When a watch auction in Asia or the United States nears its last day, I always put the Nivada Grenchen Travelmaster on my wrist. A manually wound movement, a GMT bezel, and an alarm are all auction-winning essentials. Well, at least essentials for not forgetting about an auction in the first place…

I have stopped counting how many great watches I have lost for being too busy or too lazy to set the alarm for the end of an auction. These days when it still happens, I no longer go back to investigate. I want to prevent more pain when seeing if it was hammered for a heartbreakingly small price.


Nivada Grenchen Travelmaster 87011

What I really love about this watch is the set of unique features packed in a sporty and quite muscular case. Since I keep five Vulcain Crickets it’s not a surprise I am a big fan of the mechanical alarm complication. Here it’s combined not only with the date but also with the GMT bezel. The killer detail for me is the narrow and perfectly sloping ring under the crystal that marks a positive or negative time difference for each particular city in hours. If you organize a petition to have each GMT watch have it as a mandatory feature, I will be the first to sign it. It’s perfectly functional for securing fast time reading.

Using the GMT alarm

When I find a watch in an auction, I usually keep the day and time of the auction end in my head or I write it into my calendar for the early morning. When the day comes, I pull the Nivada Travelmaster out of the safe. My time zone is already aligned at 12, so I just need to find the auction city on the bezel and cross-reference it to the hour difference ring. Once I know what the actual time in the auction city is, I just pull out the crown at two and set the alarm 15 minutes before the auction end.


Alarming sound

When the alarm goes full blast, it feels less clingy (annoying), but more high-frequency than the other alarm Nivada Wanderer. Indeed, you do not have Deja Vu already having read this article. There is another alarm Nivada we featured recently, but it’s completely different. To start with the core functionality, the Nivada Wanderer is powered by the famous Vulcain Cricket caliber 120 while today’s suspect carries A. Schild caliber 1568.


Nivada Travelmaster vs. Nivada Wanderer

As you can see in the picture above, the Wanderer seems to be more tidy and elegant. The thinner and longer indexes and the much narrower bezel insert make me want to wear the Wanderer to the theater. If we focus on the outside of the case area on the Wanderer, the major difference is the pusher at 2 o’clock and the crown at 3 o’clock, exactly like the Vulcain Cricket. The Nivada Travelmaster has two identical crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock. While the single crown on the Wanderer winds both barrels for the alarm and wheel train, with the Travelmaster both crowns are winding.

So many differences

Even though both watches have the same brand name, the branding differs big time. The Wanderer carries a tiny font and the brand name is written in capitals, while the Travelmaster uses a much bigger font in italic and the brand name is written across two lines. This comparison perfectly shows how a few design changes can make any watch look much more robust, even though they are built upon the exact or similar case.

Nivada Travelmaster dial

It’s perfectly compact and true to its traveling aspiration. The silver dial is an endless source of shine and energizes me anytime I look at it. The indexes are quite thick and wide, reminding me of the Stonehenge stones perfectly set on a divine meadow. If there was one thing I could change, I would apply luminous material on the top of the markers.


The red-arrow alarm indicator hand is nice, for quite some time I could not make up my mind if I liked how short it is. It could have been longer, but I decided it doesn’t bother me at the end of the day. The date display at 3 o’clock is a nice bonus. Next to this ref 87011 example, there is also another ref 87002 version that features a unique push-button on the 9 o’clock side of the case. When I mention the options you have, you might also take a look at the metallic grey dialed versions with the ref 87004. Don’t get puzzled if you also see another version of the bezel with the cities aligned not in two, but in three lines or a slide-rule bezel.

Shotgun notes

The Nivada Grenchen Travelmaster wears really comfortably and looks bigger than 36mm in diameter. Notice the detailing on the bezel, especially the GMT and New York highlighted in red. Not sure if this was customization for a specific market, but I saw it on multiple pieces. The brushed finish on the central piece of the two-piece screw-down case back that holds the „N-shield“ logo looks very crispy. It’s pretty cool to unscrew the highly polished ring first and then easily pick up the flat part to get to the movement. I doubt the water resistance, but as it’s not my daily beater, I do appreciate the level of coolness.


Last thoughts

I am not in touch with the team that recently revived the Nivada brand, but I was pleasantly surprised by the comment they left under one of my posts on Instagram. It might be pure speculation, but it seems the Travelmaster might be resurrected soon! If we take the quality of their latest watches into account, it might be quite a hot release, don’t you think? If you previously considered the Nivada Travelmaster but decided to back off, now might be the best time to pick the original piece. Happy hunting.