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Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin sure knows how to go charmingly overboard with design. The creators of the Freak often combine aggressive styling with upscale horology in their varied collection of sport and dress watches. In recent years, UN have also expanded their selection of diver’s watches with their Marine Diver, vintage-styled Diver Le Locle, and Diver Chronograph Artemis Racing. In an effort to further expand their collection of densely appointed diver’s watches, Ulysse Nardin just released the repetitively named Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition, a 46mm, in-house caliber-powered diver’s watch with 1,000m of water resistance. Here, we’ll go hands-on with the new watch to find out whether it’s better suited to use as a dive timer or a boat anchor.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

Starting with the case, the Diver Deep Dive is housed in a 46mm wide block which is produced in titanium to keep the overall weight down to acceptable levels. At nine, the Diver Deep Dive has a totally-unnecessary-but-cool “automatic, screw-on decompression valve system," which is Ulysse Nardin’s language for a helium release valve. This little screw-on attachment also has a thin, red rubber ring just outside its “He” signed center. While I won’t go too deep into it here, a helium release valve is a way for helium gas to escape from inside a watch as its wearer, a professional saturation diver, is decompressed from working depths inside a saturation system. If you’re not one of those people, and you almost certainly aren’t, this little valve does you absolutely no good other than looking cool – as I would argue it does here.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

At two o’clock, a large screw down crown, also sporting a red rubber ring, sits beneath a proportionately large fold over crown guard in a style reminiscent of the Luminor from Panerai. The crown guard is engraved with “1000M” in red on its front facing surface and also decorated with a little hammerhead shark motif on its side. At the other end of the crown guard, an engraved limited edition number, also in red, is exposed. A wide, titanium, unidirectional diver’s bezel, partially covered with wave patterned rubber, aids in the diving tool argument and is deeply machined at its circumference for grip. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the case is actually the screw-down case-back, which is engraved with a head-on view of a hammerhead shark, a visual theme which, as I’ve mentioned, repeats itself throughout the watch.

Our troops from the ground at SIHH (namely David, who took these images and handled the watch) reported back on the Diver Deep Dive not only having a ridiculously bad name, but also some very, very sharp edges on its case. Some edges of the bezel and especially the crown guard had what felt like raw, machined edges as sharp as the CNC would leave them. Though a luxury watch, in our shared opinion, should not have any sharp edges like these anywhere, here they were to be felt prominently on a range of edges. We wouldn't call it dangerous – but we sure wouldn't want that sharp edged crown guard catch on the side of a leather bag or jacket. This is one area UN should by all means fine tune.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

The Ulysse Nardin’s navy blue dial is embossed with 15 (I counted them) three dimensional profiles of hammerhead sharks. Large, applied luminous hour markers and skeletonized hands keep the diver’s watch theme alive while a large, off center, small seconds sub-dial, also emblazoned with its own hammerhead, tracks the seconds in the five o’clock position by means of a tiny, red lumed hand. A circular, black-on-white date window is also carefully tucked into the three o’clock spot. This dial, while I still have to call it busy, is actually not terribly cluttered, and it does a good job at keeping the dive watch-tool watch vibe strong – and not just with the sharks.

Having a clear, legible dial is key for a diver’s watch, and the Diver Deep Dive looks to deliver in that department, an essential for a diver to know whether his watch is running or not while submerged. However, giving the extreme likelihood this watch will never be deeper than the bottom of a luxurious pool, it’s not much of an issue. I can especially appreciate the three-dimensionality of it all, with the applied markers that stretch above the dial, or the bridge that carries the – mind you, nicely executed – Ulysse Nardin logo. The "Hammerhead shark" text is nothing but absolutely hilarious – as though it was to serve as a reminder so its wearer can tell what those creatures are on his watch, when asked at the bar.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Straps are also key for dive watches, and the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition is designed to meet the briny depths on a matching blue rubber strap with two inset titanium pieces, one near each lug. The titanium detail on the twelve o'clock side of the case is engraved with the maker’s name while the six o’clock titanium piece reads “Limited Edition." A signed deployant clasp rounds out the strap, which is well matched overall to the look of the watch. The strap is to be cut to size which is not what we'd prefer, but it is true that once you get a strap like this down to fit, they tend to be more comfortable than those that have the excess length flopping around.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

