The round window for the day screen looks very nice and looks like a ship’s porthole. On the opposite side a smooth surface with a screwed label indicating the sequential number in a traditional italic script. You can spend long winter evenings doing just that.Like calibre UN-118 in the Marine Chronometer Manufacture, released in 2012, also calibre UN-150 in the Marine Chronograph Manufacture of 2014, the caliber UN-153 movement is manufactured in-house and holds the Ulysse Nardin Certificate, indicating the watch matches the organization’s testing standards that go beyond the COSC tests. Calibre UN-153 expands the in-house automatic integrated column-wheel based chronograph motion UN-150 with an innovative yearly calendar designed by Ludwig Oechslin. Oechslin is famous for his command of simplicity: the skill to develop complications as efficiently, functional and simple as possible. A skill that many designers try to find but one that’s difficult to master. Rather than including another module, the watchmakers managed to come up with an yearly calendar system of 12 elements (note: CEO Patrik Hoffmann speaks about just 7 additional parts during our video interview). A truly ingenious job which demanded only three additional wheels!
Ulysse Nardin sure knows how to go charmingly overboard with design. The creators of the Freak often combine aggressive styling with upscale horology in their varied collection of sport and dress watches. In recent years, UN have also expanded their selection of diver’s watches with their Marine Diver, vintage-styled Diver Le Locle, and Diver Chronograph Artemis Racing. In an effort to further expand their collection of densely appointed diver’s watches, Ulysse Nardin just released the repetitively named Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition, a 46mm, in-house caliber-powered diver’s watch with 1,000m of water resistance. Here, we’ll go hands-on with the new watch to find out whether it’s better suited to use as a dive timer or a boat anchor.
All images by David Bredan
Starting with the case, the Diver Deep Dive is housed in a 46mm wide block which is produced in titanium to keep the overall weight down to acceptable levels. At nine, the Diver Deep Dive has a totally-unnecessary-but-cool “automatic, screw-on decompression valve system,” which is Ulysse Nardin’s language for a helium release valve. This little screw-on attachment also has a thin, red rubber ring just outside its “He” signed center. While I won’t go too deep into it here, a helium release valve is a way for helium gas to escape from inside a watch as its wearer, a professional saturation diver, is decompressed from working depths inside a saturation system. If you’re not one of those people, and you almost certainly aren’t, this little valve does you absolutely no good other than looking cool – as I would argue it does here.
At two o’clock, a large screw down crown, also sporting a red rubber ring, sits beneath a proportionately large fold over crown guard in a style reminiscent of the Luminor from Panerai. The crown guard is engraved with “1000M” in red on its front facing surface and also decorated with a little hammerhead shark motif on its side. At the other end of the crown guard, an engraved limited edition number, also in red, is exposed. A wide, titanium, unidirectional diver’s bezel, partially covered with wave patterned rubber, aids in the diving tool argument and is deeply machined at its circumference for grip. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the case is actually the screw-down case-back, which is engraved with a head-on view of a hammerhead shark, a visual theme which, as I’ve mentioned, repeats itself throughout the watch.
Our troops from the ground at SIHH (namely David, who took these images and handled the watch) reported back on the Diver Deep Dive not only having a ridiculously bad name, but also some very, very sharp edges on its case. Some edges of the bezel and especially the crown guard had what felt like raw, machined edges as sharp as the CNC would leave them. Though a luxury watch, in our shared opinion, should not have any sharp edges like these anywhere, here they were to be felt prominently on a range of edges. We wouldn’t call it dangerous – but we sure wouldn’t want that sharp edged crown guard catch on the side of a leather bag or jacket. This is one area UN should by all means fine tune.
After closing the clasp, the upper element is secured, then bottom, which feels slightly counter-intuitive. The three-element grip in addition to the badge give the rubber strap an unmistakable Ulysse Nardin look.The 43mm fluted situation using its concave barrel is a mixture of titanium and steel, so the watch is remarkably mild on the wrist and will not impede rapid action on the deck. The remaining side of the instance comes with an abysmal badge using the watch number within an elegant script. The steel bezel, the heaviest aspect of the case, using its coin edged bezel prevents making the opinion top-heavy. The caseback is secured by six screws, and includes a sapphire crystal for seeing the motion. Built into the titanium case are just two crown guards, giving the screw-down crown a nest of security. Ulysse Nardin’s initial partnership with and then purchase of Sigatec allowed them to perfect a DIAMonSIL escapement; DIAMonSIL is the proprietary diamond coated silicon material. When it came time to present this mechanical achievement, the company opted to introduce the motion in their Marine Chronometers. The overdue Rolf Schnyder at 2006 introduced a limited-number, in-house calibre 160, and current CEO Patrik Hoffmann in 2012 recognized the dream by providing UN-118 as the first in-house, complete manufacturing motion. We waxed eloquently about the technical marvels of this COSC certified movement in our prior post, so today we can speak about the movement’s appearance.
The Ulysse Nardin’s navy blue dial is embossed with 15 (I counted them) three dimensional profiles of hammerhead sharks. Large, applied luminous hour markers and skeletonized hands keep the diver’s watch theme alive while a large, off center, small seconds sub-dial, also emblazoned with its own hammerhead, tracks the seconds in the five o’clock position by means of a tiny, red lumed hand. A circular, black-on-white date window is also carefully tucked into the three o’clock spot. This dial, while I still have to call it busy, is actually not terribly cluttered, and it does a good job at keeping the dive watch-tool watch vibe strong – and not just with the sharks.
