Best Croton Watches Review: Ghost of the Former Self?

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It’s quite surprising that the majority of us haven’t heard of the brand Croton. While the three- to five-year-old companies from Asia are ruling the watch industry, this hundred-and-fifty-year-old company is almost struggling.

Croton used to be one of the industry leaders and people admired the quality and precision of their watches. Tough build quality and the budget-friendly ETA movements made the watches very popular among the common users.

Now, Croton is aimed at offering high quality watches that everyone can own. They are also very confident about the timepieces’ quality as they offer a lifetime warranty for all of their watches. How many watch manufacturers are this confident with their products?

So, today I’d make a detailed Croton watches review and verify whether the watches are worth the price or ghosts of the former selves.

But first, let’s explore the history of the company.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  rating price
Best OverallCROTON Aquamatic Men's CA301282BKBK Quartz Watch CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK Quartz Watch
  • Size (Case Diameter): 43mm
  • Water Resistanc: 20 ATM
9.5
The Runner-Up Fanmis “Reginald” Rotatable Bezel Luxury Quartz Watch CROTON Men’s CC311125BKOR “Millenium” Swiss Quartz Watch
  • Size (Case Diameter): 45mm
  • Water Resistanc: 10 ATM
9.5
The Second Runner-Up Fanmis “Reginald” Rotatable Bezel Luxury Quartz Watch CROTON Men’s CA301298SSBL Quartz Watch
  • Size (Case Diameter): 44mm
  • Water Resistanc: 10 ATM
9
 Fanmis “Reginald” Rotatable Bezel Luxury Quartz Watch Croton Imperial Skeleton Watch
  • Size (Case Diameter): 42mm
  • Water Resistanc: 3 ATM
8.5
Croton Watches Review CROTON Men’s CN307530RGBK “Millenium” Quartz Watch
  • Size (Case Diameter): 40mm
  • Water Resistanc: 3 ATM
8.5

The History of Croton Watches

History of Croton Watches

Croton is a U.S.-based watch manufacturer that was established in 1878. The company mainly served as the assembler and designer that sourced parts from a Swiss company, Nivada Grenchen.

Later in 1926, Nivada Grenchen pivoted and established itself as a watch manufacturer. Croton also changed its business strategy and assumed the role of distributor for the Nivada watches.

Due to the popularity and brand value of Croton, Nivada watches had Croton Nivada, Croton Nivada Grenchen, or Croton signature.  

So, you see, these two companies had a symbiotic relationship from the very beginning.

The company saw the peak popularity in the 1950s.

American Navy wore Croton Nivada Grenchen watches in the infamous Deep Freeze 1 mission in the Antarctic. It helped them to market their watches to be tough and reliable.

Croton enjoyed uber success with the Chronomaster, Depthomatic, and the Depthmaster models. These models made Croton one of the biggest watch manufacturers in the world.

Then, it happened!

Seiko revolutionized the watch industry with the invention of quartz movement. Seiko and Citizen, the two Japanese watchmaking giants, almost took over the global watch market.

As a result, many Swiss companies faced existential threats!

Sadly, Croton was one of them.

The Fall from the Heavens

Fall from the Heavens

The Croton-Nivada duo made a final attempt for survival with the “fashion watches.” Their Leonardo da Vinci collection failed miserably and running the business was no longer profitable.

The Grenchen family was forced to sell the business to survive!

A U.S.-based company, Nationwide Time, acquired the Croton brand in 1991. The company is producing Croton watches to this day, but the sales numbers are not very impressive.

The Nivada brand was sold to a South Korean company (Kim Suk Keun Watch Company) in 1985. Nivada suffered even more. Kim Suk Keun Watch Company sold the brand to unknown parties in 2018.

Currently, two companies use the Nivada brand name.

One of these two companies is based in Switzerland and uses the “Nivada Grenchen” signature. The other one is based in Mexico and uses the “Nivada Swiss” Signature.

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CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK Quartz Watch – Best Overall

CROTON Aquamatic Men's CA301282BKBK Quartz Watch

Very few Croton watches are popular in the market and CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK is one of them.