In keeping with Ulysse Nardin’s tendency in last years to include manufacture movements in their watches, the Diver Deep Dive features the UN-320 caliber, a silicium spiral and anchor escapement-equipped, totally in-house conceived and manufactured movement with 48 hours of power reserve. Ulysse Nardin see the 320 as something of a do it all automatic option given the UN-320’s inclusion in many of UN’s offerings in this price category. While the movement which keeps a diver’s watch going is generally of little importance to actual divers as long as it works, the inclusion of an in-house manufactured caliber in the Diver Deep Dive shows UN's longing for independence and a consistently high esteem is taking shape.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hands-On Hands-On

While the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark is a lot to look at initially, I have come to appreciate the styling for its unapologetic adherence to the extreme looks we have come to expect from UN. While it won’t be for everyone, it’s nice to see a brand really go after – and even exaggerate – the dive watch look as Ulysse Nardin have done with the Diver Deep Dive. Of course, it’s doubtful too many actual divers will take the Diver Deep Dive subsea, but I feel safe in saying this watch is not primarily made for them, but for those of us who love and enjoy highly overbuilt watches. With an instantly recognizable look and an in-house caliber as standard, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark is an interesting option from Ulysse Nardin, available in a limited series of 300 pieces at a retail price of $12,000. ulysse-nardin.com 

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  • ProJ

    I wouldn’t mind a crown guard on a 1000m-rated watch. I would mind it however on a 30m-rated one. Are you listening Panerai?

    For what this was made, I really like it. Good job UN. The design is bold and yet artistic, the finishing seems very good. At 46mm it’s big but not overly so.

  • PollyO

    It’s hideous….yet i cant look away. I want one.

  • Yan Fin

    Thank you UN for making this watch so big and using Titanium( both these factors are dealbraker for me).
    Otherwise, I would be driving to the AD right now. Extremely cool design. Love those little sharks.

    • Joe

      I agree it’s different. I would prefer not to have the sharks though. Maybe one or two but not everywhere 🙂

  • SuperStrapper

    I love UN but their divers have never really been for me. I had a marine diver years ago but returned it quickly, just not my style. This is even more so polarizing in appearance, but due to simply being a bit juvenile. The overall look wouldn’t look out of place on a cartoon superhero’s wrist and while the shark motifs and patterns are cool, thebdialnis cool in the sense it would make great wallpaper for my sons bedroom. The case being both Titanium and sharply finished just makes me think it will be catching on things and increasing the likelihood that it’ll be a ding factory in no time.

    Hammerhead sharks are undoubtedly cool, but their worst angle is straight on. The guy relieved on the caseback would be mortified to know thats the image chosen to show him off.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Ooooooh chunky.

  • BNABOD

    good thing only 300 of these beasts will be produced. reminds me of the Hamilton Navy Frogman except the Hami is 10 times cheaper.
    sure the UN movement is nice but you can’t see it and in a dive watch it won’t matter much especially w only 48 hours of PR.
    at 12K they can keep it 12000 years so if you want the look minus sticker shock go Hamilton grey market and you will pay under a 1000 bucks

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8dd7aa602596d402e81e3c13cee2dccb73eaa1867dd416fc94f2293b39d56e5c.png

    • DanW94

      Needz mor sharkz

      • BNABOD

        needs more cowbell, should be enough room to fit one in there

      • IG

        …and lazerz

  • Jon Heinz

    This watch is at the price point of the equally bombastic Hublot Diver 4000 and I have to admit that it would be a tough choice between the two.

  • Pete L

    Unashamedly in your face over engineered dive watch and I love it. Great review. Agree that is doesn’t need the hammerhead shark script but love all the other little shark details.

  • Greg Dutton

    I want something like the Hamilton Frogman, but in addition to being ugly, I also want to pay a lot. Ohhhh, what’s that?!

  • Mike Potts

    My problem with dive watches is they all just look the same; this at least looks a bit different although I also wouldn’t want those sharp edges near my dry-suit etc. But 1000m? Who the hell dives to a 1000m? Last I recall the limit for humans was 67m! Utterly pointless bit of extreme over-engineering in my ever so humble opinion. But then, it is UN so I guess it’s what it is. Oris Source of Life and Carl Breasher stand out as well, very nice.

    • You have it backwards: if you have a watch like this, THEN people will believe you when you tell them of your last 1000m dive in the Mariana Trench.

