The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar
In a world where watches are more or less all similar there are still some brands that dare to show off their strong personality, sometimes this personality might appear a bit too strong to the mass but that is exactly what makes these brands easily identifiable among the multitude of brands currently swamping the market. When I talk about Ulysse Nardin, I know perfectly well that I am addressing two precise categories; the small circle of people who are already familiar with this brand and all those who are attracted to aesthetically and technically unusual timepieces. To better understand this claim, you simply need to check what the brand has done when it presented its new Marine Deck.
When we talk about the real heir of a Marine chrono, there is no other brand in the world that can be easily associated to this concept than Ulysse Nardin. There are probably other manufacturers that have had an even longer relationship with the navy world but Ulysse Nardin is the manufacture that has made the most out of this special bond, mainly from the point of view of its image. The year 2016 coincides with the happening of three different events; Kering’s acquisition, the simplification of the brand’s image and the launch of a new in-house built caliber for the latest Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar Chronograph.
If you base the purchase of a new timepiece on the presence of an in-house built caliber within it, then Ulysse Nardin is without any doubt among those manufacturers that can boast the most interesting in-house built calibers currently on the market. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar Chronograph perfectly matches the recognizable style of a Marine that has been simplified and decluttered of everything that used to make it pompous and it also features a new caliber, called UN-153 that represents one of the benchmark products among annual calendars.
Of all the typical characteristics of the Marine a few of them have been maintained, namely the knurled bezel, the dial shows a perfect layout grouping the three different counters and it sports a flat sapphire crystal glass, where the only "flaw" is the presence of a magnifying glass above the month’s day. Personally, I would have removed the magnifier altogether and the window on the dial too, maybe I would have inserted a “pointer-date-like” indicator on the V-shaped layout despite the fact that it could have worsened the readability. Do you think that could be something feasible from a technical point of view? I can’t say that 100% but I am sure that this solution would definitely further declutter a dial that is well balanced and that represents something in between a modern sports watch’s dial and that of a classic chronograph with Roman numberals.
If I were asked to point out where the design work on an Ulysse Nardin watch and on this Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar Chronograph lies, I would probably say that it is on the case-middle that has been as overly-ornated as the dial has been simplified. There is a complex game of surfaces on the right hand side of the timepiece, here you can find the chrono buttons and the crown and all of them have been mirror polished and they have been covered with a blue rubber coating. The other side of this watch, on the other hand, is completely smooth and displays a screwed label that sports an Italic-written engraving listing the timepiece’s series number.
Technically speaking, the UN-153 caliber runs at a frequency of 4Hz and it sports a silicon-made spring and escapement and, according to Ulysse Nardin’s claim, a reduced amount of components that totals less than half of those present within a traditional module (thirty.) The caliber can be adjusted both backwards and forwards and it guarantees up to 52 hours of power reserve.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar Chronograph comes in three versions with different combintations of case/bracelets, starting from 11900€ for the stainless steel version up to 35000€ approximate for the red gold version with rubber integrated strap. It is bold, its is both sporty and classic, with a package of technical features that are top notch, among which is the silicon escapement wheel that represents a world's first in watchmaking.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®