Introducing – Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture with steel case and enamel dial (specs & price)
Ulysse Nardin is certainly widely known for their signature collections; the Marine and the Diver. Both inspired by antique marine chronometers (something that was the core business of the brand at its inception), they share a unique and easily recognizable design, with some bold aspects – like we’ve seen recently in this article or previously in this in-depth review. The UN collection shouldn’t be resumed to that (of course they also have some incredible complications…), as the brand also has a nice and elegant classic dress watch – which is not so classic – the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture that comes now in steel, with a superb enamel dial.
The Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture was introduced, in a revamped version, at Baselworld 2016. Using the traditional design of the brand, now combined with an in-house movement, it was only available in rose gold (with blue or cream dial), meaning that it was priced to an approximate 15,000 CHF. It is certain that gold fits perfectly the definition of a dress watch, being more precious and more elegant in certain situations, like in black-tie events – and then, we dare to call it Tuxedo-watches. However, gold watches are not accessible to all collectors and this year, this interesting watch is coming for a larger audience, as it can be ordered in steel with a blue dial (in the regular collection) – and because the brand celebrates its 170 anniversary, a limited edition with white enamel dial is also part of the show – and that’s the one you’re looking at.
An enamel dial is the perfect definition of high-end watchmaking, for the simple reason that it requires highly skilled craftsmen and a long process to achieve the desired result. The dial of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture stainless steel is manufactured by Donzé Cadrans, a subsidiary of Ulysse Nardin, which is one of the few ateliers to master the complex process of Grand Feu enamel. The process is based on an antique technique created during the 17th century. Its name is due to the extremely high temperature (in-between 760 and 900 celsius degrees) required to melt the enamel powder with the metallic plate. The result is a milky white dial which will resist to almost all the aggressions possible and that will keep its vitreous aspect for decades. In the case of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture, this enamel dial is printed with blue Roman numerals and the “Email Grand Feu” mention is visible at 6. The display relies on matching blued hands.
The Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture steel / enamel show a sleek and clean design, with a 40mm steel case, with refined proportions and lines (with a rather slim case, at 9.60mm). A bit of originality can be seen in the shape of the lugs and with a blue alligator strap, with curved ends. Inside the case ticks a modern in-house movement – Calibre UN-320 – with time, small second and date. This automatic movement features a silicon hairspring (remember that Ulysse Nardin was the very first manufacture to use silicon in 2001), a stop-second mechanism and boasts 48 hours of power reserve.
This elegant, refined and technically interesting Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture steel / enamel is a limited edition of 170 pieces. It will be priced at 8,500 CHF. Another steel version is also available, with a classical blue dial (non-enamel) for a price of 7,500 CHF. More details can be found on ulysse-nardin.com.
Specifications of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture steel / enamel
- Case: 40mm diameter x 9.60mm height – stainless steel – sapphire crystal on front and back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: In-house Calibre UN-320 – Automatic – 48h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours and minutes, small seconds, date
- Strap: blue alligator leather with steel pin-buckle
- Ref. 3203-136LE-2/E0 – price: 8,500 CHF
The enamel dial looks fantastic and I love the lugs, they feel like someone put some real time into getting the angles right and are pleasantly reminiscent of watches like the vacheron cornes de vache. It feels like other elements of this watch are an afterthought though. The hands look too small and the subdial is the same design with the same date window as the Maxi Marine. Shame to put such a great dial on a watch and then write off the other key elements to the aesthetic.