Ulysse Nardin turned 175 this year, and I’m not sure whether that fact surprised me or not when I opened a recent press release and read about it. The company is old, no doubt, and I’ve seen a number of their older marine chronometers and mid-century dress watches. But so many of its meaningful advancements are bound up in the mechanical Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometers watch renaissance that was itself, at least partially spearheaded by the company’s longtime champion, the late Rolf Schnyder. In honor of the anniversary, UN is releasing the new Chronometry collection, which connects the company back to its historically significant role as a maker of marine chronometers. And of these new watches, a beautiful, grand feu enamel dial is the showstopper.
The layout of that dial, which comes via UN-owned Donzé Cadrans, is a familiar one to anyone who’s seen the company’s watches. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometers hours and minutes come from the central axis, and a power reserve indicator occupies a slightly unusual position up at 12. The caliber UN-128 tourbillon is down at 6 for a symmetrical look. And the tourbillon has the Ulysse Nardin Anchor escapement, which uses bucking silicon blades to reduce friction and the need for additional lubricant. Ulysse Nardin has long been at the forefront of using silicon in its watches, and this tourbillon is a part of that legacy. I like the look the of the Torpilleur range and how it’s been executed in this new watch within the Chronometry Collection. The watch combines a vintage-feeling design inspired by Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometers and a grand feu enamel dial with with one of the more sophisticated escapement technologies we have seen in recent times. That dichotomy feels wonderfully representative of Ulysse Nardin as a watchmaker.