Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur

Grand feu enamel dials, chronographs and high complications were on the menu at Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur for Geneva Watch Days, the micro watch fair taking place this week in Switzerland. Like Bulgari, Ulysse Nardin is a founding partner of the show and, while it only focused on one collection, presented five new models for its Marine Torpilleur collection. All come equipped with Silicium escapements (the company was among the first to use the material in 2001 on its Freak model) and are marked with the signature “Chronometry since 1846” to herald Ulysse Nardin’s 175th anniversary.
The newest generation of Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur chronometers debuted in 2017, as a lighter and thinner iteration of the brand’s Marine Chronometer. Today’s additions provide a range of options for collectors in the market for a dress watch in variations on sizing, complications and elegant dial techniques and designs.
While the highlight of this watch is the patented constant escapement tourbillon at 6 o’clock, which took home the Tourbillon Watch Prize at the GPHG (or Oscar’s of watchmaking) in 2015, the dial should not be overlooked. Over 90 percent handmade, it comes in elite black grand feu enamel executed by the enameling workshop, Donzé Cadrans, which was acquired by Ulysse Nardin in 2011. It also comes with oversize white Roman numerals and a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. It is, appropriately, set within a 5N rose-gold case that has been polished and satin-finished and has a fluted bezel. At $48,400 and limited to 175 pieces, this 42 mm by 11.93 mm watch is the priciest offering in the new lineup.
Two Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur versions ($12,100), in varnished white or a matte blue dial set in steel cases with fluted bezels, improve upon independent watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin’s 1996 annual calendar system with improvements to the settings, which can now be adjusted by turning the crown forward or backward for an easier setting of the time and date. The chronograph counter is displayed at 3 o’clock, while the annual calendar and small seconds are indicated in a subdial at 9 o’clock. At 44 mm by 13.66 mm, this is the largest watch in the new collection—a lot of space is needed to pack in the components required to build an annual chronograph—and it is limited to 300 pieces each.
Singing the blues! This striking grand feu blue enamel dial, also handmade by Donzé Cadrans, sets it apart from its brother, the Marine Torpielleur Panda (below). It features contrasting and rather prominent white Roman numerals, along with cathedral hands. It is equipped with the UN-118 caliber with 60 hours of power reserve, indicated at 12 o’clock with a larger subdial at 6 o’clock for the seconds and date window. The 42 mm by 11.3 mm stainless steel timepiece is limited to 175 pieces ($8,200).
This is the first iteration of a Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur dial at Ulysse Nardin. The Swiss watchmaker’s interpretation of the popular dial design—nicknamed for the bear due to its two dark eyes or counters, usually in a horizontal layout in the center of a white dial—and flips tradition in a vertical arrangement of the counters in the same fashion as the Marine Torpilleur Blue Enamel. Here, the blue subdials stand out against a white dial with blue oversize Roman numerals. Also equipped with the UN-118 caliber set within a 43 mm by 11.3 mm stainless steel case, this is essentially the same watch as above without the grand feu enameling and in a different colorway but is offered in 300 pieces ($8,200).
Finally, a moonphase version of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur ($9,900) is offered in either a blue sun-brushed PVD or varnished white dial set in a 42 mm by 11.13 mm stainless steel case with a fluted bezel. It is powered by the caliber UN-119, an automatic COSC-certified movement with 60 hours of power reserved indicated at 12 o’clock. Just beneath, at 6 o’clock, is the moonphase set within a subdial that also reads the small seconds. The moon is made with a multi-layer decal, while the starry sky is made of blue PVD. Both versions are limited to 300 each.