This specific NIVO (Night Invisible Varnish, Orfordness) colour-way was uncovered whilst researching the use of specific military colours beyond the usual olive drab, black, and desert shades.
Originally made from a combination of yellow ochre, pigment white 5, and ultramarine blue, NIVO was originally developed at Orfordness experimental station as a paint for British bombers that matched both the colour and gloss level of open water at night.
Discovering a 98 year old military paint colour was the easy part; recreating it in a modern colourspace like the ones we design with was the hard part as it doesn't feature in any Pantone or RAL reference charts. It was worth the effort though, becoming an instant favourite.
If you'd like to read a little more about NIVO, Jason Heaton wrote a brilliant article about it (and his thoughts on his NIVO Holton) here.
The NIVO has a paler grey case than our other Holtons to bring the dial colour up, and has pink/sand luminous fill in the hands and pale green/sand luminous dial graphics in place of the usual Holton pale green.
The Holton Professional was developed in response to a request from a specialist branch of the military who demanded a fit-for-purpose professional watch capable of shrugging off life in the field.
It’s the first military issued watch from a British company in over ten years and prior to being approved, was the subject of intense testing, surviving some of the most hostile conditions imaginable.
The Brief: a watch capable of prolonged exposure to water and dust, durable, shock resistant, clear visibility day or night, unidirectional timing bezel operable with a gloved hand, easy strap changes and comfortable strapping options that don't break. So if you happen to be flying in darkness over the sea/ocean towards an enemy foe, they might see you but they won't see your watch!
The specification of the bezel gives a perfect insight into the level of detail we impart on every watch we put our names to. A precise 120 click high grip bezel houses a stainless steel insert hardened to 1200HV (Vickers hardness scale) precisely embossed with hours and minutes indentations then flooded with high grade C3 SuperLuminova.
The hobnail outer knurling is slightly higher than the insert to form a high grip surface for confident operation even when using the palm of a wet gloved hand. Both components are beadblasted and a 0.8 micron PVD coating is then applied whose hardness matches that of the stainless steel components.
N.B. this bezel is unapologetically fit for purpose. Please be aware it is likely to catch or wear shirt cuffs etc.
Straps are easily changed and secured via solid steel screw in bars operated with a five lobe tool (supplied) and matching socket in the strap bar ends.
The recessed crown sits neatly out of harms way at 4H whilst retaining the immense water protection afforded by our proprietary triple seals. An additional screw down mechanism locks the crown into the case.
The last two photos are stills taken from a video of a Holton and a Kimmeridge strapped to an ROV in the Gulf of Mexico in March 2020, still working at 3900ft - almost 3/4 mile underwater.
The soft woven NATO style webbing strap is custom dyed and made especially for us on a Victorian Shuttle loom in Ashbourne. It's a technical slice of fabric fitted with our patented clamp buckle. Super low profile, lightweight, breathable, low moisture retentive, anti-bacterial and so comfy.
As our way of saying thank you to serving and ex serving military personnel, we offer 20% military and 'blue light' discount on all our watches. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of service and to find out more.
Our returns policy is on our site here, and our five year warranty is outlined here.
Bezel: high grip, uni directional divers bezel case hardened to 1200HV Vickers with matt PVD coating whose hardness matches that of the hardened bezel. Highly resistant to marking and provides an outer layer of protection for the watch. The high grip texture enables the bezel to be turned by gripping the sides or pressing downwards and the fine hobnail pattern ensures the bezel can't be caught on anything, turning it accidentally
Case: 316L stainless, beadblasted anti reflective pale gunmetal grey PVD plated at the maximum thickness without loss of definition on case detailing (approx twice the industry standard thickness). Every watch is individually pressure tested to 200m at several points during production
Crown: easy to use yet highly protected. Deeply recessed, screws down into watch case, triple sealed, hobnail knurling for secure grip, 4H position keeps it out of harms way.
Dial: NIVO colour, anti-reflective, easy to read at a glance day or night with a military bearing that’s relevant and familiar. The hour markers are bold luminous sand green parallelograms reminiscent of 1970s military dive watches, brought up to date with our trademark 12-3-6-9 cardinal graphics, with a bold triangle at 12H to help orientate the watch when it’s dark
Hands: clear differentiation between hours, minutes and seconds hands with minimal chance of confusion. Short stubby ‘sword’ hour hand, long slender parallel minutes hand with pointed tip that reaches precisely to the minute markers, both infilled with pink sand Superluminova. The seconds hand has a fine yellow painted tip and luminous filled arrow head counterbalanced by a dark gunmetal ‘lollipop’
Crystal: bevelled 2mm sapphire with anti reflective coating applied to the inner surface to minimise glare for perfect visibility in all light conditions. To pass QC, every crystal must be capable of withstanding an impact applied 3 times by a 17mm steel ball dropped from 0.5m
Movement: Swiss Ronda calibre 715 with low-battery/end of life indicator that prevents the watch being issued with a low battery. It is housed inside a proprietary shock protection system consisting of a steel housing suspended by elastomer shock absorbers. Projected battery life is approximately 3 years
Strap: Desert brown webbing strap woven exclusively for us in small batches in Derbyshire by Bowmer Bond. Treated with lifetime anti-bac, and fitted with our patented buckle
Strap fixing: solid steel strap bars that screw directly into the case shoulders, driven by a 5-lobe head so that the driver (included with the watch) can't slip or climb out, ensuring simple and fast strap changes whilst also providing maximum security - no spring-bars to break
Caseback: bolted down using hex bolts creating a perfect compression seal and correct tension for the shock absorption system. Multiple surfaces minimise skin contact for comfort and bolting the case down ensures the case back logo and detailing are always aligned perfectly
9H-3H 43mm excluding crown
12H-6H - 52mm max to tip of case shoulders
Maximum thickness 12mm
We design and re-design every component to make watches that are fundamentally fit-for-purpose, minimising or eliminating typical points of failure such as spring bars breaking, straps snapping, or watches leaking - all potentially catastrophic failures.
Any watches damaged in service can be repaired quickly and economically at our in-house workshop in Poole and returned to service with the minimum of disruption.
Not only is our servicing world class, the warranty has no small print. It’s honest, comprehensive, and straightforward. The whole watch is covered for 5 years, not just the movement. The only exclusions are accidental damage, the battery and wear & tear.