It’s that time! Post-Baselworld releases are starting to trickle in. Ulysse Nardin has just announced the release of two new military-inspired watches to bolster its Marine Torpilleur (Torpedo) Collection. The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Black and Marine Torpilleur Bronze watches have a slightly more rugged style than is often associated with the brand. We’re very used to seeing high-concept watches made from avant-garde materials, or throwback classics boasting mad mechanics (with dial-mounted automatons not unusual). Here is something different and pleasingly muted. Featuring a Black DLC case on the Torpilleur Black and a Bronze case on the Torpilleur Bronze, the brand is taking the military vibe and running with it.
Brand: Ulysse Nardin
Model: Marine Torpilleur Black and Marine Torpilleur Bronze
Water Resistance: 50m
Case Material: DLC-Coated Stainless Steel or Bronze
Movement: UN-118 Caliber
Frequency: 28,800vph (4Hz)
Power Reserve: Approximately 60 Hours
Strap/Bracelet: Blue or Black Leather Strap or Green Canvas Strap
Price & Availability: $7,900 for the DLC case, and $8,900 for the Bronze case. Limited to 300 pieces each.
The introduction of military-inspired watches to the Marine Torpilleur Collection is proving to be an interesting direction. Historically, watches within the Torpilleur Collection have been more formal. In fact, previous marketing material seems to be pitching this collection at sea captains from days of yore. However, the military watches within the collection feel a lot more urban — almost tactical and certainly not dressy. These two are no exception. I find it somewhat surprising that they haven’t been moved to their own “military” sub-collection of the Marine instead of remaining lumped in with the Torpilleur.
The Torpilleur Black and Torpilleur Bronze employ highly legible, unapologetically utilitarian displays. The elevated Arabic numerals provide extra contrast against the dial. A splash of color comes from the red limited-edition number inside the small-seconds subdial. They almost have a field watch aesthetic that I find very accessible and really attractive.
At 44mm, these watches are big boys. Pairing this design with the over-engineered UN-118 movement results in a robust statement piece. In lieu of a sapphire caseback like other watches in the collection, the brand has decorated the caseback with the image of a torpedo boat. While cool, I would have liked to see the UN-118 movement contrasting with the Black and Bronze cases.
I’ve long been a fan of Ulysse Nardin as a brand. I’ve found its timepieces to be bold in design language without being too out there in terms of aesthetics (Freak’s Excluded). The brand has remained classic through the years, and that’s respectable. Pushing the envelope of design without going too far can be a hard line to walk in the watch industry. It is something, however, I think the brand does consistently well. The Ulysse Nardin “Military” Torpilleur Black and Bronze are very palatable releases. At just 300 pieces each, I don’t foresee these having a hard time finding buyers. They’re uniquely Ulysse Nardin, but satisfyingly different, and the emphasis on utility over a more traditional aesthetic is a move I find myself liking more and more as I get used to it.