This Rolex Sub homage from Croton is quite sturdy and durable. The watch has a nice weight despite having a light quartz movement inside the case.

I was quite surprised seeing the build quality. There’s no doubt that CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK is Croton’s best watch.

The impressive 200-meter water resistance only helps my argument.

However, the fact that there are cheaper Rolex homages using decent automatic movement puts this watch in a bad position.

For example, Invicta Pro Diver comes with a Seiko NH35A automatic movement and same water resistance feature. And, it costs one third of the price of Croton Aquamatic.

So, Croton doesn’t have anything out of the box to offer a good value proposition.

Product Specifications – CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK

  • Movement Type: Quartz (Japanese)
  • Caliber: Miyota CR7772
  • Case Diameter: 43mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.5mm
  • Band Width: 20mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel
  • Water-Resistance: 20 ATM (200 meters)
  • Clasp Type: Push Button Foldover With Safety
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Complete metal finishes with great durability
  • Magnified date display
  • Crown protection
  • Luminous hands and markers
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Too generic
  • Doesn’t offer anything unique compared to other Rolex Submariner homages

CROTON Men’s CC311125BKOR “Millenium” Swiss Quartz Watch – The Runner-Up

CROTON Men's CC311125BKOR "Millenium" Swiss Quartz Watch

Technologically, CROTON Men’s CC311125BKOR “Millenium” is Croton’s one of the most advanced watch. It’s loaded with useful features and some unique design choices.

This watch uses the ISA 8172/202 caliber with comes with central chronograph second hand and a 30-minute counter. Then, it has two subdials for day and second display.

The offsetting date display at the 4 o’clock marker is also very modern and fashionable.

But the best part of the watch is the inclusion of ceramic on the bezel and bracelet. While a watch with chronograph subdials is very common, we don’t generally see too many watches with ceramic.

But the somewhat average build quality and the poor choice of the orange dial put the watch in a bad position.

Product Specifications – CROTON Men’s CC311125BKOR “Millenium”

  • Movement Type: Quartz (Swiss)
  • Caliber: ISA 8172/202
  • Case Diameter: 45mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Band Width: 24mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel with Ceramic Bezel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel and Ceramic
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM (100 meters)
  • Clasp Type: Push Button Foldover
  • Crystal: Synthetic Sapphire

Pros

  • Combination of stainless steel and ceramic in the body
  • Swiss movement offers better accuracy.
  • Fully functional central chronograph seconds and 30-minute counter
  • Separate subdial for seconds
  • Luminous hands and markers
  • Day and date display
  • Tachymeter

Cons

  • The color quality on the orange dial is poor

CROTON Men’s CA301298SSBL Quartz Watch – The Second Runner-Up

CROTON Men's CA301298SSBL Quartz Watch

CROTON Men’s CA301298SSBL Quartz Watch is perhaps the watch with the highest value proposition. This extremely well-built watch is cheap and comes with a decent movement from Citizen.

Design-wise, it has some similarities with Tag Heuer Aquaracer.

The strongest side of this watch is the build quality. Even Croton is so proud of their satin and high-polished metal links.

However, poor finish quality and the surprisingly bad dial are two major drawbacks of this watch.

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Product Specifications – CROTON Men’s CA301298SSBL

  • Movement Type: Quartz (Japanese)
  • Caliber: Miyota 2115
  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.5mm
  • Band Width: 21.5mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Stainless Steel
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM (100 meters)
  • Clasp Type: Double Push Button Foldover With Safety
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Complete metal finishes with great durability.
  • Patterned dial
  • Date display
  • Crown protection
  • Luminous hands and markers
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Too generic
  • Poor craftsmanship

Croton Imperial Skeleton Watch

Croton Imperial Skeleton Watch

This fourth watch, Croton Imperial Skeleton Watch has too many mixed reactions from the users.

Some users praise Croton for including an automatic movement with a skeleton dial. Others, however, criticize the quality of the movement heavily.

Yes, it’s fascinating to find a skeleton watch with automatic movement at such low price point. But sadly, Croton has gone for an unknown Chinese movement in the Imperial watch.

Some users have also suggested buying the watch from a reliable retailer and doing quality assessment tests before buying.

