Late last week, INVOG wrapped up its first successful Kickstarter campaign with the launch of its La Nogentaise. The timepiece is an AP Royal Oak-inspired chronograph with eleven different colourways. Featured here is the attractive Black Panda IVN2201.
As far as integrated sports watches are concerned, the Royal Oak is one of the finest, but INVOG has done an excellent job in recreating that 70s vibe with its mecaquartz chronograph interpretation. Like the seminal design it references, La Nogentaise features a prominent, eight-sided stationary bezel. It is vertically brushed across the top, but employs a carefully polished bevel along the sides. The angular mid-case on which it sits is also brushed and is constructed of a series of planes and chamfers. The watch is 42mm in diameter, but wears smaller–partly due to the integrated strap, but also because the amount of space devoted to the dial is small in proportion to the case. La Nogentaise is also quite slim for a sports watch at 11.5mm.
One of the main design differences between the AP and the INVOG comes in the fashioning of the pushers. Instead of circular ends couched in hexagonal seats, La Nogentaise uses rectangular nodes to actuate and reset the central chronograph function. Its crown is different as well, being finished in a fine coin-edge knurling. On the flip side, the case back is attached by 8 screws to allow for easier battery exchange; however, the watch does promise 100m of water resistance.
The watch sports a flat sapphire crystal with multiple layers of AR for a clear view of the dial. While the colours of the various references differ, the elements do not. Each employs tall applied wedge markers on the hours and a printed seconds track in the chapter ring. The angled rehaut on the edge of the dial has an additional minute index with numerals on the fives. All are highly legible.
Of the eleven colourways, the Black Panda is probably my favourite. I really like the high contrast between the black sub-dails and the white background. The red chronograph hands also suit the sporty racing vibe. For a watch in this price point, it is also nice to see the azurage in the two black sub-dials, which add a dimension of texture. However, perhaps the most interesting feature is the steel frame around the running seconds hand that forms the bottom sub-dial. Unlike the two darker indices, which are recessed, the bottom index is raised and provides an enhanced sense of depth.
The date window at 4:30–an element in the Royal Oak, and other famous chronographs, like the El Primero–is my least favourite detail, however. The date wheel in other references is colour-matched, and looks much more integral to the design. There are no models without the feature.
La Nogentaise has an interesting hybrid strap which supports the overall congruity. It is black rubber on the back and leather on the front. It is also outfitted with a stainless steel, milled butterfly clasp and feels quite comfortable when on wrist.
As a power source, INVOG have opted for the Seiko VK68. The mecaquartz movement offers highly accurate timekeeping, but the benefit of mechanical chronograph functionality–including a flyback reset. The downside of the VK68 is its relatively useless 24-hour sub-dial.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
Integrated Lug Design
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire /w AR|
Brushed Steel Dial
Date @ 4:30
|Movement||Seiko VK68 Mecaquartz|
|Strap||Black Rubber and Leather|
/w Butterfly Clasp
La Nogentaise by Invog
Nogent is a small village in the Haute Marne region of France. Traditionally, the town is renowned for its blade-making. However, today it produces cutlery, scissors, fine hand-tools, and medical instruments which are shipped all over the world. A resident of the town is colloquially known as a nogentaise. It is from this that INVOG took the name for its first watch, as the brand founder and head watch designer first met here.
There is very little to complain about in the design or execution of La Nogentaise. I suspect appreciation for the timepiece will come down to how you feel about its proximity to the Royal Oak. Some will be very happy about this. Others, it will bother.
La Nogentaise is pretty slick little watch. This Black Panda version, in particular, really hits the right notes. The case shape and brushed finishing are very sporty and dynamic. The dial depth and balance are excellent. I love the decision to colour match the bottom sub-dial, too. The mecaquartz movement has turned up in a lot of microbrand watches and is a decent alternative to produce an affordable chronograph. If you are looking for a fun weekender, La Nogentaise might be your clock.
La Nogentaise from INVOG just wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign, but will retail for $429USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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