The Revamped Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph (Live Pics & Price)
New UN Diver Chronographs with more streamlined and contemporary looks.
Ulysse Nardin is clearly in the middle of an important restructuring process and updating most of its emblematic watches. After new watches in the Marine collection, it was time for the Diver to get a fresher look. Following last year’s evolutions on the 3-hand models, the brand now comes up with three new yet instantly recognizable Diver Chronographs. Still imposing, still bold, still unmistakably Ulysse Nardin, the new chronos benefit from the latest design upgrade and jettison a lot of ballast in favour of a lighter, more streamlined and contemporary look.
Last year, Ulysse Nardin unveiled its redesigned Diver Chronometer, a pared-down and more contemporary approach to its flamboyant Divers of the past. If you look back at this limited edition Monaco Yacht Show 2016 Diver Chronograph, emblazoned like a stars and stripes flag and with enough decorative details to keep most sharks at bay, you can clearly appreciate the evolution. Less is more seems to be the new line of thinking at UN, and the latest Diver Chronograph models pick up on design cues from the recently revamped Diver Chronometer 42mm with a more restrained approach to decoration.
Like the 2016 chronograph, the latest Diver Chronographs measure 44mm and are equipped with the same UN-150 automatic calibre – meaning that the layout of the sub-dials and position of the pushers is identical – and are obviously still water-resistant to 300m.
A More contemporary take
Looking at the old and 2019 chronographs side by side you can see how the serrated shark fin-style bezel of the earlier model has been exchanged for a more straightforward bezel with 12 notches and how the lugs have become more streamlined, abandoning the stepped feature. The unidirectional bezel is concave now and features raised numerals and markers with Super-LumiNova on the 0. The bezel is also slightly thicker, and although it still has a rubber insert, it drops the wavy pattern. Incidentally, the bezel makes a nice clicking sound when turned. The crown guards are less prominent and the new Diver Chronograph also gets rid of the polished surfaces on the former diver chronograph and goes for a fully brushed, tool-watch finish.
The tri-compax layout is identical to the older models but, once again, toned down to reflect the 2018 design mandates for the Divers. The busy background on some of the earlier models is now replaced with a grained surface and the hour markers and hands (luminous, of course) have been shortened and “deskeletonised”. The tachymetre scale (obviously a questionable choice on a dive watch) has been ditched and the chronograph counters simplified; even the hammerhead shark swimming in the 30-minute sub-dial at 3 o’clock (or the inscription Marine Diver 1846) on some of the limited-edition 2016 models has gone. Another detail is the date window inside the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, which has shrunk noticeably and been stripped of its magnifying lens.
The two titanium models, available with black or blue dials and matching rubber straps and rubberised bezel inserts, feature red chronograph hands while the rose gold model sticks to a more sedate colour scheme of golden and white details against a blue background. All three models have the hallmark metal insert on the rubber strap (in titanium or rose gold, depending on model) with the brand logo but you’ll notice that even the rubber strap has been revisited. Instead of the two-tone stripes on some older models, the straps of the new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph stick to one colour.
HAMMERHEAD SHARK LIMITED EDITION
With its bold colour scheme of red and blue, the titanium model with a blue dial and red accents is the liveliest of the pack and continues UN’s ongoing tradition of blue and red Hammerhead special editions. Red is used to highlight the bezel joint, the chronograph seconds hand, the pushers, the Hammerhead Shark inscription on the dial and even the shark sculpted in the rubber strap. Limited to 300 pieces, a plaque on the side of the case indicates the number of the watch xx/300. The image of a hammerhead shark – shown frontally and not in profile for a more aggressive look – is engraved on the screw-down titanium caseback of the limited-edition model.
UN Calibre 150
Although the limited-edition Hammerhead does not reveal the movement, the two non-limited Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph have sapphire crystal casebacks. Below deck is the brand’s in-house automatic, integrated, column-wheel chronograph movement with a 48-hour power reserve. As the precursors of the use of silicon (silicium at UN) the escapement is made from silicon, it ticks at a modern 4Hz frequency.
Availability and Price
The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph 44mm Hammerhead Shark (reference 1503-170-3/93-HAMMER) is limited to 300 pieces and retails for CHF 11,900. The non-limited Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph 44mm titanium/black model (reference 1503-170-3/92) retails for CHF 11,500 and the non-limited Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph 44mm 18k rose gold/blue (reference 1502-170-3/93) for CHF 38,500.
More details at ulysse-nardin.com.
I am a big UN fan but these strike me as a step-back in design, making them look like 100 other watches.