Ulysse Nardin’s legacy as a maker of on-board ship’s chronometers – highly precise timekeepers used for navigation on the world’s seas – is fairly well known among watch lovers. After all, some of the company’s most popular timepieces are those that point to its nautical legacy. Ulysse Nardin’s horological prowess on the high seas even saw it partner with the American Navy as early as 1905, when UN answered a call to submit marine chronometers for a competition for precision torpedo boat timepieces. Ulysse Nardin won this chronometer competition, and several thereafter, they say. This is a watch that commemorates an important chapter in Ulysse Nardin’s history, and which bears the allusive name Torpilleur.
It’s a stainless steel watch made in a limited edition of 173 pieces, a number that nods to the span of years since UN’s founding. Inside is thoroughly modern in-house caliber featuring an escapement that incorporates silicon components in order to achieve lower friction and less wear and tear over time. The movements are regulated to be true chronometers. And indeed, UN has received COSC certification for the calibers sourced for this run of watches.
You can view this in-house movement through the timepiece’s see through sapphire caseback, which has been laser engraved “US Limited Edition” and the Navy’s Semper Fortis motto. The strap is made from blue sailcloth.
One tends to expect oversized watches from Ulysse Nardin, and this one is definitely that, at 44mm in diameter. This is a timepiece that I’d imagine would make a pretty outsize and immediate immediate impression if you saw it on a medium sized wrist out in the wild.
The beautiful white dial has been outfitted with classic blued hands and painted with inky black numerals. If you look at the power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, you’ll also see that the number 24 has been highlighted in red. This is to recall a marking found on early marine chronometers that alerted the ship’s crew when only a day of reserve remained and it was in urgent need of rewinding. And because this is is chronometer, reading the time down to the second is a priority met with a larger-than-normal small seconds sub-dial.
One thing that sort of confuses me about this watch is the fact that while it’s being touted for its association with the ocean – and even features a screw down crown – the water resistance stated on the press release is just 50 meters. It seems to me that a watch with a crown that screws down ought to have a depth rating of at least 100 meters.
Brand: Ulysse Nardin
Model: Marine Torpilleur Military U.S. Navy
Reference Number: Ref. 1183-320LE/40
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: White
Indexes: Roman numerals
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Sailcloth blue strap with four oversized white stitches
Caliber: UN-118, In-house designed movement Silicon technology
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power-reserve indicator
Diameter: 11.5 lignes
Power Reserve: 60 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
COSC Chronometer Certified
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: 173 pieces