At the upcoming Baselworld 2009 fair that will take place in Basel, Switzerland, the famous Swiss manufacture will present a new member of the Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine series of diving watches.
Staying true to the original Maxi Marine Diver series design, the new Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver Titanium chronometer (ref. 265-90-3/92) features the usual rose gold unidirectional rotating bezel with black rubber inlays, a Cyclops’ eye above the small round date window, and basically the same dial layout. That’s the good news. The bad news is below.
The bad news is that the new Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver Titanium, that wasn’t really small from the beginning, has become even larger growing to unhealthy 45 mm in diameter. Combine this with really chunky profile (the watch measures more than 16 millimeters top to bottom) and you get a really big timekeeper that, while being surprisingly light thanks to the brand’s use of titanium, will still occupy a lot of space on a normal wrist.
Adding insult to injury, UN has also equipped the chronometer with a huge winding crown protruding from the watch’s bezel for, let me guess, about 5.5 mm. Not a tragedy, but some of you may experience a painful moment of revelation when the crown will bite you in the back of your hand.
Again, the good news is that these are, so far, the only ergonomics issues that I was able to find at the first glance.
UN’s trademark rubber-metal (gold in this particular case, but you may also opt in for a titanium part) combination strap is, in my humble opinion, the best mean to keep the watch on a wrist, and all the vital information, that is represented on the timekeeper’s dial is so finely organized that it almost hurts.
Well, that’s no wonder because the Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver Titanium‘s dial layout is almost a direct quotation of that of the original maritime chronometers produced by the Swiss company in times when the combination of the Sun, a sextant and an accurate chronometer was the only means of telling a ships position on the face of the Earth.
For example, the power reserve indicator on the 12 o’clock reminded the skipper to timely wind the spring if he didn’t want to find himself lost in the ocean (small pun intended).
Even the “1846” printed in the red digits on the second’s sub-dial looks almost exactly like the individual numbers of the “real” maritime chronometers that the watch is so inspired with.
The signature coin-edge bezel also comes from the times when you had to actually open the chronometer’s case to manually position the hour and minutes hands.
The only deviation from the original concept is the rather small date window with a Cyclops’ eye above it that was introduced for the practicality sake and the lack of the Roman or Arabic numerals abandoned for the sake of style.
Well, you won’t find a wave-patterned dial and guilloche-decorated sub-dials on a real maritime chronometer either.
The watch is powered by the UN-26 movement, which is, alas, not an in-house caliber, but a decorated and readjusted ETA 2892 base caliber that you may also find inside the more robust DOXA SUB 5000T Seaconqueror diving watch.
The movement still beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and provides the chronometer with a power reserve of about 42 hours.
All in all, the watch is nice, but you’ll have to wear it with care, for never was a story of more woe than a polished titanium watch with lots of oxidized scratches on its case.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver Titanium chronometer specification
Price range: $22,500 (Retail)
Movement: Caliber UN-2626 (based on ETA 2892 automatic ebauche,) COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Functions & Complications: Date, power reserve indicator
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Titanium with 18 kt rose gold rotating bezel
Size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 14.60 mm
Dial: Black or silver with wave-pattern and white hour markers
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Rubber strap with 18 kt gold or titanium elements
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective, convex