The 2009 Ulysse Nardin Classico self-winding chronometer takes place of the popular -not to say “iconic”- San Marko. While, for obvious reasons, not selling in quantities similar to their blingy Maxi Marine line of pseudo-divers, this is still one of the most elegant timekeepers in Ulysse Nardin’s current product line-up.
The new member of the Classico collection is available in both 18-karat rose or white gold and sports a round case that is both simple and elegant. Together with the more prominent winding crown and slightly larger lugs, it leaves a strong impression of understated elegance and style.
The Ulysse Nardin Classico comes in a large body about 40 millimeters in diameter, which may be somewhat of a disappointment to people that associate a dress watch with smaller cases no more than 38 mm in width.
The new collection is available with a choice of a black or silver dial. Yet, the most interesting is the version in white gold, because it is equipped with a multilayered bright blue Grand Feu enamel dial with guilloche pattern.
Compared to the original San Marco collection, the UN Classico sports much wider hour and minute hands, not only increasing the readability in poor lighting conditions but also providing it with an even more impressive look.
Although some bloggers claim the Caliber UN-815 to be manufactured in-house, it is -regretfully- not really so.
The movement is based on a top-grade version of the mass-produced ETA 2892-A2 ebauche: an heir to the classic cal. 2824 that is crafted to even higher standards allowed by modern technology. Some may argue that the choice of mechanism is not particularly suitable for a watch that at the time of me writing this brief “initial impressions” review costs between $14,000 and $19,000, but I don’t see a problem here.
First, unlike many other brands, Ulysse Nardin usually goes into great pains upgrading and adjusting the movements to run perfectly right out of the box. Second, since the watch is positioned as an entry-level model for those buying their first luxury timekeeper with a “Swiss Made” branding, it is more rational to use a version of a mass-produced caliber that is a lot less expensive to keep in good condition compared to in-house mechanisms.
However, equipped with a gold oscillating weight and officially certified by the Swiss COSC authority as a chronometer, the movement not only guarantees flawless operation for years to come but is also impressively accurate (for a mechanical caliber.)
It is not yet clear how much Ulysse Nardin is going to ask for this piece of art, but it is a must-have for those tired of the super-massive timepiece of the last decade.
See also: Ulysse Nardin Executive Dual Time GMT
UPDATE ON PRICING: Okay, we have some information regarding prices. The Swiss brand wants around $14,000 for a rose gold model and almost $19,000 for a version in the white gold body with blue grand feu enamel dial.
Photos: Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin Classico COSC specification
Price range: $14,000 / $19,000 (Retail)
Movement: Caliber UN-815 (base ETA 2892-A2,) automatic, COSC-certified, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold or white gold, transparent case back with sapphire crystal
Size: 40.00 mm
Dial: Silver-colored (ref. 8156-111-2/91,) Black (ref. 8156-111-2/92) or bright-blue
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Alligator leather strap with 18 ct gold folding buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective