Introducing Seven New Marine Torpilleurs from Ulysse Nardin

Introducing Seven New Marine Torpilleurs from Ulysse Nardin

THE LOW-DOWN

Does Ulysse Nardin’s Marine Torpilleur fly under the radar? I think so. As a high-end timepiece, it has lots to offer aesthetically as well as mechanically. Whether you opt for a time-only reference or tourbillon oeuvre, the watch serves as a homage to UN’s marine chronometers from the mid 19th century.

As part of its 175th anniversary celebrations this year, the Le Locle-based brand is rolling out colorful, celebratory editions. The very cool UFO —“unidentified floating object”— made its case as one of the craziest desktop chronometers ever, with its oscillating bean shape. But now, its awesomeness is wrist-ready with a series of new Marine Torpilleurs.

An old advertisement for Ulysse Nardin’s chronometers
An old advertisement for Ulysse Nardin’s chronometers
A catalogue with details on the deck watch torpilleur
A catalogue with details on the deck watch torpilleur
Ulysse Nardin’s Le Locle headquarters in 1908
Ulysse Nardin’s Le Locle headquarters in 1908

Ulysse Nardins’ Marine Torpilleur was first presented in 2017 as the proverbial reminder of the maison’s rich maritime history. The watch emulated the shapes of marine chronometers and were adapted to be worn on the wrist. The name alluded to the small and agile, fast-attack boats that were historically used to defend big ships. The Torpilleur presents several style references of the chronometers from UN, highlighting the legible dials with small seconds indication and a power reserve that maintains an aesthetic balance. The new references celebrate the brand’s expertise in the use of silicon escapements, Grand Feu enamel dials, and an all-around chronometry prowess.

Ulysse Nardins’ Marine Torpilleur was first presented in 2017
Ulysse Nardins’ Marine Torpilleur was first presented in 2017

Among the seven new watches, collectors will find attractive complications in dreamy executions. Each of these limited editions includes the legend “Chronometry since 1846”, as well as a slight restyling of the graphics to lighten the aesthetics. All watches offer the same style details: fluted bezel, Roman numerals, double sub-dials, and escapements with silicium hairsprings.

Marine Torpilleur Blue Grand Feu Enamel

Marine Torpilleur Enamel Blue with Marine Deck Chronometer from 1930.
Marine Torpilleur Enamel Blue with Marine Deck Chronometer from 1930.

This attractive watch maintains the general aesthetics since it was born in 2017, only with slight updates that lighten the graphic load, especially the simplified minute scale.

As usual, in this and all watches with special dials, Ulysse Nardin resorted to Donze Cadrans, a specialist in watch dials that the brand acquired in 2011 and is one of the best with Grand Feu enamelling. In this method, the dial decorated with enamel created from crystalline powders and oils is subjected to multiple firings at over 800 degrees Celsius. The cathedral hands, Roman numerals, and double sub-dials in a vertical arrangement are features that were originally seen in the UN chronometers from the 19th century. Inside, the “workhorse” UN-118 automatic caliber with silicon hairspring and a 60-hours power reserve is at the heart of this watch and all time-only Marine Torpilleurs.

The watch’s cathedral hands, Roman numerals and sub-dials in a vertical arrangement are features that were originally seen in the UN chronometers from the 19th century.
The watch’s cathedral hands, Roman numerals and sub-dials in a vertical arrangement are features that were originally seen in the UN chronometers from the 19th century.
The Grand Feu enamel dial for this watch has been made by Donze Cadrans.
The Grand Feu enamel dial for this watch has been made by Donze Cadrans.

Marine Torpilleur Panda

Marine Torpilleur Panda with Marine Wrist Chronometer 150th anniversary from 1996
Marine Torpilleur Panda (left) with Marine Wrist Chronometer 150th anniversary from 1996.

For the first time, Ulysse Nardin uses the “blue on white” color scheme on a dial, taking advantage of the classic shapes of the Marine Torpilleur and its subsidiary register scheme for the brand reserve (at 12 o’clock) and the seconds and date at 6 o’clock.) The Caliber UN-118, with its silicium components, gives life to this 300-piece limited edition.

Marine Torpilleur Chronograph Annual Calendar

Marine Torpilleur Annual Chronograph with Chronograph Chronometer produced from 1935 to 1980.
Marine Torpilleur Annual Chronograph with Chronograph Chronometer produced from 1935 to 1980.

This one’s my favorite of the lot! The caliber UN-153 makes its world debut in this outstanding timepiece, which features the most popular complication —the chronograph— and one of the most underrated and overlooked: the annual calendar. The 153 is an evolution of the UN-150 chronograph and features an annual calendar module like the one conceived by Ludwig Oechslin in 1996. Notably, all adjustments can be made with the crown. This watch is based on the pocket Marine Torpilleur chronographs made between 1936 and 1960. According to the brand, these pieces were used at the Berlin Olympics for their ability to measure time down to 1/10th of a second. The watch is available with white or blue dials and is limited to 300 pieces in each color.

