Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

The Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar was unveiled in 2016. Angus Davies looks closely at this handsome timepiece, equipped with a blue dial and compares it with its non-chronograph sibling, the Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer.

This detailed review of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Image of Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

I always appreciate it when a waiter in a restaurant brings a pepper pot to my table and politely enquires whether I want my meal ‘with or without?’ In the world of horology, seldom does a watch company offer two near-identical watches one equipped with a chronograph and one without and enquire of the would-be watch buyer, ‘with or without?’. Now though Ulysse Nardin proffers this choice.

Image of Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer

Ulysse Nardin Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer

In 2016, Ulysse Nardin unveiled its Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar with a striking blue dial option. Earlier this year a similar model, the Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer, sans chronograph, was launched. This latter model has a gorgeous grand feu enamel dial, produced by the Ulysse Nardin company, Donzé Cadrans, bestowing a lasting blue which will never fade with the onset of years.

On the face of it, the choice for some watch buyers may be difficult, however, as a chronograph obsessive I have no difficulty gravitating to the timepiece with the stopwatch complication. I’ve always had a penchant for chronographs, interacting with the movement, busily pressing the pushpieces. A chronograph sates many of my finger pushing compulsions.

Both timepieces are equipped with an annual calendar complication, a mechanically programmed system which adjusts the date display, intuitively knowing the month contains 30 or 31 days. The only manual adjustment required is once per year in February. While this is less complex than a perpetual calendar, which will not require any adjustment before 2100, an annual calendar is usually cheaper.

Ulysse Nardin and its technical genius, Ludwig Oechslin, has simplified the annual calendar adding a mere seven components to the watch movement. Simplicity may suggest less complex, but in the sphere of watchmaking it actually proves more challenging, necessitating the movement design be pared down with the inventory of parts reduced to the absolute essential.

Without further ado, let’s look closely at this beguiling blue chronograph from the Swiss watch brand, Ulysse Nardin, famed for crafting marine chronometers since 1846.

The dial

The hour and minute hands are an unusual derivative of the poire style hand and look gorgeous. Moreover, they enunciate time very efficiently. The hours are indicated with large, elongated Roman numerals, proving highly legible to read.

Image of Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

The watch features a tri-compax dial layout. Adjacent the crown is a 30-minute chronograph register, while opposite is a small seconds display. At 6 o’clock is a 12-hour chronograph register incorporating a date display. The subdial at 9 o’clock also includes a month display with a red hand pointing to the prevailing month.

Encircling the dial on an inner flange is a chapter ring which, in conjunction with the central chronograph seconds hand, makes reading off the elapsed seconds very simple.

The dial is beautiful and in isolation I would swear undying love to its wondrous blue tones, however, its sibling, the Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer has a drop-dead gorgeous grand feu enamel dial which is even more magnificent.

The case

The scale of the Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar is perfect, measuring 43mm in diameter and proving ideal for a broad array of different wrist sizes. The steel case is highly polished and features a fascinating crimped bezel which invites inquisitive fingers to examine and fondle.

Image of Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

The pushpieces assume an unobtrusive position, hugging the caseband closely and not unduly protruding. Indeed, viewed from the front, the pushpieces are barely noticeable, conferring a neat, discreet character which is most endearing. Moreover, while the pushpieces are discreet they operate with a silken action and will delight horophiles with their wonderful tactile quality.

Image of Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

An exhibition caseback adorns the Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar, allowing the wearer to view the caliber UN-153 in-house designed movement.

The watch comes supplied on a blue leather strap with a folding buckle.

The movement

The Caliber UN-153 features a silicon balance spring and escapement which are made by Sigatec, a company which is co-owned by Ulysse Nardin. The balance oscillates at 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 53 jewels, while the power reserve is sufficient to provide approximately 52 hours of autonomy.

Image of Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar

This movement also allows the wearer to adjust the date by turning the crown either backwards or forwards without fear of damaging the mechanism. The movement is adorned with a plethora of blued screws and features a fascinating oscillating mass which has an unusual design incorporating two anchors, a nod to the brand’s logo.

Closing remarks

The dial of the Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar is simple to read, with each indication being of sufficient scale to ensure ease of understanding. Moreover, the dial and the case with its fluted bezel exhibit a handsome mien.

The UN-153 features an annual calendar module containing a mere seven parts. Its simplicity belies the challenges in bringing it to fruition. Furthermore, the movement allows the wearer to adjust the date in either direction without fear of damage.

There is very little to separate the chronograph and non-chronograph in terms of price. The chronograph is priced at CHF 11,900, while the Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar, with grand feu enamel dial, costs CHF 12,900. I applaud Ulysse Nardin for providing choice and I would recommend viewing both timepieces before making a final purchasing decision.

I adore the Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar. It has an array of attributes which make a strong case for acquisition. However, there is a small part of me which craves seeing a Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar with a grand feu dial i.e. the ‘with and with’ option. I hope that one day such a model comes to fruition.

Further information

http://www.ulysse-nardin.com/

Technical Specification

  • Model: Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar
  • Reference: 1533-150/40
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; date; month; small seconds; chronograph; annual calendar.
  • Movement: Caliber UN-153, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 53 jewels; power reserve approximately 52 hours .
  • Strap: Blue leather strap supplied with a folding buckle.
  • Price: CHF 11,900 (RRP as at 1.3.2017)

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