Ulysse Nardin’s history has been founded on Marine roots, as for over a century, the brand has been one of the main providers of Marine Chronometers. Since a few months, we’ve seen some extremely pleasant evolutions of the collections: new and more subtle designs, slightly vintage inspiration, easily wearable watches. With this in mind, Ulysse Nardin unveils the Marine Torpilleur, a well-thought-out facelift reinvigorating the brand’s emblematic Marine collection. Here is an early hands-on look at this classic yet urban timepiece.
In the 18th century, developing a method to determine longitude at sea was one of the principal scientific endeavors. Precision timekeeping brought a major leap forward in navigation and the marine chronometer became one of the most fundamental of all shipboard instruments. In the city of Le Locle, in the Jura Mountains, Ulysse Nardin earned a reputation for producing exceptional deck chronometers. Very few watch manufactures have exhibited such thorough mastery of the marine chronometer – and chronometry in general.
An early 20th century Ulysse Nardin Chronometer
The latest addition to the Ulysse Nardin Marine collection was christened ‘torpilleur’. A ‘torpilleur’ (torpedo boat) is a relatively small and fast military ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle and counter large, heavily armed battleships. With the Marine Torpilleur, Ulysse Nardin introduces a lighter, thinner version of its iconic Marine collection, aimed at a younger and more modern clientele.
While the look may be familiar, Ulysse Nardin has given the Marine collection a tasteful facelift to make it look younger and more elegant. It seems the brand has very much adopted an ethos of ‘less is more’. 42mm in diameter, the redesigned case features a fixed, thin fluted bezel, while a thin flange frames the dial (much thinner than in the previous models, which makes a huge difference). The case also features lighter, elongated lugs. The Torpilleur case is rendered in steel or pink gold. It wears well and sits comfortably on the wrist. The crown is screw-down and engraved with the brand’s logo. The watch is water resistant to 50m.
The beautiful watch face features elongated Roman numerals, which are highly legible. These are paired with blued or rhodium coated poire style hands. The style and lay-out is directly inspired by the brand’s chronometers from the 19th century. The dial is lacquered in white or blue. The year of the foundation of the brand ‘1846’, as well as the power reserve ‘Haut’ (high) and ‘Bas’ (low) indications, are printed in red, which is a nice touch.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur is powered by the high-grade automatic caliber UN-118. This modern 13’’’ ¼ caliber ticks at 28,800 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 50 hours. Entirely designed and manufactured in-house, it integrates the latest technology from Ulysse Nardin.
Its anchor escapement is manufactured with Sigatec (a Ulysse Nardin joint venture with Mimotec) with DIAMonSIL high-precision components (escape wheel and lever). DIAMonSIL is silicon covered with synthetic diamond, a technology that allows components to be shaped specifically for avant-garde concepts. Among other advantages, it is lubrication free and extends durability significantly. The oscillator is held under a full balance bridge and it features a variable inertia balance wheel adjustable with 4 screws and a silicon hairspring.
Naturally, given the inspiration of the watch, it is a chronometer and its precision is certified with a COSC ‘bulletin de marche’. While this entitles the brand to print ‘Chronometre’ on the dial, the movement has also undergone Ulysse Nardin’s own stringent certification process. Introduced in 2012, this internal quality certification is a 7-day process consisting of a broad set of inspections and tests. The chronometric criteria are more stringent than COSC (-2 to +6 seconds a day for UN versus -4 to +6 seconds a day for COSC). The movement finish is nice and clean. The bridges are decorated with circular Geneva stripes, nicely beveled and held in place by blued screws. The rotor features two anchors presented in relief and a blue Ulysse Nardin logo.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur is worn either on an alligator strap or a steel bracelet (with the blue-dialed version). The triple-folding clasp is nicely shaped and finished.
Kudos to Ulysse Nardin and to its product team for this tasteful redesign. The Torpilleur rocks and the brand has raised the bar considerably in the past few months releasing some superb designs. The Torpilleur watches are also offered at lower prices, which makes this new model even more desirable. Retail prices are EUR 6,900, EUR 7,600 and EUR 17,900 respectively for the steel on leather, steel on bracelet and pink gold version. For more information, please visit www.ulyssenardin.com.
Technical specifications – Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur
- Case: 42 mm stainless steel (or pink gold) – sapphire crystal with AR coating – sapphire caseback – 5 ATM / 50 m water resistant.
- Movement: Calibre UN-118 with automatic winding – 13’’’ ¼ – 60 h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations per hour – 50 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds, date and power reserve indication. COSC certification. Ulysse Nardin certification.
- Strap: alligator leather strap with folding buckle or steel bracelet
- Price: CHF/EUR 6,900 (steel on leather), CHF/EUR 7,600 (steel on bracelet) and CHF/EUR 17,900 (pink gold)
- Reference: 1182-310/40, 1183-310/40 and 1183-310-7M/43