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The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer is as a born navigator on the world’s oceans at home. Thanks to horando.de, I had the chance to take a closer look at the exquisite timepiece from the upper luxury segment. In this review, you’ll find out what the big marine chronometer is all about.
Everything you need to know about Horando
The online portal Horando is one of the most important stores for luxury watches in the German-speaking world and your place to go if you want to buy watches quickly and safely. At Horando you will find watches of the brands Audemars Piguet, Omega, Hublot, IWC, Breitling, Rolex, Panerai, Tag Heuer, Tudor and – especially important for today – Ulysse Nardin. In addition, Horando is an official concessionaire and authorized dealer of the brands Alpina, Frederique Constant Geneve and U-BOAT Italo Fontana.
Important to know – all watches are originals. This means that manufacturer’s warranties, certificates and original packaging are always included, if available. Internationally, the delivery is made by insured value shipping. Who appreciates the personal contact, can also take his watch from the pick-up lounge in Bamberg. If you want to sell your watch, Horando will buy and certify it.
This model of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer was kindly provided to me by Horando. We also worked together on my review of the Rolex Sea Dweller 4000 Single Red. All important links to the watch and the online store can be found at the end of this review.
How ship chronometers shaped a watch brand
Shipping is deeply rooted in the history of Ulysse Nardin. The Swiss brand was founded in 1846 by the watchmaker of the same name. After his sudden death thirty years later, his son took over the business and specialized the family business in marine chronometers. A complete success, as it turned out after only a short time. Even today, the anchor in the logo is a reminder of those glorious times. In the meantime, after several changes of ownership, Ulysse Nardin belongs to the French luxury goods group Kering (Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and, in the watch industry, also represented by Girard-Perregaux).
With its maritime and sporty-elegant design, the Marine collection is mainly found on sailing and motor yachts. Because their owners also belong to the core target group of Ulysse Nardin. The Swiss manufacturer produces luxury watches. And this includes the marine collection in its numerous versions. Released in 1996 to mark Ulysse Nardin’s 150th anniversary, the watches celebrate the brand’s importance to shipping and the world’s navies. And not only with a classic design, but also with precise technology, some innovations and in quite a few variants.
One of them is the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer with the reference number 1183-122/40. Purely in terms of size, the chronometer with the in-house manufactured caliber UN-118 belongs to the absolute top of the collection. Is the mighty timepiece the ultimate on the ships and yachts of this world? Read more about it in this watch review.
A luxury timepiece
Massive! That’s my first thought when I free the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer from its protective foil as part of Horando’s latest watch shipment and spin it in my hand. The watch-turned-demonstration of power leaves a lasting impression, that’s for sure. The elegant white dial with blue applications is framed by a sporty stainless steel case. This, in turn, transitions into an interesting strap lug design, to which a blue rubber leather strap is attached. The two totalizers, reminiscent of measuring instruments, are the small seconds and a practical power reserve indicator.
This Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer was built in 2021 and is brand new. As you would expect from Horando, the scope of delivery includes not only the watch but also the original box and the important original papers such as the warranty card.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer on the wrist
On the wrist, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer makes quite a statement. This is primarily due to the diameter of proud 45 millimeters, which you should definitely wear confidently. The chic and timeless look with Roman numerals does the rest and exudes seriousness. This makes the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer the perfect watch for the important moments in life. This can be the business meeting, the gala evening or simply the free time on your own boat. For this, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer is the perfect companion.
But to what type of watch can the luxury timepiece be assigned? This is indeed difficult to judge. Because despite some typical features (more on that later), I wouldn’t call the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer a diver’s watch. Probably more as a very classy dresswatch with some sporty and maritime elements, if you think about the rubber strap or the totalizers.
