The new Chronometry Collection from Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur 42mm looks back to the brand’s history as it turns 175, and a lot of that history is bound up in ship’s chronometers. But UN has also grown and evolved in more recent years. The company was a real pioneer in the use of silicon, and its UN-118 movement, with silicon hairspring and escape wheel and anchor in Diamonsil, are testament to this more recent past. In 2011, Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur 42mm bought dialmaker Donzé Cadrans, bringing old-fashioned in-house enamel dial-making into its quiver, and making fine blue enamel dials like the one in this 175-piece limited edition possible.
What we have in this watch is a look that will be plenty familiar to those who know Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur 42mm. Modeled after ships’ chronometers, the display is large and legible, with the hours and minutes emanating from the central axis and the seconds occupying a large sub-dial at six o’clock with a window for the date toward the bottom. The indicator for displaying the power reserve (60 hours) is up at the 12 o’clock position to balance it out and provide a symmetrical look. It’s a classic, 42mm watch that bridges a sport and dressy look with plenty of maritime vibes, as we’ve come to expect from UN.
Donzé makes enamel dials of extremely high quality the old-fashioned way, in old-school ovens, and has done so for several of the biggest names in watchmaking. The blue dial in this watch may not be an intricate cloisonné example depicting a design or a scene, but it has a depth to it that looks really wonderful in the supplied pictures from the brand. Combining such dials with a movement that is composed of silicon parts seems to me to be a very Ulysse Nardin way to go about watchmaking.
While I expect that having the date window probably made the process of producing these dials more difficult and contributed to a higher failure rate, I think this is one design that would be better off sans date window. The dial itself is fairly ornate to begin with. Enamel dials kind of have to be seen in person to be appreciated, and Donzé is known for making some really nice ones.