The starry night of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase AventurineFergus Nash
There aren’t many feelings which are as good as looking into a clear starry sky, as clouds and light pollution make way for the far-off stars and galaxies to show themselves off. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to drive out to a remote location any time you want to see it, and even then you need to hope the weather is favourable. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine offers a wrist-size taste of that experience, supported by the wonders induced by high-end watchmaking.
We usually begin with analysing the case, however a dial like this demands immediate attention. The word aventurine can refer to several different things, with the original being a form of quartz. Its green tinge and flecks of sparkling minerals may not make its way onto many watch dials, but the glass-based aventurine named after it has been increasing steadily in popularity. Made from mixing copper dust and coloured glass, aventurine watch dials have to be precisely and carefully sliced to ensure an even distribution of the star-like specks, free of deformities for the perfect night-sky immersion.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine is full of classical touches, harkening back to Ulysse Nardin’s history as a reputable marine chronometer manufacturer. The long, slender Roman numerals and the poire shaped hands are the main factors which evoke an antique timepiece, while the moonphase display in the small seconds subdial blends nicely with the aventurine dial. It’s easy to imagine this dial being a view from the middle of the ocean. Slightly eating into the 12 o’clock marker is another subdial with guilloché engraving for the power reserve indicator.
The case of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine is required to do a delicate balancing act, and it pulls it off perfectly. Without distracting from the overt majesty of the dial, the case is still notably well-crafted and attractive. The lugs are quite thick for what is effectively a dress watch, but their brushed finish helps tame their staunchness. The bezel is thin yet stands out with a glimmering polish, and a coin-edge texture that adds the right amount of intrigue. From a side view, it slopes inward towards the back which helps to reduce any visual bulk, and also has a plaque bearing the limited edition number.
There are a lot of watches which take an approach of dial-based beauty and then overdo it with the case size, but the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine is not one of them. The 42mm diameter gives a lot of breathing room to the dial’s various elements, but won’t hang off your wrist like a dinner plate. The lug-to-lug distance of 49mm should fit nicely on an average wrist, and the height of 11.13mm will slide under a cuff if you could ever dream of hiding it.
Visible from a wide sapphire caseback is the Ulysse Nardin UN-119. This in-house calibre operates at a smooth 28,800 vibrations per hour and features a generous 60-hour power reserve, along with some other special features. The escapement uses their DIAMonSIL technology, improving shock and wear resistance by combining silicon with synthetic diamonds. The balance spring is also silicon, aiding magnetic resistance and general reliability. Considering Ulysse Nardin’s history, it should come as no surprise that the movement is chronometer certified by COSC for an accuracy within -4/+6 seconds per day.
Despite the word Marine in the name, this isn’t exactly a seafaring timepiece anymore. The case can handle some splashes and the occasional dunk with a 50m water resistance, but isn’t intended for swimming as shown by the inclusion of a blue alligator leather strap. It uses a stainless steel folding buckle, and curved spring bars for a truly luxurious look. The stitching which runs down the edges of the strap are blue to match, however white cross-stitching is visible towards the strap ends for a more laid-back vintage style.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine pricing and availability
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine is limited to 300 pieces worldwide. Price: US$13,600
|Model||Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine|
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 11.13mm (T) x 49mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||50 metres|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire front and back|
|Strap||Blue alligator leather, steel folding buckle|
|Movement||UN-119, in-house, automatic, silicon balance spring, DIAMonSIL escapement|
|Power Reserve||60 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, moonphase, power reserve|
|Availability||Limited to 300 pieces|