A history born on the open ocean. Ulysse Nardin gained fame for marine chronometers, found in the pockets and on the wrists of many of the world’s navy captains in the 19th century. The Marine Collection has since become the brand’s most emblematic. However, renewing the focus and direction of the collection, earlier this year UN added the streamlined Marine Torpilleur Chronometer. And with SIHH 2018 just around the corner, they’ve unveiled another inclusion to the Torpilleur family. One that is less the officer and the gentleman of its predecessor and more the rough-and-ready adventurer of the high seas. Forging forward with a more modern focus is an upsized 44mm stainless steel case. With a thinly pronounced fluted bezel, it follows the same curves and lines of the original Torpilleur. Only now it’s matted-out with a sandblast finish. A look that when combined with the oversized onion-shaped crown, really flexes the military vibin’ muscles of this new edition. Water resistance is also maintained at 50m, thanks to the screw-down crown and a solid caseback engraved with a seafaring Torpilleur boat. There will be two dial options offered by UN, both limited to 300 pieces each. An eggshell white with lume-filled… Read More
Just one look at their anchor-shaped logo should be a clue to the centuries old maritime heritage of Ulysse Nardin. Their Marine collection, which has hoisted the sails for more than 20 years, was last year celebrated with the release of the mesmerisingly complicated Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon. After all, UN aren’t only about the high seas. Avant-garde designs and clever complications are common throughout their catalogue. This year, UN have added a warm touch to the Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon, with a darker colour scheme and a change of material for the case. Now made from 18k rose gold, the case remains sized at 44mm, and shares most of the same design codes as the rest of the Marine collection. It still has the same fluted bezel, integrated lugs with leather strap, and screw-down rubber-coated crown – helping to maintain its 100m water resistance. However, as with the original, the star of the show is the way in which the Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon displays the time. Top and centre of the dial is a large jumping hour display, which is quickly and independently adjusted by a pusher at 2 o’clock. Working in conjunction to display the… Read More
Story in a second The Marine Chronometer Torpilleur shows a new, focused and driven face of Ulysse Nardin. I’m going to start this review talking not about mechanical watches, but naval warfare. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, naval dominance was all about massive floating fortresses, with thick plate armour and a massed battery of cannons. These ships, which culminated in the dreadnought class of battleships, were the undisputed masters of the seas. To counter these ungainly behemoths, the Torpilleur, or torpedo boat, was developed. Streamlined, fast and modern, the Torpilleurs were armed with the latest technology — the self-propelled torpedo. These low-cost boats were intended as battleship-killers and presented a real threat to the dominance of the big ships. Now, do you really think it’s a coincidence that Ulysse Nardin chose to name their new, streamlined Marine Chronometer the “Torpilleur”? The dial Of all the elements of the Torpilleur, the dial is the most traditional. It follows the established conventions of a marine chronometer or deck watch — early navigational timepieces that put Ulysse Nardin on the map. The poire hands are blued, set against a crisp white lacquer dial, printed with bold Roman numerals, with dial… Read More
When it was originally conceived, the tourbillon was a technical solution to a specific problem — the impact of gravity on the accuracy of a pocket watch’s movement. These days the whirling cage of finely finished metal represents something else. For brands, it’s a bravura statement of prowess. For watch lovers, it’s typically the crowning piece in a collection, the finest point in fine watchmaking. If we’re honest, the appeal of the tourbillon is only partially due to an appreciation of the watchmaker’s art. There’s also an element of conspicuous consumption to wearing a tourbillon. Dress it up however you like — wearing a watch with a dial-facing tourbillon is a pretty powerful statement. Dig a little deeper into the complication and you’ll discover that not all tourbillons are created equal. TAG Heuer’s vaunted $20k Heuer-02T is CNC printed, and many other brands rely on outsourced, third-party movements. Ulysse Nardin’s Marine Tourbillon avoids these pitfalls and manages to offer one of the most compelling value propositions of 2017. Before we get to the movement, let’s talk about the watch as a whole. The 43mm steel case has modern touches, like the angular, integrated lugs, squared-off crown guard and rubber inset… Read More
Imagine you were suddenly launched back in time and onto the deck of a naval ship in the second half of the 19th century. What’s the very first thing you’d do? Personally, if I’ve learnt anything about time travel from The Terminator, I’d find some clothes. Shortly after that, I’d be pretty keen to know exactly “when” I was, and the only way to do that at sea would be to consult the ship’s marine chronometre – and there’s a good chance it would been made by Ulysse Nardin. It’s this style of watch – along with other suitably nautical horology that made UN famous – that they’re still best known for today. But that doesn’t mean they don’t surprise us every so often. And this year they dipped into their 171-year-old back catalogue and released a vintage inspired reissue of a 1964 diver, called, simply enough, the Diver Le Locle. As far as looks go, not much has changed from the original. The design elements that made the original such a looker are still present – large luminescent hour markers, thick pencil hands, and a fully graduated unidirectional coin edged bezel. Although, they’ve been updated to suit modern standards. Take… Read More
Ulysse Nardin made their name way back in 1846 making marine chronometres – highly accurate ship’s clocks that were an essential navigational tool in the times before radio and GPS. These days the Le Locle-based brand still makes chronometre-style timepeices, but as a celebration of heritage rather than a practical tool. This isn’t to say that Ulysse Nardin has given up on the sea; far from it, as their new Marine Regatta demonstrates. Developed with the support and input of Artemis Racing – the Swedish sailing team the brand sponsors – the Marine Regatta is, as the name suggests, a regatta timer, one of the more specialised complications in horology. For those of you not familiar with competitive sailing, yachts don’t begin from a standing start, but rather jockey for position and aim to cross the starting line as soon as the starting gun goes off (boats are penalised for crossing early). So in the minutes before the race starts there’s a signal that lets skippers know that a countdown period (typically five to 10 minutes) has begun, and that they should head towards the starting line. Which is where the regatta timer comes in. In the simplest terms a regatta… Read More
Le Locle-based Ulysse Nardin made their debut showing at SIHH this year, and we have to say, they brought the heat. We’re used to brands showing us one or two major novelties, but it’s safe to say UN went far beyond that. From technical tourbillons and regatta timers through to stunning dress pieces, vintage reissues and haute horlogerie wonders, the scale and substance of Ulysse Nardin’s offering meant their booth had a real buzz. What does this mean for Australian watch fans? Well, expect to see and hear a whole lot more about UN in the coming months as the brand makes inroads into the local market.
We’re all taught the colours of the rainbow from pre-school, so it’s amazing how many of us grow up to wear only black. Anything brighter is definitely viewed as a risk, which is why smaller wardrobe items are a great starting point for that gamble. For guys, it might be a patterned pocket square or the flash of contrasting sock, while ladies can dabble with a broader palette through make-up and jewellery. Across the board, though, one place that’s perfect for introducing colour is the wrist. My first thoughts on seeing the Ulysse Nardin Classico Automatic Lady, fresh for 2017, was that it is very, very bright. But, as is so often the case with watches, you really need to spend some quality time with it before jumping to conclusions. Up close, the translucent blue enamel dial is so vibrant, it’s on the cusp of purple – and in daylight, it’s hard to take your eyes off the sun ray guilloché. It really is show-stopping, to the point that the 60 diamonds circling the case are really just a support act. The leaf-shaped hands are elegantly tapered, pointing towards Roman numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12, with indices in between keeping… Read More