The 51-30 Chrono is one of the most iconic and recognizable watches in the Nixon lineup. To celebrate this oversized watch, we asked one of the Nixon co-founders, Andy Laats, to weigh in on the 51-30 origin story and what makes this watch resonate with fans of Nixon.

Turquoise 51-30 Chrono

The Nixon 51-30 Design Origin Story

A simple hypothetical question helped drive the creation of the 51-30 Chrono watch we know today: "if you were stranded on a deserted island and you needed a watch that would last until you got rescued, what would that watch be?"

Part of the answer to that question was that, whatever the watch, it could never leak. It had to be rugged and suitable for use not only on land, but also in the water around the deserted island. The hypothetical watch had to have 300 meters of water resistance. The "30" in 51-30 is for the 30ATM water rating.

To get feedback on this large, rugged "deserted island watch" with a 30ATM water rating, Andy and crew reached out to a few free divers on the Nixon team. What was important to them on a big dive watch? The answer: the dial had to have giant numbers so they could easily and quickly read it while underwater. The need for high visibility is how the 51-30 got so big. The "51" in 51-30 is for the 51mm watch case.

DJ wearing headphones and a silver and gold Nixon 51-30 Chrono.

The size of the 51-30 created one problem: the crown. Following common practice and keeping the crown on 3 o'clock side of such an oversized chrono watch meant that, when worn on the left hand, the crown would bite the arm, causing discomfort. To address the issue, the decision was made to move the crown to the 9 o'clock side. Crisis averted.

Q: What makes the 51-30 Chrono so unique?

A: The 51-30 Chrono is an experiment in how extreme a watch can be. When you want to feel or be extreme, it's the 51-30 Chrono you'll want to put on. Also, the size of the 51-30 Chrono dial makes it the perfect canvas for trophy watches, limited editions and collaborations.

Q: What is the most extreme version of the 51-30?

A: It has to be the trophy watches created for the 2012 Street League of Skating.

3 More Things to Know About the 51-30 Chrono

  1. When the watch was being created, the Nixon team couldn't think of a name extreme enough to fully encapsulate the watch's essence. That's why it's the only watch in the Nixon lineup without a made up name.
  2. The 51-30 Chrono was the first Nixon watch to have a 9 o'clock crown. Since then, Nixon watches that cross a certain size threshold use the same crown position.
  3. The use of even number Arabics on the dial started with the 51-30 Chrono. Today, certain versions of the Sentry and the Patrol use the same number styling.