have an oversized and signed 7 mm crown at the 3 o’clock position, that is screw-down and also has an amazing grip. The crown is brilliant, easy to operate and just feels very robust overall. Great stuff here.
Flipping it over, you have a screw-down case-back with a large exhibition window. This watch is rated for up-to 100m of water resistance, and given the screw-down crown and case-back, I wouldn’t be too afraid to take this one into water.
This is an interesting take on a pilot watch design, and has the same rice krispies base dial finish that I liked on the diver. They have three dial colors, and I requested to review the black and orange combo.
There is an outer minute track on the sloped chapter ring, that has bold Arabic numerals for each increment of five, and white ticks for the other markers. The printing quality is good, and it is very easy to read.
You then have raised Arabic numerals for all the hour markers. They have black borders, and are covered with lume. I like the font, and it definitely has some vintage pocket and field watch influence.
There is a date window at the 6 o’clock position, which is something I usually love. But I don’t like this design as it eats into the 6 o’clock hour marker, and leaves a decapitated marker that is pretty much illegible. I recognize that the movement dictates where the date window goes, but I think they could’ve made better use of the space under the date window. But the actual window is well executed with a neat white border, and sloped inner surfaces. Another aspect of this I haven’t fully understood is why it says Made Swiss and not Swiss Made.
The brand’s logo is raised onto the dial surface below the 12 o’clock and some text above the date window. The finishing is good, except for small section of missing paint on the ‘A‘ of automatic.
The handset is very interesting, and it is a creative take on the arrow style hands typically seen on pilot watches. The hour hand is a large oversized arrow, which has an almost retro-reflective orange colored tip, with a strip of lume running down the middle.
The minute hand is a bit more traditional, and follows the same color palette but with more lume. I wish the seconds hand was also lumed, but it is visible in the dark because the orange tip reflects some of the light from the lumed elements. I think that’s quite cool!
The lume on this watch is better than it was on the last diver that I reviewed, but it isn’t as good as what I typically get to see from micro-brands today.
The brightness tapers off quickly, but the longevity isn’t bad. However, if you’re expecting radioactive lume like on a Zelos or Seiko, you’re going to be disappointed.
The hour numerals appear to be lumed with C3 Super LumiNova and the hands might actually be C1. The orange on the hands behave in a somewhat retro-reflective manner, which is quite nice.
This watch is using an ETA 2824-2 movement, which is on full display thanks to the exhibition case-back. The movement is clean, indicating good quality control practices, and the signed rotor is a nice touch.
I’ve had mostly good experiences with this movement, and the fact that it is fairly robust and very easily serviceable appeals to me.
On my time grapher, I observed roughly +5 spd in the dial up position, and +3 spd in the crown up position. Both of these are good numbers for this movement, and appropriate for what this watch costs.
On The Wrist
Unfortunately the 43 mm diameter and 52 mm lug-to-lug width make this watch a bit too large for my 6.25″ wrist. I think you need at least a 6.75″ wrist to pull this off, and maybe a 6.5″ wrist if you like the big watch aesthetic.
But trying to remove my skinny wrist from this equation, it’s actually a comfortable watch, with a flat case-back and a well balanced weight distribution. The 12.5 mm case-height definitely helps, and the curved lugs are quite comfortable too.
I’m not very fond of the strap that this watch ships with as it is a bit stiff. I’m sure it’ll break in eventually, but I didn’t give it a chance and swapped it out for something a bit more comfortable.
If you have larger wrists, and you find this design attractive, there isn’t anything to complain about here. Sure, the lume isn’t the greatest, but I think the solid case build, legible dial and neat dial finishing make up for that.
As with most Armand Nicolet watches, if you can’t afford the full retail price, make sure you keep an eye out for good discounts and good deals on the pre-owned market.
Thanks for reading!