  • Playboy Johnny

    Even as a fan of UN, this is a little hard to look at. The two main problems for me, are the “cog-ish” looking bezel and the Panerai-esqe looking contraption on the side of the case.
    That is a LOT of sharks to look at, but I could live with that. It could be nice, but needs some tweaks.

  • Pieter deHatter

    Good article Benjamin, and my apologies, but just wondering why the people who actually had their hands on this watch were not the ones to write the hands-on article? It just seems a little weird to me. But if it’s S.O.P. here can I write some articles? I haven’t touched any of these things.

    • David Bredan

      Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for asking. Hands-ons in our coverage means an article with live images and basic impressions of the watch that lack the detail we look for in reviews. Although it is rare that someone else writes a hands-on, the hands-on impressions are either shared with the writer before he starts or are added to the draft so readers don’t miss out on those. I think Benjamin provided solid context here and did a good job explaining the details of the watch and whatever was missing I made sure was added. Next time rest assured you’ll also get a response if you help make this a happier place by omitting the unsubstantiated and snarky SOP remark.

      • Pieter deHatter

        Fair enough, fair enough. Wait…so I didn’t get the job?

        • BNABOD

          Not this time but keep on trying

          • Pieter deHatter

            Next time I’ll apply under my real name so they won’t know it’s me. And if that doesn’t work maybe I’ll really show ’em and just buy up the whole place.

            Sincerely,
            Li’l Chayton

      • Raymond Wilkie

        It’s not that rare. I know who it is by the wrist now.

        • David Bredan

          At these meetings there are sometimes 5 of us at these meetings and we all check out as many watches as we can — but only one or two take pictures. But there of course has to be a detrimental assumed explanation to it first!

    • Marius

      ABTW is the first blog to actively use telepathy and telepathic communication between its members.

      Just like dolphins, plumbers, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, ABTW writers are all interconnected trough a telepathic link. Although dispersed throughout the world, ABTW bloggers are able to create mental links with each other, and instantly share experiences. That way, an ABTW member handling a watch in person in Mogadishu, can telepathically connect with another ABTW member who writes the article, although the latter is situated in Burkina Faso.

      Another advantage of telepathy is that it allows ABTW members to share the same experience. For instance, although only Ariel Adams is allowed to enter the hollowed Biver residence, he can share this experience with all the other ABTW writers, so all of them can taste the delicious cherry tart, and smell Biver`s famous cheese.

  • denisd

    A ridiculous effort. Zelos is entitled to feel insulted.

    • Pieter deHatter

      What does the villain from ‘For Your Eyes Only’ have to do with this watch? 🙂

      • denisd

        I was thinking of the microbrand Zelos, Pieter, who has issued a rather cleverly designed Hammerhead diver ;o)

        • egznyc

          Yeah, theirs is much better and much more affordable.

  • cluedog12
    • Marius

      David Bredan getting ready to test the new Richard Mille RM-123-321 diver.

  • johnwithanh

    It’s ugly, but at least it’s unique! At least it has a personality, which you can’t really say of dozens of “homage” or “heritage” dive watches.

  • TheChuphta

    Love it. On a micro level this watch captures the essence of much of the luxury goods industry. The price is the only thing that makes this interesting. If it was $1200 everyone would laugh at how ugly and absurdly overpriced it is, but because it’s 10x that now we must secretly wonder if there’s something we’re missing, we must consider that perhaps it’s intentionally ugly, maybe it’s amazing, it’s a tour de force!

  • FrankD51

    A face only a mother could love. Pass

  • Marius

    Over the last two years, Ulysse Nardin has adopted a very interesting strategy of offering more value to the consumer and lower their prices. Watches such as the Marine Annual Calendar Chronograph, the Marine Torpilleur, or the Classico Enamel dial are all great watches at somewhat “reasonable” prices. However, I find this Deep Diver to be a rather mediocre offering.

    Firstly, the design itself is really not characteristic of Ulysse Nardin`s style language. As BNABOD rightly pointed out, this UN looks surprisingly similar to the Hamilton Frogman, which I find quite disappointing. Sure, I understand that dive watches are popular, but I don’t see why a higher-end brand like Ulysse Nardin has to basically copy/paste a Hamilton design.

    Secondly, for such an expensive timepiece, this watch has a rather kitschy and cheap appearance. I mean, if I didn’t see the UN logo on the dial, I could very easily mistake this for a cheap Seiko, Hamilton, or similar. What’s more, the shark motif on the dial and case looks quite puerile. Sure, if this watch were priced in the $1,000 range, then I would understand, but at over $12,000, I find these motifs ridiculous.