Having a clear, legible dial is key for a diver’s watch, and the Diver Deep Dive looks to deliver in that department, an essential for a diver to know whether his watch is running or not while submerged. However, giving the extreme likelihood this watch will never be deeper than the bottom of a luxurious pool, it’s not much of an issue. I can especially appreciate the three-dimensionality of it all, with the applied markers that stretch above the dial, or the bridge that carries the – mind you, nicely executed – Ulysse Nardin logo. The “Hammerhead shark” text is nothing but absolutely hilarious – as though it was to serve as a reminder so its wearer can tell what those creatures are on his watch, when asked at the bar.
Straps are also key for dive watches, and the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition is designed to meet the briny depths on a matching blue rubber strap with two inset titanium pieces, one near each lug. The titanium detail on the twelve o’clock side of the case is engraved with the maker’s name while the six o’clock titanium piece reads “Limited Edition.” A signed deployant clasp rounds out the strap, which is well matched overall to the look of the watch. The strap is to be cut to size which is not what we’d prefer, but it is true that once you get a strap like this down to fit, they tend to be more comfortable than those that have the excess length flopping around.
In keeping with Ulysse Nardin’s tendency in last years to include manufacture movements in their watches, the Diver Deep Dive features the UN-320 caliber, a silicium spiral and anchor escapement-equipped, totally in-house conceived and manufactured movement with 48 hours of power reserve. Ulysse Nardin see the 320 as something of a do it all automatic option given the UN-320’s inclusion in many of UN’s offerings in this price category. While the movement which keeps a diver’s watch going is generally of little importance to actual divers as long as it works, the inclusion of an in-house manufactured caliber in the Diver Deep Dive shows UN’s longing for independence and a consistently high esteem is taking shape.
While the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark is a lot to look at initially, I have come to appreciate the styling for its unapologetic adherence to the extreme looks we have come to expect from UN. While it won’t be for everyone, it’s nice to see a brand really go after – and even exaggerate – the dive watch look as Ulysse Nardin have done with the Diver Deep Dive. Of course, it’s doubtful too many actual divers will take the Diver Deep Dive subsea, but I feel safe in saying this watch is not primarily made for them, but for those of us who love and enjoy highly overbuilt watches. With an instantly recognizable look and an in-house caliber as standard, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark is an interesting option from Ulysse Nardin, available in a limited series of 300 pieces at a retail price of $12,000. ulysse-nardin.com
I enjoy that Ulysse Nardin retained the magnifier lens over the date window. All these are less and less common these days but I still like them in several instances. The Marine Chronometer Manufacture watches will have three strap choices with cases in both 18k rose gold in addition to titanium combined with gold. There is also a titanium cased model with a steel bezel. Strap choices include the iconic Ulysse Nardin rubber dive-style straps with the metallic connections, as well as alligator straps and full gold or titanium and metal bracelets. Though the prices for the gold limited edition model is as high (given the material) as $36,800, the normal Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Voyage Bleu Replica Manufacture watches range from $10,400 – $17,800 which is not too bad.Ulysse Nardin’s history and identity is connected with that of the marine chronometer, and in a year underpinned by a return to classic pieces for design inspiration, the brand has tapped in to this history and recently introduced the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur, which it predicts a chronometer for the modern era (though predicated on older pocket watch designs). When it might be inspired by vintage marine chronometers, the Marine Torpilleur is a more modern and less formal alternative to the brand’s present Marine Chronometer watches.Torpilleur is the French term for a destroyer, that is a small, nimble warship. Its usage is meant to be a sign that this is somewhat lighter, thinner version, which strictly speaking, is true. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur comes in a 42mm case instead of the 43mm of this Marine Chronometer – which is truly a “splitting-hairs” degree of difference. The actual distinction is from the motion and complications. Contrary to the Marine Chronometer watches that are powered by the Calibre UN-113 with annual calendar complication, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur is powered with the automatic Calibre UN-118 which delivers date, time, and power reserve functions, but no yearly calendar.
The Marine Collection is an development of this Marine deck chronometers and is UN’s number one product family. The name of this Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar which we discuss now, is still Marine Chronograph, so without “Annual Calendar” while is certainly packs this very beneficial calendar disadvantage. Due to the few additional parts needed for the ‘upgrade’ from date purpose to annual calendar, the necessary cost increase was almost zero. Therefore Ulysse Nardin decided to maintain the price more or less the same as for its Marine Chronograph, and also to keep the name the same. This means that you receive the yearly calendar function for free, and it is also not cited in the full name. I love it when brands do things like this!The design of case and dial indicates the personality of UN’s Marine collection, inspired by the design of deck watches; hardy, practical, a robust instance, easily legible, and Roman numerals. With its grooved bezel, its screw-down crown and pushers, the strong structure of the case as well as the cleanliness of the dial, the Annual Calendar amalgamates the appearances of a sports watch along with a classic chronograph. The hands are blackened, and feature luminescent material for improved legibility in the dark, and just the coloured hand, is your red small hand that indicates the months.