As most of you probably know, the Swiss watchmaking brand Ulysse Nardin has a long history of making precise and reliable marine chronometers that were used by literally thousands of European navigators. The legacy is still very noticeable when it comes to design of their maritime-inspired wrist watches and the new Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Manufacture automatic watch is no exception here. Featuring all the necessary design cues of a maritime chronometer (including a notched bezel,) the watch nevertheless looks elegant enough to be worn with a formal suit, even despite its oversized case.
Officially certified by the Swiss COSC authority as a chronometer, the new (it was introduced in 2011) UN-118 automatic movement not only offers you formidable 60 hours of guaranteed power reserve, but also comes equipped with their patented DIAMonSIL lever escapement with silicon oscillator and balance spring.
First revealed around five years ago when the brand presented its outrageous Freak DIAMonSIL model, the component has its parts crafted from lightweight and antimagnetic silicon, which is then treated with a thin layer of diamond coating that not only eliminates the need for lubrication, but also significantly increases the part’s durability.
By the way, the silicium 1.1.1 hairspring, which is employed in this mechanism was first used in their patented UN-66 self-winding movement that powered the 2008 Ulysse Nardin Sonata Silicium Limited Edition alarm watch.
As to the exterior of the piece, it is, as usual, very recognizable.
Delivered in a large 18-carat rose gold body (pictured, also versions in titanium-gold and titanium-steel mixes) 45 millimeters in diameter, the timekeeper comes equipped with a notched bezel (a clear nod to XIX century maritime chronometers) and the signature setting crown, which is partially protected from unexpected damage with a pair of crown guards.
Its vintage-styled “snow white” dial is treated with a very expensive and hard to make grand feu enamel that not only looks great, but also provides a high-contrast background for the Roman numerals, as well as for the “historic” hours and minutes hands that are covered with small patches of Superluminova.
As usual, the small seconds hand sub-dial, which is placed at 6 hours and shares a part of its intimate space with a round date window, is counterweighted with small power reserve indicator, which is located at 12 o’clock. Well, I don’t really like the way they have accompanied the French abbreviations “BAS” and “HAUT” with English “DOWN” and “UP” respectively, but I can certainly live with that.
According to the Swiss brand’s press release, the rose gold version of the watch will be issued only as a limited edition of just 350 pieces. Luckily, versions in titanium-gold and titanium-steel will be produced in as many examples as Ulysse Nardin will be able to sell.
The watch was officially introduced last week during the Baselworld 2012 event.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Manufacture Automatic watch specification
Movement: Automatic, UN-118, COSC-certified chronometer, designed in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 50
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: N/A
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: 18-carat rose gold (pictured) / titanium and gold / steel and titanium
Bezel material: Rose gold / titanium / stainless steel
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.00 mm
Case height: N/A
Lug width: N/A
Dial: Snow white Grand Feu enamel
Numerals: Roman, black
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Black, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black leather or rubber strap with 18-carat rose gold or titanium elements with folding clasp, or bracelet in 18-carat rose gold, two-tone titanium and 18-carat gold or two-tone titanium and steel
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Case back: Transparent