Marine Torpilleur Moonphase

Marine Torpilleur Moonphase with Grand Complication Pocket Watch from 1920
Marine Torpilleur Moonphase with Grand Complication Pocket Watch from 1920

Ulysse Nardin has produced watches with moon phases since the 19th century when the moon played an essential role in navigation. These new watches carry that same essence with their blue and white dials. The UN-119’s moon phase indication is well integrated into the subdial at 6 o’clock, but the date has been dispensed with for this reference. Each color is limited to 300 pieces.

Marine Torpilleur Tourbillon Grand Feu

​​Marine Torpilleur Tourbillon Grand Feu with Marine Deck Chronometer Tourbillon James Pellaton from 1897.
​​Marine Torpilleur Tourbillon Grand Feu (right) with Marine Deck Chronometer Tourbillon James Pellaton from 1897.

This one is the great commodore of the Marine Torpilleurs fleet launched in celebration of the brand’s 175th anniversary. The watch is presented in a 42 mm 18k pink gold case and is accompanied by a Grand Feu enamel dial and cathedral hands, also in gold. On the other side, a sapphire caseback allows one to admire the caliber UN-128, a close cousin of the UN-178 of the Ulysse Nardin Anchor Tourbillon constant force escapement that won the “Tourbillon” category at the 2015 Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève. This exceptional piece is restricted to 175 copies.

Tech Specs

Marine Torpilleur Blue Grand Feu Enamel

REF. 1183-310LE-3AE-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1183-310LE-3AE-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1183-310LE-3AE-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)
REF. 1183-310LE-3AE-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)

Movement: Mechanical self-winding, UN-118, silicon hairspring and DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor, COSC certificate; hours, minutes, small seconds; date and power reserve gauge; 28,800 bph; 60-hour power reserve
Case: stainless steel, 42mm, Grand Feu enamel dial, sapphire case back, 50-meter WR
Strap: blue or brown alligator leather, stainless steel folding clasp; compatible with R-STRAP and rubber straps and metal bracelets
Price: CHF10,900; Limited to 175 pieces for each colour

Marine Torpilleur Panda

REF. 1183-310LE-0A-175/1A
REF. 1183-310LE-0A-175/1A

Movement: Mechanical self-winding, UN-118, silicon hairspring and DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor, COSC certificate; hours, minutes, small seconds; date and power reserve gauge; 28,800 bph; 60-hour power reserve
Case: stainless steel, 42mm, blue Grand feu enamel dial, sapphire case back, 50-meter WR
Strap: blue or brown alligator leather, stainless steel folding clasp; compatible with R-STRAP and rubber straps and metal bracelets
Price: CHF7,800 CHF; limited to 300 pieces

Marine Torpilleur Chronograph Annual Calendar

REF. 1533-320LE-3A-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-3A-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-3A-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-3A-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-0A-175/1A (white dial, blue strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-0A-175/1A (white dial, blue strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-0A-175/1B (white dial, brown strap)
REF. 1533-320LE-0A-175/1B (white dial, brown strap)

Movement: Mechanical self-winding, UN-153, silicon hairspring and DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor; hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph and annual calendar; 28,800 bph; 52-hour power reserve
Case: stainless steel, 44mm, sapphire case back, 50-meter WR
Strap: blue or brown alligator leather, stainless steel folding clasp; compatible with R-STRAP
Price: CHF 11,500 CHF; limited to 300 pieces for each colour

Marine Torpilleur Moonphase

REF. 1193-310LE-3A-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-3A-175/1A (blue dial/blue strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-3A-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-3A-175/1B (blue dial/brown strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-0A-175/1A (white dial, blue strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-0A-175/1A (white dial, blue strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-0A-175/1B (white dial, brown strap)
REF. 1193-310LE-0A-175/1B (white dial, brown strap)

Movement: Mechanical self-winding, UN-119, silicon hairspring and DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor, COSC certificate; hours, minutes, small seconds; moon phases and power reserve gauge; 28,800 bph; 60-hour power reserve
Case: stainless steel, 42mm, sapphire case back, 50-meter WR
Strap: blue or brown alligator leather and rubber, stainless steel folding clasp; compatible with R-STRAP and rubber and metal bracelet
Price: CHF 9,400 CHF limited to 300 pieces per colour

Marine Torpilleur Tourbillon Grand Feu

REF. 1282-310LE-2AE-175/1A
REF. 1282-310LE-2AE-175/1A

Movement: Mechanical self-winding, UN-128 with constant force escapement; hours and minutes; 60-sec. tourbillon; power reserve gauge; 18,000 bph; 60-hour power reserve
Case: 18K rose gold, 42mm, Grand Feu enamel dial, sapphire case back, 50-meter WR
Strap: black alligator leather and rubber, 18K 5N rose gold folding clasp; compatible with R-STRAP
Price: CHF 45,900 CHF; limited to 175 pieces

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Israel Ortega

Israel Ortega has always been passionate about luxury cars and watches. He has spent the last two decades covering these two areas of interest extensively. He started his career with Mexico’s leading auto magazine ‘Automóvil Panamericano’ and also worked at the ‘Car and Driver’ as its editor-in-chief between 1999 and 2006. He has been contributing to Revolution since 2012 and is currently the editor-in-chief for the Mexico and Latin American editions.

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