Review: Ulysee Nardin Diver

Movement
Calibre UN-150, UN-816, UN-118, UN-150 or UN-320
Case
Stainless steel, Rose gold or Titanium
Strap
Leather, Milanese steel, Rubber, Fabric or Stainless steel
Dial
Black, Blue, or Grey
Lens
Sapphire crystal
Water Resistance
< 300 metres (or < 1000 metres for Deep Dive model)
Lume
Yes (hands and hour markers)
Dimensions
42mm, 44mm, or 46mm
Crown
Screw-down crown with UN hammerhead logo (or with dual pushers)
Warranty
2 years (extendable to 5 years)
Price
£4,600 - 30,600

The Ulysse Nardin Diver watch is one built for exploration. The brand has focused on implementing the best possible ergonomic design, water-resistance and reliability into a luxury timepiece. Ulysee Nardin is a brand with a lot of history and has been recognised for its precise marine chronometers, in its present iteration, it is better known for its exploratory endeavour on watchmaking. 

The company was an early developer in the use of silicon in watch movements back in the early 2000s, with the launch of the Freak. The Diver collection featuring the Diver Chronometer, Chronograph, Diver X and Diver 42mm models have a slightly different variety features integrated with a special-looking but active dive watch structure.

While not renouncing the original concept of dive timepieces as tools planned to be worn and overused, the Ulysse Nardin Diver collection is a sophisticated and rugged luxury timepiece. The watches in this collection as the name suggests are suitable for those with an affinity for water sports, particularly yachting – whether or not they are also into diving. Ulysse Nardin gives something new and a bit different from the normal ‘safe’ and prudent designs its competitors may provide.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver is a central collection for the brand, and it has been through many redesigns over the years. In 2018, the watch company launched updates to almost every part of its design. Streamlined and dialled back but maintaining the collection’s built sense of elegance, with the dials and cases redesigned with a modern outlook. Ulysses Nardin gave the Diver a vigorous, manly and bold style (judging by some of the editions). It is huge, vibrant, and decorated with designs on the dial and the bezel; the watch is not for the hesitant. Inevitably, it has its audience and enthusiasts but.

Altogether, the Ulysse Nardin Diver collection presents a cool and different but fresh interpretation on a classic piece in Ulysse Nardin’s collection. Its new form and more tool-ish components are pleasant improvements.

Dial

The dials in the Diver collection all have the same general notion of simplicity and functionality. The complicated pattern of its earlier models has been renewed with simple grained surfaces and applied indices for the hour markers and hands are big and mainly filled with luminous material. This is the same across the Diver 42mm, Diver X and Diver Chronometer. The added touch of the manufacturer’s GPS co-ordinates just below the hour hands in the Dive 42mm model adds an essence of class and exploration.

Ulysee Nardin Diver 42mm Leather

Ulysee Nardin Diver 42mm (Leather strap)

As expected the Diver Chronograph slightly differs with the streaks between the hour indices and the hands. These become reminiscent of boat paddles lending to its affinity for open sea adventures. A surprising element, however, is the latest redesigning of the chronograph model, which was redesigned and released in 2019. We certainly believe this latest re-design is an upgrade from the 2019 model, the sub-dials are bolder and have better readability, the new added sea-wave design of the dial face is also a brilliant touch to an already amazing watch.

For the other models in the collection, the display stays classic for a Ulysse Nardin timepiece, with hours and minutes in the middle, small seconds and date at six o’clock, and a power reserve at twelve o’clock. These are features that aid legibility on any watch. It has smaller indices that make the dial seem more symmetrical and clean, and the bezel’s redesign is more beautiful. 

Ulysee Nardin Diver Chronograph 44 mm Titanium Blue
Ulysee Nardin Diver Chronograph 44 mm Titanium Blue

The Limited edition Diver X watch although having a similar dial design and feature, also sports a big ‘X’ across the background of the dial face. This gives the watch a more rugged and slightly super-hero type feel to this particular model. Even more impressive, there is a special white and grey ‘Antarctica’ model to complement the Diver X Cap Horn which is named after one of the land points sailor must pass on their voyage around the world.

Case

In terms of case design and material, there are three available case materials.

