Although skeletonised watches and dive watches seem to be poles apart, Ulysse Nardin fuses these unlikely bedfellows by borrowing features from two collections. The result is an eye-catching study in technical skeletonisation with a robust, sporty presence capable of fathoming depths of 200 metres. To celebrate UN’s partnership with retailer Seddiqi, visitors to the Dubai Watch Week were given a sneak preview of just ten models of the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton. However, today marks the official launch of the radically skeletonised dive watch attired in a bold and contemporary combination of materials and colours.
Proving that skeletonisation and resilience can go hand in hand, the Diver X Skeleton fuses elements from the sporty Diver with the technical prowess of the Blast Skeleton – a family of watches distinguished by the large X guarding the skeletonised mechanics on most models. The result, which first surfaced in 2021, is the blue and orange Diver X Skeleton reviewed here by Robin.
Contrary to the robust appearance and large dimensions of the case, measuring 44mm diameter x 16mm height, it is exceptionally lightweight. Made of titanium with a black DLC coating, the case features alternating sandblasted flanks and satin finishings on the lugs. Underscoring its sporty dive watch appeal, bright yellow rubber crown guards protect the crown from unwanted knocks and ensure the 200m water-resistance of the case.
Where things get interesting is the incorporation of a black concave Carbonium® insert in the notched rotating dive bezel. A new-generation material sourced from the French aerospace sector, Carbonium® is a super-light, high-performance material made from carbon fibres and high-temperature epoxy. Not only is it one of the most robust and durable materials developed by scientists and used for the fuselage and wings of aircraft, but it is also three times stiffer than titanium and 40% lighter than aluminium. According to the brand, the production of lightweight Carbonium® has 40% less environmental impact than other carbon composites since it uses remnants from aeronautical pieces. The high pressure and high-temperature conditions needed to produce Carbonium® produce the marbled or mottled pattern you can appreciate on the bezel, which is unique to each watch. The unidirectional rotating bezel displays a 60-minute scale with white and yellow markings.
Fusing two very different models can be tricky and keeping the powerful interface of the Blast Skeleton, with its massive X traversing the dial, turned out to be one of the most complex developments ever undertaken by Ulysse Nardin. On most Blast Skeleton watches, the large X pattern is fixed to the flange, and the second slightly smaller X is supported by the top rectangular window. Looking at the movement – calibre UN-372 – you can appreciate how the larger X, picked out in black and yellow, is fixed to the flange and set at a lower level. The second black PVD-coated X is far more complex and contributes to the tiered effect of the dial. Not only is it faceted with brushed and polished finishings and placed on a higher level than the two-tone X, but its tips barely graze the flange for support, producing the sensation that the X is floating above the movement. A similar effect occurs with the indices that seem to be suspended above the flange.
Since legibility is vital in a dive watch, the hands and the indices are treated with white Super-LumiNova and the central seconds with yellow lume. Despite their powerful presence, the two Xs allow for an almost unobstructed view of the movement with its black Carbonium® barrel cover at noon and view of the gears and the brand’s extra-large silicium oscillator. As our readers know, Ulysse Nardin spearheaded the silicium or silicon revolution. Introduced inside the escapement of the 2001 Freak, silicon is now used across the board by watchmakers thanks to its lightweight properties and its resilience to temperature and magnetic interference.
To power the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton, UN’s engineering team had to redesign the manual-winding UN-371 calibre – first created for the Blast Skeleton collection – and convert it into an automatic movement. The resulting UN-372 calibre features a large X-shaped rotor with openworked arms to avoid interfering with the view of the movement from both sides. Beating at 3Hz/21,600vph, the movement delivers a sturdy 72-hour power reserve.
A sporty yellow rubber strap matching the yellow details on the dial and bezel accompanies the dive watch with a black ceramic UN element and a titanium deployant buckle. It is also available on black R-Strap with scratch closing made from recycled ocean fishing nets.
Availability & Price
The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton Black is limited to 175 pieces and retails for CHF 24,500, EUR 23,300 or USD 25,800. For more information, please visit Ulysse Nardin.