It’s no secret that seafaring heritage is a huge inspiration for Ulysse Nardin. This watch is a perfect manifestation of that way of thinking, both inside and out. There’s plenty of old-school military styling on the dial and a movement that carries not one, but two certificates testifying to its accuracy. This is Ulysse Nardin doing what it does best from top to bottom.
The Marine Torpilleur Military is no small watch. It has a 44mm stainless steel case with a slim knurled bezel that gives the expansive dial the appearance of being even larger than it is. The entire thing has a sandblasted finish that I really like. It’s not your usual brushed look and overall the appearance is much softer and more subtle. The dial is an eggshell color that definitely has some vintage inspiration without looking faux-aged at all. The luminous printed Arabic numerals are clear and easy to read and the large sub-dial for the running seconds balances out the negative space.
This is also a limited edition, with 300 pieces being made in each of two dial colors (there’s a soft black alternative to the eggshell you see here), and you can see each watch’s serial number right on the dial. It’s not the most subtle thing I’ve ever seen on a watch dial, but I actually don’t mind the little bit of red text. It adds some punch to the otherwise subdued package. The “C.W.” below indicates that this is a “Chronometer Watch” (more on that in a minute).
Turning the watch over, you’re greeted by a solid stainless steel caseback. On that back though is a stamped depiction of a toipilleur, a small, quick-moving warship used during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As the namesake for this watch, it makes sense to see one on the reverse.
Inside this watch is the in-house caliber UN-118, which is more than a basic time-only movement. The automatic UN-118 utilizes Ulysse Nardin’s silicon anchor escapement and carries a 60-hour power reserve, and in this watch it comes certified with two separate certificates attesting to its chronometer-level performance: a COSC certificate and a Ulysse Nardin certificate. I’m not quite sure why you’d need one from Ulysse Nardin if you get one from COSC, but I guess it can’t hurt.
This is a watch that benefits greatly from being seen in-the-metal. On paper it’s a competent time-only option with restrained styling and classic good looks. However, it’s not until you hold it in your hand that you notice the particularly nice case finish or the way the dial printing balances legibility and restraint. Most of all, I was surprised by how comfortable this watch was, despite the large size.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Military is a limited edition of 600 total pieces –300 with the light eggshell dial you see here and 300 with a black dial. Both are priced at $7,900. For more, visit Ulysse Nardin online.