It’s uncommon for a model to be so many issues directly. Ulysse Nardin is concurrently a staunchly conventional and avant-garde model. It’s recognized for 2 separate wings of its historical past. On the one hand, it’s an esteemed producer of marine chronometers. Its timepieces have been famend for shepherding daring sailors from harbor to dwelling and again once more. Few names in our trade illicit the identical stage of respect on this area as UN, and but, in trendy instances, it’s for one thing fairly wild (one may go so far as to say freakish) and much from the excessive seas for which the model is greatest recognized.
Whereas the model’s early chronometers have been involved with the survival of the mariners who relied upon them, the discharge of the Ulysse Nardin Freak platform within the early 2000s busied itself with the survival of the trade.
At the moment, on the flip of the century, watchmaking was at an inflection level. The mechanical craft had risen from the grave, buoyed by a whole reevaluation of what a watch was and why one must be worn. Watches have been out of the blue collectible. The trade was thriving however appeared perplexed by its personal existence. How lengthy may this proceed? For the way for much longer may these outdated manufacturers carry on making outdated watches and hope to outlive? Any person wanted to do one thing. One thing wanted to alter. Someway, the trade wanted to reinvent itself as soon as extra.
Simply twenty years after it seemed just like the quartz disaster had put the ultimate nail within the coffin of conventional watchmaking just for it to be saved by a quartz-regulated phenomenon (Swatch), conventional watchmaking was as soon as once more rescued by an unlikely hero — a legacy watchmaking model that abruptly determined to give attention to totally non-traditional watchmaking.
The Freak was born. The gloves got here off. Fashionable watchmaking grew to become an thrilling place to be as a result of, in the end, it was lastly trendy. Ulysse Nardin continued to develop and diversify its Freak line however, regardless of at all times being revered and even beloved, the model didn’t maybe obtain its due.
Lastly, that’s altering. Below the watchful eye of Jean-Christoph Sabatier, Chief Product Officer of Ulysse Nardin for the previous seven (virtually eight) years, the model has firmly discovered its toes on this period. The catalog is sorted into distinct collections: the Freak, the Blast, the Classico, the Marine, and the Diver. There’s something for everybody within the present lineup. The Freak, the Blast, and the Classico characterize the extra experimental traces of the model, whereas the heritage of UN is perpetuated by the Marine household and the adventurous, hands-on spirit is exemplified by the Diver fashions.
Right this moment, we’re handled to new additions for the Marine and Diver traces. In an sudden twist, aventurine has been used for each dial shows. Initially, it maybe feels extra at dwelling on the Marine (a dressier, extra historically styled watch to start with), however, for me, as an avid fan of the Ulysse Nardin Diver assortment, seeing one in all my favourite dial supplies deployed on one in all my favourite dive watch platforms is each exhilarating and weird. Does it make sense from a sensible perspective? Possibly nearly as a lot because the forty diamonds studding the uni-directional bezel do, however the goal of this piece is obvious from the get-go: this can be a testomony to the model’s talents, not a dive watch supposed for use on the most depths its sturdy development can endure.
It’s a humorous factor to countenance as a designer. To take a look at a watch and know that by all teachable metrics, the piece in query mustn’t work, solely to search out your self admitting (even when a small quantity of duress is required to elicit such an admission) that it’s so stunning you simply don’t care.
That’s the place I’m with the Diver Starry Night time. It isn’t a instrument watch. Or, fairly, it was a instrument watch, however for the reason that aventurine dial and diamonds crashed the occasion, it ceased to be. What it’s, is one thing different. It’s a celebration. It’s arguably essentially the most dinner-ready desk diver within the historical past of watchmaking. This watch is aware of it isn’t seeing a drop of the drink, and it’s high-quality with it. Maybe it may deliver itself to make it so far as the seashore, however truly SCUBA diving? I doubt it.
Nevertheless, regardless of its thematically incongruous design, it succeeds in dressing the Diver in its best frock but. Consequently, it might be one of many higher watches supposed for ladies available on the market at the moment.
I don’t need to converse for feminine watch followers, however it’s pleasing to see a watch idea that was beforehand focused at males, handled so sympathetically. It’s smaller than the usual mannequin, however not by a lot. The Diver Starry Night time measures 39 mm in diameter versus the 42 mm of the usual line. So too is the automated caliber retained. Sure, there are diamonds on the bezel, however they don’t really feel as condescending as they might on a miniaturized quartz-regulated model of the identical watch. And maybe the addition of aventurine, a cloth that manages to straddle the gender divide, virtually softens the diamonds’ presence. It feels extra thought-out, extra thought of, extra critical a watch than many focused at girls (even at the moment).
However what’s aventurine? Properly, reality be instructed, it may be one in all two issues. There’s a stone known as aventurine that can be utilized in watchmaking from time to time (it has a really related look), however extra widespread is aventurine glass (or “avventurina”, which accurately means “accident” in Italian). That’s what we see right here on each the Diver and Marine Torpilleur fashions.
The story goes that someday in the course of the eighteenth century on the island of Murano in Venice (well-known for its fineglassware), a glass-maker unintentionally knocked a pot of copper filings right into a cauldron of molten glass. The ensuing materials with its metallic inclusions grew to become extremely fascinating. The purpose, after all, is to create aventurine glass with a uniform distribution of metallic flecks and free from any bubbles or impurities. Attaining that’s not simple. The outcomes, nevertheless, as we are able to see with these two stand-out items, take the time worthwhile.
There’s something much more particular in regards to the Diver mannequin’s dial, nevertheless. Amazingly, a skinny layer of aventurine glass has been positioned over a skinny layer of Mom of Pearl, which has created this swirling, cloud-like, nebula-esque impact on the dial. It’s, in a phrase, beautiful.
For the Marine Torpilleur, the aventurine dial is a departure from the norm. This unique 300-piece restricted version is introduced in a 42 mm chrome steel case and boasts a double-counter show with the moon section and small seconds indication at 6 o’clock and the watch’s 60-hour energy reserve (because of the in-house UN-119) displayed at 12.
It’s actually a fusion of the model’s heritage and its hopes for the long run. The styling recollects the traditional marine chronometers, the dial extols the model’s funding in retaining artisanal crafts alive, and the motion, with its ultramodern escapement (comprising a silicon steadiness spring in addition to a DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor), is a glowing advocate for innovation.
In my humble opinion, Ulysse Nardin is on course, and I for one couldn’t be happier that one of the crucial storied manufacturers of our craft has such a rosy highway forward of it.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Starry Night time
Reference: 8163-182B1-3A/3A (rubber strap), 8163-182B1-3A/1A (alligator strap)
Motion: Automated caliber UN-816
Features: Time and date
Case: 39 mm large chrome steel case set with 40 diamonds (0.8 carats), waterproof to 300 m
Strap: Blue structured rubber strap or white alligator leather-based strap, with chrome steel tang buckle
Value: USD 14,700 excluding taxes
Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine
Motion: Automated UN-119 Manufacture caliber with DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor
Features: Moonphase. Hours, minutes, small seconds.
Case: 42 mm large chrome steel case, waterproof to 50M
Dial: Aventurine with double counter: energy reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, small seconds and moon section disc at 6 o’clock
Strap: Blue alligator strap, leather-based strap
Value and availability: Restricted to 300 items, USD 13,600 excluding taxes