Last year, Ulysse Nardin unveiled the Marine Torpilleur (French for ‘torpedo boat’), a chronometer that is a lighter, thinner version the brand’s Marine Chronometer. This year, they have released a military version. They contain the same movement inside, but the outside is very different. The military reference in this model is a nod to the brand’s past as a supplier of marine chronometers to navies in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This 2018 piece comes in a 44mm sand-blasted steel case with a fluted bezel and oversized screw-down crown. It is available in with either a pale creamy dial with black hands and a tan leather strap, or with a black dial, Super-LumiNova-coated hands, and on a black leather strap with orange contrast stitching.
The extremely legible dial features large Arabic numerals, with a slightly recessed snailed sub dial that is characterised by two features of particular note; the initials “C.W.” to indicate that it is a ‘chronometer watch’, and a red number that shows the watch’s serial number out of the limited edition of 300. The placement of this number in such a large fashion on the dial is very unconventional . There is also the Classic Ulysse Nardin plaque on the side of the case, with the limitation number.
The words “Limited Edition” do appear as an engraving on the case back, along with an engraved image of a torpilleur. Behind this is the Ulysse Nardin in-house automatic COSC-certified Calibre UN-118. Something of note about this movement is the escapement, which is made of DIAMonSIL, a synthetic diamond grown on a silicon base. It was made in conjunction with Swiss firm Sigatec, and you can find out more about it at this link. There is also an oscillator with patented inertial balance wheel, and the patented silicon hairspring. The movement has a power reserve of 60 hours.
One thing to mention is that there is no date function on the Marine Torpilleur Military. Date indicators are useful, yes, but to my mind, in this instance its absence is something that works in its favour, as it means a ‘cleaner’ dial.
I don’t see this as a ‘military watch’ one as such, unless perhaps for officers, but what I do see is a handsome watch with clean good looking and highly legible dial, with a nice contrasting case finishing. It is easy on the wrist and a very tactile watch, with no sharp edges; just the slightly grainy texture that is the result of the sand-blasting.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Military has an RRP of EUR 7,900. If you want to read more about the early history of French torpilleur, click on this link.