Ulysse Nardin Marine Tourbillon: The Evolution Of Classic (And An Unbelievable Price)
Ulysse Nardin’s Marine collection, now 21 years old, pays tribute to the traditional marine chronometers the brand earned its fame with (see Celebrating 20 Years Of Ulysse Nardin’s Marine Line).
The watches in this line are generally created with typical Ulysse Nardin design in mind, including a fluted case and marine chronometer dial styling, both strong design elements of the Marine collection.
The inclusion of a power reserve display – usually placed at 12 o’clock on the dial – harks back to the classic marine chronometer. It is an attribute that has characterized Ulysse Nardin’s Marine timepieces since the 1996 introduction of the Marine Chronometer 1846, the watch that launched the Marine collection.
The latest Marine Tourbillon, which made its debut at SIHH 2017 (Ulysse Nardin’s first showing at the Geneva fair) is not just a classically styled timepiece; it really is so much more than that. Let’s examine why I say that.
The sublime enamel dial was crafted by Donzé Cadrans, a traditional enamel dial manufacture that Ulysse Nardin acquired in 2012. Donzé Cadrans and Ulysse Nardin have been inseparable since the company’s rebirth in 1983 (see Why Do Ulysse Nardin’s Dials Look So Good? Because Donzé Cadrans Authentically Fires Enamel).
Donzé Cadrans only works in grand feu enamel, which means that the enamel produced here is fired in a hot oven or kiln. “Grand feu” is the generic term for all genuine enamel fired at temperatures higher than 600°C.
This temperature is the point where enamel powders – which are basically crushed glass – melt and fuse with the base and/or other layers of enamel. The precise firing temperatures depend upon the specific types of enamel powders used.
The addition of a genuine enamel dial adds a slight air of decadence to this straightforward watch without perceptibly adding much – if anything – to the price.
And it mixes elegant design with demanding technology inside the case. Let’s look at that next.
Caliber UN-128 Flying Tourbillon
Once you get done admiring the classic enamel dial and the comfortable fit of the fluted stainless steel case, you begin to inspect the movement more closel