Functional and noble – the case
Let’s go in search of the details that distinguish the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer from cheaper premium watches and lift it into the luxury segment. They are definitely found in the case, where watch lovers get their money’s worth. This specimen was constructed from stainless steel. For a not inconsiderable surcharge, the Marine collection also offers wristwatches with cases made of 18-karat rose gold, for example. The stainless steel used here was impeccably crafted and has a great finish that more than deserves the label ‘luxury’. All surfaces of the case middle, case back and fluted bezel are highly polished and give the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer its classy look.
The fact that Ulysse Nardin doesn’t shortchange the functionality of its luxury watches is evident from the crown protector, which fulfills its namesake function very expediently in case you do want to get active with the watch – I actually imagine this feature being very useful on a sailing ship. On the opposite side of the crown, the manufacturer has screwed a plaque. It shows the production number of the model, which in this case is 2613.
The dial is read through a very clear watch glass. It has no curvature and is made of – who would have thought – sapphire. Well, you can expect sapphire crystal in a watch of this price range. No alternative is as shock and pressure resistant. Which brings us to the next point, water resistance. Here, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer reaches diving depths up to a maximum pressure of 20 bar. These are the just mentioned diving qualities, which make it clear that we are dealing with a quite serious functional watch.
UN-118 – the manufacture caliber in detail
One of the highlights of the marine watch is its six-fold screw-down case back. Like many other automatic timepieces, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer has a glass viewing caseback, which appropriately presents the heart of the watch. That generous diameter of the glass window is very nice.
The “heart” of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer is the UN-118, an automatic caliber made in the in-house manufacture. The fact that Ulysse Nardin produces its own movements and does not buy base calibers is another point that justifies the title ‘luxury watch’.
This UN-118 comes with a power reserve of 60 hours at 28,800 vibrations per hour, which is far above the industry average. So, theoretically, you can not put the watch on for two and a half days without having to rewind it afterwards. I find the display of the remaining power reserve under 12 o’clock very successful, which was very useful during my test time and which I would also like to see on other automatic watches.
The dial of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer
The white dial with the blue indices is kept quite simple – and that’s exactly why it’s so good! Because the flat surface structure and the totalizers without decoration reduce the view to the essential: the time. The time is read on the basis of blue Roman numerals, which are not illuminated. This function is reserved for the black hands. However, if the time has to be read in the dark, this is no problem at all. However, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer does not reach the functionality of a designated diver’s watch. This also applies to the stainless steel bezel, which is fluted, but cannot be rotated and also has no indices.
At 6 o’clock, the designers have included a circular date window, which is located within the small seconds. This, like the power reserve indicator, impresses with red color accents, which reminds me strongly of historical gauges. Neatly printed name lettering successfully rounds off the already very good overall impression.
Unconventional and great – the rubber strap
Ulysse Nardin equips its Marine Chronometer with a blue rubber strap, which is unique in its design. Visually, the bracelet and lugs interlock like two bricks, which means that the bracelet cannot be moved as far as you like. A shorter rubber link and a stainless steel link can be removed from the bracelet to optimally adjust the length to your own wrist. Unusually, a stainless steel folding clasp sits at the other end of the bracelet.
The blue rubber strap is somewhat unconventional, but superior to the competition in terms of practicality. Its folding clasp ensures a very secure fit. The tight fit of the bracelet at the lugs results in less wear, which has a positive effect on longevity.
My conclusion about the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer is one of the best dress watches I have ever tested. The bulky timepiece with the light, maritime design can rightfully call itself a luxury watch. Because when it comes to the workmanship of the selected materials, the competition is no match for the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer. One of the highlights is certainly the automatic caliber, which was made in the company’s own manufacture and is perfectly matched to the demands of this full-blown chronometer.
Nevertheless, those who are interested in buying the Marine Chronometer should be aware that they are not purchasing a diver’s watch. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer doesn’t want to be that either – rather an elegant dress watch with luxurious functionality.
In the Horando store, the watch costs 7.840,- euros. That’s another 20% less than stated in the manufacturer’s recommended retail price. My final thanks go to Horando, as always, for making this watch review possible!