Hands-on The 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer – Redesigned, Cleaner, Tastier

A new take on a modern icon, the Ulysse Nardin Diver, with a more contemporary and a cleaner design.
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | 5 minute read
2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

Certainly, most of you probably have the Marine Chronometer in mind when the name Ulysse Nardin is mentioned – and rightfully so, as this watch is the cornerstone of the brand. However, there’s more in the collection, including the Ulysse Nardin Diver, a watch that is still linked to the nautical world, but not perhaps the most discreet diver on the market.  Do you remember this one or this one, conceived as a more classic approach to the watch? The good news is that it has just been relaunched in a more contemporary, cleaner and tastier package – following the trend initiated by the Torpilleur. Meet the 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer.

2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

For years, the Marine Chronometer watches, nautical timepieces with an overall elegant design, have had their sporty twins, the Ulysse Nardin Diver. To differentiate these two – don’t forget that both were inspired by the sea – UN gave the Diver a robust, masculine and bold style (to say the least, judging by some of the editions). Massive, colourful, adorned with patterns on the dial and the bezel, it was not a watch for the faint-hearted. Certainly, it had its audience and fans but, knowing the recent strategy of the brand to make the watches more elegant, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer had to have a fresh start.

2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

So here we are, in 2018, with a new Diver in town. If the case, dial, bezel have been redesigned/reshaped, the collection hasn’t gotten rid of all the attributes that made this watch so recognizable. It is just more down-to-earth, more focussed on diving and more in line with the rest of the current range.

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer features a 44mm case, with a fresh, new design and new proportions. Certainly, the case is still robust and on the tool-ish side, but the lugs are now more tapered, the case entirely brushed and the strap better integrated into the overall design. There’s a “lighter” feeling on the wrist, with more comfort and a more compact shape. The case of this new Diver Chronometer is crafted in titanium – meaning that it is both light and more resistant to external elements. The case is still that of a true diver, and is water-resistant to 300m.

The sides of the case have been reshaped too, with a better integration of the lugs and of the crown protection device in the overall design. It certainly has the taste of a Ulysse Nardin, but in a more contemporary way. What hasn’t changed is the rubber strap, which still features the metallic insert at 6 o’clock – a signature element of the collection. The crown is large and screwed and the caseback is made of sapphire (except on the Great White edition, which features a closed titanium back).

2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

On the wrist, the 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer is a large watch. No debate. However, it wears much better than what you would expect from a 44mm watch. The shape of the strap makes it balanced and suitable for most wrists – even wrists under 17cm. Last but not least, the watch gets rid of the wave or shark patterns usually found on previous editions and now features a cleaner style. This can be seen on the new unidirectional bezel, which now features an inverted design – concave and with raised numerals and markers (with now only the first 20 minutes highlighted and simpler 0-15-30-45 markers).

As for the dials, the same overall idea of simplicity and functionality has been used. The complex pattern of its predecessor has been replaced by a simple grained surface with applied indices and the hours markers and hands are large and filled with luminous material. The display remains classic for a Ulysse Nardin watch, with hours and minutes in the centre, small seconds and date at 6 o’clock, and a power reserve at 12 o’clock.

The 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer will be available in 4 editions:

  • Titanium, blue dial – ref. 1183-170-3/93
  • Titanium, black dial – ref. 1183-170-3/92
  • Great White Limited Edition – ref. 1183-170LE-3/90-GW (limited to 300 pieces)
  • Monaco Limited Edition – ref. 1185-170LE-3/BLACK-MON (limited to 100 pieces)

In addition to the two standard versions (in blue or in black), two limited editions will be launched. The first, the Great White, features a white-and-grey colour scheme and a closed titanium back. The second, the Monaco Edition, features a black-coated case and gold accents on the bezel, the dial and the crown.

2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

Inside the case of the 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer is the calibre UN-118, a movement that is widely used across the range, with or without complications – for instance in the Marine 1846 or the Marine Torpilleur. This automatic calibre has been developed by UN and is produced in-house. It has a comfortable 60-hour power reserve and features several modern technologies, such as the proprietary Silicium anchor escapement and inertial balance wheel with silicium hairspring. Visible through the sapphire caseback, it is nicely decorated with concentric Geneva stripes, an engraved oscillating weight, blued screws and bevelled angles on the bridges. It is also chronometer-certified by COSC.

2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer

Overall, the 2018 Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer brings a fresh and cool take on an iconic piece in UN’s collection. It will certainly remain more of a “desk diver’s watch”, but its new shape and more tool-ish elements are welcome additions. Prices range from EUR 7,900 for the black and blue editions, to EUR 8,900 for the Great White edition and EUR 12,000 for the Monaco edition. Not the cheapest dive watch available on the market but a price in line with the quality of its construction. More details at www.ulysse-nardin.com.

1 response

  1. Now that is a nice-looking dive watch, the black dial in particular, although the Great White looks good in the wristshot, too. Ochs & Junior use that UN-118 calibre in their Perpetual Calendar; it allows the date to be wound backwards, which is neat.

    It may not be the cheapest dive watch on the market, but when comparing it to a Fifty Fathoms (which I would say is a direct competitor), it’s clearly good value. Nardin have a high level of finishing that puts this above the likes of a Submariner Date at pretty much the same price. The resale value, however…

    They could make a 42mm Annual Calendar version that would wipe the floor with the Bathyscaphe AC.

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