The words ‘manufacture’ and ‘in-house’ linked to a movement seem to be something we hear probably too often these days and in certain situations, not used in the proper way. It is becoming increasingly important for brands nowadays in terms of credibility. However, some manufactures are more worthy than others at using the name manufacture for their movements and Ulysse Nardin is part of this gang. And even if they are creating insane watches (like the Hannibal), they also have simple watches that feature their own calibres, like for instance the brand new Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture.
Ulysse Nardin was and still is one of the most innovative manufactures and even 15 years after its introduction, the Freak remains a proper UFO in the horological landscape. The brand was also able to totally renew the concept of the escapement this year, while introducing the impressive Anchor Tourbillon. Finally, in a more classical but still astonishing approach, Ulysse Nardin can create ultra-complicated watches like the 725.000 CHF Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon with automatons. However, in the actual economic context, these watches are more public-relations attractions than proper money-makers. For this reason, the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture, a very classical iteration of Ulysse Nardin’s design and capacities, is an important watch.
The Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture is the first watch of this collection to bring a fully in-house movement – meaning designed, developed, manufactured and assembled by Ulysse Nardin, in their own facilities. This watch is launched with the intention of fighting in the range of the classical, elegant, understated watches with an interesting and innovative horological content – meaning facing the competition with some GP 1966, a Rolex Cellini (the latest editions) or some Blancpain (that are all using the same recipe: elegant, visually simple watches with a +/- 40mm case and an in-house movement). Even if the competition in this range of watches is tough, it will nether the less allow Ulysse Nardin to access new markets for customers in a need of simple elegance and qualitative / exclusive movements – something the Marine Collection by UN cannot achieve right now, due to more resolute design choices.
The new Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture comes in the typical shape of the collection, meaning a simple and elegant case measuring 40mm, with rather short and curved lugs. Both editions – ivory and blue – are coming in a 18K pink gold case. Even if the design is simple, we found back the nautical roots of the brand – what made the success and the recognition of the brand for the past decades. As simple as they are, these new Classico Manufacture watches are not shy and boring, due to specific lugs of several details on the dial or on the case (like the usual plate on the caseband with the serial number). We’re in front of a classical watch with its own identity and a great presence on the wrist – the 9.6mm height is both reasonable and sufficient to feel the watch on the wrist.
Design-wise, there’s nothing spectacular but nothing boring either. The Classico Manufacture is elegant, discreet and refined but still feels like being a Ulysse Nardin. This feeling can also be experienced when turning back the watch and looking at the movement. We can easily spot the arrival of a new movement with the move of the second hand from the central axis to a sub-dial at 6. The date is cleverly integrated in this sub-counter with a discreet round window. The movement is pleasant to look at, with nicely shaped plates and a transversal bridge over the balance wheel. The finish is made accordingly to the high standards of the manufacture, meaning polished beveled angles, blued screws, circular Geneva stripes and an engraved gold rotor. The self-winding Calibre UN-320 features a hairspring and an escapement in silicon and boasts 48 hours of power reserve. Finally, the date can be corrected both backward and forward.
The new Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture is a good alternative for those seeking an elegant watch with a strong horological content. It will be priced at 14.500 Euros. More details on UlysseNardin.com.