I would suggest getting this watch only if you get a good deal during a “sale.”

Product Specifications – Croton Imperial Skeleton Watch

  • Movement Type: Automatic (Chinese)
  • Caliber: Unknown
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Band Width: 18mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel (Rose-Gold Plating)
  • Band Material: Leather (Embossed Alligator)
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM (3 meters)
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Mineral

Pros

  • Intriguing, fashionable look
  • Automatic movement
  • Skeleton dial
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The quality of the movement is very poor
  • Build quality is not up to the mark
  • Poor water resistance

CROTON Men’s CN307530RGBK “Millenium” Quartz Watch

CROTON Men's CN307530RGBK "Millenium" Quartz Watch

The final watch from the brand, CROTON Men’s CN307530RGBK “Millenium” Quartz Watch is one of the best watches from the company in terms of quality.

It has an impressive Swiss quartz movement from Ronda (705) and the case is made of tungsten and ceramic. It’s very rare to see a watch made from these two materials.

As you know, tungsten is the toughest material found in nature and ceramic offers better polish and a clean finish.

So, why have I put this watch in the last place?

Simply because of the price.

The price tag also feels unjustified against the value that the watch is offering. However, by no means I am saying that the watch has poor quality.

The build quality and craftsmanship are fantastic.

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Product Specifications – CROTON Men’s CN307530RGBK

  • Movement Type: Quartz (Swiss)
  • Caliber: Ronda 705
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 8.8mm
  • Band Width: 24mm
  • Case Material: Tungsten and Ceramic
  • Band Material: Tungsten and Ceramic
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
  • Clasp Type: Butterfly (Deployant)
  • Crystal: Domed Sapphire

Pros

  • The unique combination of tungsten and ceramic in the whole body
  • High-quality movement
  • Date display
  • Patterned dial
  • Minimalistic design
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Poor water resistance

Is Croton A Good Brand? The Croton Watch Review

As I said, it’s debatable. Croton used to be one of the leading watch brands all over the world. You might see the watch collectors drooling for a vintage Croton watch from the 1960s and 1970s.

During that period, Croton watches hit the pinnacle of success.

However, the quartz revolution from the Japanese companies changed the whole scenario, and the company almost went bankrupt. Under the management of the new owners, the company tried to explore different path.

Rather than using the Swiss movements (mainly from ETA) and parts like before, they sourced the same Japanese companies’ movements. Now, the major portion of the Croton watches have Miyota movements that come from Citizen.

Only a few models use Swiss movements from Ronda or ISA. They even heavily use unknown Chinese automatic movements, which have terrible quality.

If Croton uses well-known Chinese movements from Seagull or PTS Resources/Hangzhou, the quality would be much better.

They even use hardlex crystals in a lot of watches. Seiko is the inventor of the hardlex crystals.

So yes, Croton watches are not that good in the current timeline.

But older Croton watches were pure gem!

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What Did We Like About Croton?

The only thing that I loved about modern Croton watches is the lifetime warranty. Every single watch from this company has lifetime warranties.

However, batteries, cases, watch bands, straps, dials, crowns, or crystals don’t fall under the warranty coverage. Croton will only repair the movements.

So, don’t worry, if your croton watch comes with faulty movement, they’ll fix it.

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What Didn’t We Like About Croton?

Croton doesn’t offer good value compared to its competitors. Yes, Croton watches are quite reasonably priced.

But if you compare the watches against Seiko, Citizen, or even Invicta, you’ll clearly notice the differences.

The competitors are offering so much more (better movement, better craftsmanship, etc.).

That’s why I wouldn’t recommend you getting a Croton watch.

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Conclusion

I am at the finishing of the Croton watches review today. Before I finish, I want to rank the Croton watches so that you can make a better purchase decision.

CROTON Aquamatic Men’s CA301282BKBK Quartz Watch is the clear winner today. Then comes CROTON Men’s CC311125BKOR “Millenium” Swiss Quartz Watch.

And finally, CROTON Men’s CA301298SSBL Quartz Watch would grab the third place.

Let me know your thoughts and experience with Croton watches.

Goodbye and take care!

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