Ulysse Nardin is an eclectic, wholesome, historic and highly unique maison. Launched in 1846 by the visionary watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, the pursuit of horological excellence began with the design and execution of precision marine chronometers. Fast forward to well over a century later, and Ulysse Nardin prides itself on the production of its contemporary marine chronometers, all the while paying tribute to a past that is clearly embedded into each of its modern timepieces.
The piece in question today is one of Ulysse Nardin's newest, in the Diver Chronometer 44mm. Clad in a titanium and 18k rose gold case, the Diver Chronometer 44mm reference 1185-170-3/BLUE appeased and enthralled throughout the time I spent with it.
At 44mm in diameter, the piece wore beautifully. It sat comfortably and securely on the wrist, with minimal body roll even with brisk arm and hands movements. I wore the Diver Chronometer 44mm over the course of several days in varying environments, where the piece excelled under every variable. My assumption is that this was, in part, due to the soft yet sturdy blue rubber strap as well as the cross-material case of titanium and rose gold, emphasising heft and presence with lightness and rigidity.
There were several architectural components of the case that really emphasised Ulysse Nardin's pursuit to create something a little bit different, especially when compared with other similarly priced and positioned timepieces. Multiple rivets, dips, angles and sharp edges adorn the case, with the unidirectional rotating bezel designed with ergonomic ridges for finger placement and a riveted rose gold crown.
The dial was, in a word, exquisite. It was difficult to capture the textural components, but the blue dial did feature a grainy finish which extended to the two recessed registers. This graininess was offset by the smoothness of the bezel and the bold, very blocky look of the hands and hour markers.
In lighter environments, the shine of the rose gold glistens through and compliments the dazzling blue dial and strap, while in low light there is a certain inconspicuous darkness offset by the warmth of the rose gold that turns the Diver Chronometer into a completely different watch.
Where functionality and versatility are concerned, you'd be hard pressed to find a like-for-like watch that is as adaptable as the Diver Chronometer 44mm. I can't emphasise enough the unspoken requirements for a watch priced in the realm of the Diver Chronometer 44mm to be malleable and accommodating for a variety of situations, such was the case with this particular model. I wore this casually and semi-formally over the course of my time with it, and it held its own impeccably well.
The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm is powered by the Calibre UN-118 manufacture automatic movement, comprising 260 parts with a power reserve of 60-hours. This is a utilitarian movement that's both a workhorse in efficiency and a charmer in its execution and hand-finishings.
My short time with the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm was ample for me to come to the conclusion that this is a watch well worth the money. Visually the watch was supreme, understated, finished to the highest degree and edged towards aesthetic perfection. It was well balanced, harmonious in its finishings and adorned with meticulous care and attention to detail. Mechanically, the Diver Chronometer 44mm was capable, finished to the degree of what you would expect from a watch costing this much, and well in line with the horological standards of today's chronometers. Through and through, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm is an entirely considerable option that I feel needs to be seen and held in the metal to fully appreciate and understand. My conclusion is that this is a damn fine watch deserves your serious consideration.
The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm 185-170-3/BLUE is priced at $18,450.