    Lastly, I just don’t see what would warrant the over $12,000 price. Looking at the UN Marine collection, my first pick would be the Marine Annual Calendar Chronograph, which is slightly cheaper ($11,400), features a much more complicated movement, and has a much cooler design. Another option would be the new Rolex Sea-Dweller ($11,500) featuring the new 3235 caliber, a higher water resistance, as well as a much more versatile design. Lastly, if you like brutish dive watches, why not get their godfather, namely the Omega PloProf 1,200 ($9,500). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/10711cbe30a317ccc58d89575680635a3774823130a39a3101aff983bfd08198.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a89771a034a523180d8982fe4a83e89934085a11121131536e5f682372f366aa.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c95e088721c1b977516fff7dd3551ac345db9c040e34e0aa3fa2674768697592.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cde26a45bb6a79890f9ecc07413ddd1685894c0e3bb694d0ecf6c2e15a73067.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0ba0dfd9cf72bb497787c935473b78ebde9cebab02dd631846e4d8004de71d33.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6afe975df82c6c943c61b2433a121771bd09e18d4de3c2c71f6b978f444e8c02.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad8ca6e2987a176f616908193bbccf38baa2fac14c27b1d3ed9d58561cec21fd.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edf194835d446057ece4fda1c94bf7e049328a906c17ae3d74a43ad04fee1e46.jpg

    • Joe

      Oh yes…if I’m going for that “distinctive look” I’d go for the Ploprof every time.

    • Kuroji

      Bonus points for “puerile.”

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Thank you as usual for your ” What i can buy instead ” section of the blog Marius ( except for that horrendous Omega ). Thing is, some folks (300 of them ) are going to look at this and say ” That will look awesome on me “. These people are beyond all reason.

      • Joe

        The Ploprof is so cool! Over-engineering at its finest 🙂

  • BobHoover Tiangco

    The UN designer assigned to this piece must be gunning for a design job at RM or Hublot.

    • IG

      More like gunning for high school.

      • Playboy Johnny

        Maybe we should not talk about guns & High Schools right now! : )

    • Ulysses31

      Who could blame him? It’s a look popularised by servile watch press “journalists”.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    I do not see why the hate, is not bad for a TW Steel, and at $1,200 is fair game. It has the size, it has the gimmicks, it has the 29 hammerheads engraved (I counted them), and of course, it has the obligatory 1000M in macho red, that any modern manly dive watch has to have. Shame that it is a Limited Edition, because I am sure that in QVC this would sell like hot cakes. Maybe they will bring it in future in different colors, one can only wish.

    • Reprobus Marmaritarum

      For $1,200 this would be a bargain. For $12,000, not so much…

      • Juan-Antonio Garcia

        Thats what I’m saying.

    • Joe

      Unless I’m overlooking things, it’s $12,000, not $1,200.

  • Reprobus Marmaritarum

    Yes, but NEEDS MORE SHARK!

  • Kuroji

    “Perhaps my favorite aspect of the case is actually the screw-down case-back”
    Screwed, or screwed-in, or possubly screwed on, but not screw down.

    • JosephWelke

      So the author screwed up?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    It looks really diggy.

    • DanW94

      Is that a good thing, like Raymond’s gettin’ diggy with it?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        That’s jiggy 🙂
        This is not the look i want to portray to the public.

        • Young New Mexican Puppeteer

          As Agassi reminded us, image is everything

          • Raymond Wilkie

            The butt ugly tennis guy?

          • Young New Mexican Puppeteer

            Yes that one—so ugly he married Steffi Graf. Have you seen her lately? Time is on her side: move over Susan Lucci, there’s a new-older-and-finer wine in town.

          • Pieter deHatter

            You know who is a really fine wine? Keren from Bananarama.

          • Young New Mexican Puppeteer

            Is she the one married to Andrew Ridgeley of Wham? In any case I vote for Susanna Hoff of the Bangles

          • Pieter deHatter

            They separated last year.
            Sade’s still fine, too. Love her.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I’ve seen to many spots without sharks.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    It’s just a tad on the small side ( Said the actress to the bishop )

  • WINKS

    A marmite watch.

  • Nice Invicta

  • Pieter deHatter

    Pardon me, I’m just testing.