  • Steel – found in the Diver 42mm and Diver Chronograph models.
  • Rose Gold – found in the Dive Chronometer and Chronograph models
  • Titanium – found in the Diver Chronometer, Diver X, Diver Chronograph and Diver Deep Dive 1000m watches. 
Ulysee Nardin Diver Deep Dive 46mm
Ulysee Nardin Diver Deep Dive 46mm

The newly designed cases are very well made and polished and are available in 42mm (Diver 42mm), 44mm (all other models) or 46mm (Diver Deep Dive) sizes. Upon closer inspection, you will see that certain cases have raised edges, this provides a ship wheel effect that is a lovely touch. The Diver Chronograph model uses a wave effect around the watch case which is another great touch and allows you to understand just how much attention to detail is going into the creation of each model. The timepieces generally have a slender feel on the wrist, with more comfort and compact shape.

Ulysee Nardin Diver X 44mm case back
Ulysee Nardin Diver X 44mm case back

The sides of the cases have been modified too, with improved integration of the lugs and the crown protection tool in the general design. It has the elegance of a Ulysse Nardin but in a more modern direction. In the Diver Chronometer, the rubber strap still features the metallic insert at six o’clock, which is a signature part of the collection. It also features a big twist-in crown. The unique Diver Deep Diver 46mm model has a special feature integrated with the case and crown. It includes a removable titanium guard on the crown at 2 o’clock and a helium release valve at 9 o’clock, for deep dives of prolonged periods.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer and Diver X models are driven by the UN-118 calibre movement, a movement that is chronometer-certified by COSC. The Diver Deep Diver 46mm is powered by the manufacturer UN-320 calibre, while the Diver Chronograph and Diver 42mm are powered by the manufacturer UN-150 and UN-816 calibre respectively.

Ulysee Nardin Diver Chronograph 44 mm Rose Gold
Ulysee Nardin Diver Chronograph 44 mm Rose Gold

There is a suitable power reserve of 48 or 60 hours depending on the model. There are also various new technologies used, such as the proprietary Silicium anchor escapement and inertial balance wheel with silicium hairspring. These are visible via the sapphire case back, which is embellished with concentric Genèva stripes, an inscribed oscillating weight and bevelled angles on the bridges.

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Wearability

One of the main standout points of the Ulysee Diver collection is the wide range of bracelet/straps available. There are five types available including leather, Milanese steel, rubber, fabric or stainless steel. These allow for optimum comfort depending on your style of preference. The fabric and Milanese steel straps seem restricted to the Diver 42mm and Diver X models.

Ulysee Nardin Chronometer 44mm Steel
Ulysee Nardin Chronometer 44mm Steel

The only watch with a leather strap is a Diver 42mm which makes some sense as we doubt many owners would be comfortable with a leather strap submerged or around water for long periods. The bracelet for the Ulysse Nardin Chronometer has a rubber strap with metallic insert – pin buckle. The colours are available in black, blue or white.

As suggested by the name, all Ulysee Nardin Diver watches have a high water-resistance mark at 300 metres. The very special Diver Deep Dive 46 mm takes this a step further and increases the water resistance to 1000 metres. That is elite resistance. 

Price

To consistently develop more of its line of dive watches, Ulysse Nardin continued to solidify its stance as a watchmaker of the oceans through its grand contemporary watches. However, it will take some figures from the bank, depending on the model you prefer. The base Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer models are priced at around £6,260 ($7,900 or €6,990) with the rose gold and titanium variant available at £9,500 ($11,980 or €10,600).

Ulysee Nardin Chronograph 44mm Rose Gold and Titanium
Ulysee Nardin Chronograph 44mm Rose Gold and Titanium

The Diver 42mm model starts from £4,590 ($5780 or €5,125) the Diver X Limited Edition pieces start from £7,050 ($8,890 or €7,820) while the top-range Diver Chronograph with 18ct Rose gold case is available between £27,740 ($35,000 or €31,000) and £30,120 ($38,000 or €33,600).

Review: Ulysee Nardin Diver
Final Thoughts
Ulysee Nardin is a powerhouse when it comes to the construction of marine chronometers, more recently it has been making a bold step up again leading the way in the use of high tech materials for its watches. For us the Diver collection perfectly illustrates how to accurately combine the great features of a dive watch, with a modern luxurious look and feel. Kudos UN.
Dial
Case
Wearability
Price
Positives
Great dial designs and readability
Powerful and reliable calibres
Leading water-resistance
Negatives
Dial face may be complicated for some
No high jewellery alternatives
Does not hold value as well as other brands
4.5
Editor's Score
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