Thursday, 27 May 2021 09:36

Elliot Brown's new watch recreates 98-year-old military stealth paint colour

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World War II buffs will be well aware of one of the early forms of stealth technology that was developed at Orford Ness on the Suffolk Coast, this being ‘Night Invisible Varnish Orfordness’ or NIVO for short. 

This matte grey-green paint finish was applied to aircraft to hide them from enemy detection during evening cross-Channel bombing raids as it matched the colour and gloss of open water at night.  Although great for when aircraft was over the water, it was abandoned by the MOD in 1939 due to its reflective nature when hit by searchlights from below, proving it ineffective.   

Holton NIVO on wrist 002

So, what’s become of NIVO?  Bringing this colour back to its former glory is UK watch brand Elliot Brown and what better watch to utilise the colour than the Holton Professional with its kudos as the first military issued watch from a British company in over a decade and its special forces influence. 

Subjected to intense testing and surviving some of the most hostile conditions imaginable, the Holton Professional is a fit-for-purpose timepiece that’s capable of prolonged exposure to water and dust, as well as being durable and shock resistant, complete with clear visibility day or night, a unidirectional timing bezel operable with a gloved hand and NATO style lightweight webbing strap. 

The new NIVO has a paler grey case than other Holton options in the collection to highlight the dial colour and has a pink/sand luminous fill in the hands, along with pale green/sand luminous dial graphics as opposed to the usual pale green used on the existing Holton timepieces. 

Holton NIVO

Co-founder of Elliot Brown, Ian Elliot, comments: “Discovering a 98-year-old military paint colour was the easy part; recreating it in a modern colour-space 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 and has become an instant favourite.” 

Technical detail: 

  • A precise 120 click high grip bezel houses a stainless steel insert hardened to 1200HV 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. 
  • 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 the 4H, whilst retaining the immense water protection thanks to proprietary triple seals. 
  • An additional screw down mechanism locks the crown into the case. 
  • The soft woven NATO style webbing strap is custom dyed and made especially for Elliot Brown on a Victorian shuttle look in Ashbourne.  It’s a technical slice of fabric fitted with a patented clamp buckle and has a super low profile, lightweight, breathable, low moisture retentive, anti-bacterial and comfy on the wrist. 

The new Holton: NIVO is available here priced £450.  As the brand’s way of thanking all those who serve, or have served in the military, there’s a discount on all the watches in the Elliot Brown collection.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.