UN’s Black Sea line of black rubber-clad watches has recently been updated with a model that features a self-winding chronograph function. Rather predictably called Ulysse Nardin Black Sea Chronograph Automatic (ref. 353-92-3C), the new diving watch is supplied in the same gargantuan body as the last year’s Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver Black Sea (Ref. 263-92-3C) model, but features a different, a lot more legible combination of colors.
As usual for their lines of (more or less, depending on the thickness of your wallet) affordable timekeepers, the new watch is animated by an inexpensive caliber UN-35, which is based on the well-known, mass-produced ETA 2892-A2 work-horse. Since Ulysse Nardin usually goes into great pains in making their “outsourced” calibers meeting their extremely high quality standards (including thorough initial quality controls, various upgrades, and, of course, even more thorough adjustments,) this in not a problem per se, but some potential clients may find the lack of an “in-house” movement sort of disappointing for a piece that costs more than $10k USD.
Since the movement is equipped with a third-party chronograph module that runs atop of it, the final product features a rather overwhelming jewels count of whole 57 synthetic stones. Only 21 of them belong to the base movement ant the other 36 are used to in the chronograph module.
The assembly is protected from salty water and sand inside an oversized stainless steel body. Almost 46 millimeters in diameter the case is covered in a thin layer of black rubber, as are the chronograph push-pieces, screw-down setting crown and the unidirectional rotating bezel with a nice wave pattern and the usual diving scale and a large dot of Superluminova at “00” position.
The dial of the Black Sea Chronograph has also been radically changed, although the family DNA is still clearly visible.
The pair of skeletonized hour and minute hands now feature different, even easier to read shape and the applied hour markers (also filled with white Superluminova) seem to be inspired by Hublot timekeepers.
The tri-compax chronograph layout is clearly standard with a small seconds indicator placed at 3 hours, while the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters are located at 9 hours and 6 hours respectively.
Although the dial looks good, I must admit that I am extremely disappointed with UN’s inability to stick to more or less the same design language even within a single family of watches.
Not sure about the price of this thing, but the aforementioned Ref. 263-92-3C model was initially offered at some $10,000, so there is a good chance that the chronograph model will be even more expensive, even despite a weaker Euro and the Swiss franc.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin Black Sea Chronograph (ref. 353-92-3C) specification
Price: $10,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber UN-35, based on ETA 2892-A2, adjusted in five positions, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 57
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Blacked-out oscillating weight with “Ulysse Nardin” inscription and the brand’s logo
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel, vulcanized black rubber
Size: 45.80 mm
Case height: 15.80 mm
Hour markers: Applied, facetted, luminous (white Superluminova)
Hands: Luminous (white Superluminova,) open-worked
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with ceramic middle segments and deployant clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective