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Ulysse Nardin: Tradition Meets Modernity
Luxury watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin is one of the industry's top innovators. The company was an early adopter of silicon technology and is well known for their unusual complications and extraordinary precision.
This page contains information about:
- Precision Through Innovative Tech
- Prices for Ulysse Nardin Watches
- Purchasing an Ulysse Nardin Watch
- Prices: Ulysse Nardin Freak
- Marine: Nautical Navigation Watches
- Chronographs With Annual Calendars
- Diver: Sporty Diving Watches
- About Diver Chronographs
- Women's Divers With Diamonds
- The History of Ulysse Nardin
Precision Through Innovative Technology
Ulysse Nardin has a history stretching back more than 170 years. Since their earliest days, the Swiss company has been raising the bar in the watch industry. It was their marine chronometers in particular that brought them fame, and the brand's anchor logo still reminds us of their nautical roots. Their portfolio is incredibly diverse and ranges from the classic timepieces in the Marine collection to the Diver series of sporty diving watches and the futuristic timekeepers in the Freak line.
In 2001, the Freak caused a stir as one of the first watches with silicon components. Silicon is an especially lightweight, hard, and non-magnetic material that many see as the future of watchmaking. The Freak also revolutionized the visual side of Haute Horlogerie. Its design lacks a dial, crown, and hands. The movement itself displays the time, while the case back is used to wind the watch, and the time is set via the bezel.
Another top model is the Marine Regatta Chronograph from 2017. It is geared toward sailing enthusiasts thanks to its ten-minute countdown function. That same year, Ulysse Nardin presented the InnoVision 2 concept watch at the Geneva Watch Fair. It contains ten innovations, including the so-called "Grinder" winding mechanism, which powers the movement with high efficiency. The Dual Constant escapement is another creation that debuted in the InnoVision 2.
In 2018, Ulysse Nardin launched the Freak Vision with a platinum and titanium case. This timepiece boasts a baguette "carousel" movement with a silicon balance spring. The Freak X followed a year later. This black DLC-coated titanium timepiece paved the way for today's expansive collection, which now also serves as the entry point into the "freaky" world of Ulysse Nardin.
Ulysse Nardin celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2021. The company marked the occasion with the release of the Marine Torpilleur Panda. Limited to a run of 300 pieces, this model combines a white dial with blue subdials. The black Diver Lemon Shark diving watch also premiered in 2021 in honor of World Oceans Day. Its production run is also limited to 300 pieces, and its strap is made of recycled fishing nets.
Reasons to Buy an Ulysse Nardin Watch
- Freak: innovative watches with silicon technology
- Extremely complicated watches with astronomical displays
- The diver collection: sporty, functional, and elegant
- Concept watch InnoVision 2 with constant force escapement
- For collectors: limited anniversary editions from 2021
Prices at a Glance: Ulysse Nardin Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, function|
|Freak Diavolo, 2080-115||121,000 USD||White gold, tourbillon|
|Freak Blue Phantom, 020-81||71,500 USD||White gold, tourbillon|
|Marine Chronometer, 1186-126-8M/42||35,500 USD||Rose gold, chronometer, small seconds, power reserve indicator|
|Marine Tourbillon, 1283-181/E0||24,500 USD||Stainless steel, tourbillon, power reserve indicator|
|Caprice, 136-91AC/06-02||23,500 USD||Rose gold, diamonds, three hands, date|
|Astrolabium Galileo Galilei, 911-22||23,000 USD||Yellow gold, astrolabe|
|San Marco Classico, 8156-111-2/92||11,000 USD||Rose gold, three hands, date|
|Classico Lady, 8106-116B-2/990||10,500 USD||Rose gold, diamonds, three hands, date|
|Marine Voyage Bleu, 353-98||8,200 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, date|
|Marine Torpilleur, 1183-310/43||5,900 USD||Stainless steel, small seconds, power reserve indicator|
|Maxi Marine Diver, 263-33||5,100 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, power reserve indicator|
|Diver, 8163-175/93||4,900 USD||Stainless steel, three hands, date, diving bezel|
|Quadrato Dual Time, 243-92/601||3,700 USD||Stainless steel, second time zone, date|
How much do Ulysse Nardin watches cost?
With prices beginning around 580 USD, vintage three-hand watches are by far the most affordable option when it comes to Ulysse Nardin. If you're looking for a functional daily wearer, you should consider a diving watch from the Diver line. A model with a canvas strap can be yours for as little as 4,900 USD. Be sure to have at least 5,900 USD on hand for a classic timepiece from the Marine series. The addition of a tourbillon takes that price to more than 24,000 USD, which is a fantastic deal compared to highly complicated watches from other manufacturers.
The Freak X costs roughly 17,500 USD, making it the Freak collection's entry-level watch. The Freak Diavolo is one of the collection's top models. It features a tourbillon and demands upwards of 115,000 USD. Those with particularly flashy and extravagant tastes should enjoy the Royal Ruby Tourbillon. This diamond-encrusted masterpiece requires an investment of some 426,000 USD.
Ulysse Nardin Freak: Anything but Conventional
Ulysse Nardin turned the watch industry on its head with the presentation of the Freak in 2001. Its revolutionary silicon technology, rotating movement, and futuristic design amazed members of the press and enthusiasts alike. Instead of conventional hands, the Freak's "carousel" movement itself displays the minutes. It completes one full rotation every hour, with its arrow-like tip pointing to a scale with Arabic numerals around the skeletonized dial's edge. Similarly, an arrow-shaped bridge below the main movement indicates the hour. This unorthodox watch also does away with a crown. Instead, you set the time using the bezel. Today, the Freak collection is a permanent fixture in Ulysse Nardin's catalog.
The ref. 026-88 has a 44.5-mm rose gold case. Its bezel, band, and dial are all black. Inside the case, you'll find the manual tourbillon caliber UN-200 with an impressive 168-hour power reserve. You can call this exquisite timepiece your own for around 73,000 USD.
The Ulysse Nardin Freak Out bears the reference number 2053-132/03.1. It comes with a titanium case and the manual tourbillon caliber UN-205. This movement boasts a 168-power reserve as well. Ulysse Nardin also offers a version of the Freak Out with a black coating (ref. 2053-132/BLACK). Both Freak Out models will set you back about 40,500 USD.
About the Freak Vision and Freak X
Introduced in 2018, the Freak Vision line contains three models. All three are 45-mm in diameter and come in your choice of titanium or rose gold. The technology behind the new tourbillon caliber UN-250 comes from the 2017 InnoVision 2. Thus, the UN-250 features a "grinder" winding mechanism with a central rotor linked to a four-armed frame. This technology is four times more efficient than standard rotors. A rotatable ring on the case back enables you to wind the movement, which has a 50-hour power reserve.
The ref. 2505-250 combines a titanium case with a blue bezel, hour disc, and alligator leather strap. You can purchase a never-worn model for around 84,000 USD. The ref. 2503-250/BLACK features the same technology but has a black titanium coating. Ulysse Nardin pairs this version of the Freak Vision with a black alligator leather strap. The black Freak Vision sells for roughly 54,000 USD.
If you're interested in the rose gold Freak Vision, you should take a closer look at the ref. 2502-250LE. Its movement is particularly striking with its rose gold components; these provide a stark contrast to the black hour disc, bezel, and strap. The final watch changes hands for approximately 82,500 USD.
Freak X: The Entry-Level Freak
The Freak X line debuted in 2019. While most of the watches are made of titanium, there are some exceptions, including the rose gold ref. 2305-270/02. No matter which version of the Freak X you choose, it will have a 43-mm case and the automatic in-house caliber UN-230 with a 72-hour power reserve. Another feature shared across Freaks is the use of a rotating movement to display the time. However, unlike the collection's other models, you can set the Freak X using a conventional crown on the right side of the case.
The Freak X ref. 2303-270.1/BLACK is a titanium watch with a black DLC coating. Its hour disc, bezel, and leather strap are also black, while the indices and movement pop in bright white. Prices for a mint-condition model sit around 17,500 USD. The plain titanium ref. 2303-270/03 features a blue hour disc, bezel, and leather strap. The version demands about 18,500 USD on Chrono24. Finally, a new Freak X ref. 2305-270/02 in rose gold requires an investment of roughly 25,500 USD.
The Marine collection pays tribute to Ulysse Nardin's long maritime history and experience as a producer of marine chronometers. The collection contains classic and sporty timepieces in three sizes: 42, 43, and 44 mm. In terms of material, you can choose between stainless steel and rose gold. There is also a wide variety of models with different functions available, including chronographs, watches with annual calendars, chronometers, tourbillon editions, regatta timers, and versions with a power reserve indicator and/or moon phase display. Most Marine watches also come with large, easy-to-read Roman numerals on their dials.
The Marine collection's most affordable model is the Marine Torpilleur ref. 1183-310-3A/0A. This 42-mm timepiece is made of stainless steel and features a dark blue sunburst dial. Its power comes from the automatic in-house caliber UN-118 with a silicon balance. In addition to the hour and minute hands, this movement provides the Torpilleur with a small seconds at 6 and a power reserve indicator just below 12 o'clock. It also comes with a 60-hour power reserve. A blue textile strap with red accents holds the watch securely on the wrist. Prices for a mint-condition model come in at roughly 5,900 USD.
You can find the same watch on a stainless steel bracelet under the reference number 1183-310-7M/43 for about 6,300 USD. The Marine Torpilleur is also available in rose gold (ref. 1182-310/40). This version combines a white dial with black indices and sells for around 15,000 USD new.
In honor of their 175th anniversary, Ulysse Nardin launched the Marine Torpilleur Panda ref. 1183-310LE-0A-175/1B. Limited to a run of 300 pieces, it is a particularly interesting option for collectors. It features the classic Marine design but has a white dial with blue subdials at 6 and 12 o'clock. This color combination is what gives the watch its popular panda aesthetic. The 42-mm case contains the automatic in-house caliber UN-118, a chronometer-certified movement with a 60-hour power reserve.
The Marine Torpilleur Panda comes on your choice of a brown or blue alligator leather strap. At the time of writing, there were no listings for this watch on Chrono24. However, Ulysse Nardin lists it for a price of 8,200 USD.
Marine Chronographs With Annual Calendars
Ulysse Nardin offers a variety of 43-mm stainless steel and rose gold chronographs in the Marine Chronograph series. Depending on the case material, you can choose from a blue, white, or beige dial. No matter which version you choose, its case will be water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft).
The automatic in-house caliber UN-153 powers the collection's three-subdial chronographs. It comes with a 30-minute counter at 3, a 12-hour counter and date at 6, and a combined month display and small seconds at 9. Fully wound, the movement has a 52-hour power reserve. A sapphire crystal case back provides a view of the movement at work.
An example of one of these chronographs is the stainless steel ref. 1533-150/43. It has a blue sunburst dial, luminous white indices, and a blue alligator leather strap. This model costs roughly 10,000 USD. Those who prefer the combination of a white dial with black indices and a black leather strap should take a closer look at the ref. 1533-150-3/40, which demands around 9,900 USD. Finally, the most luxurious three-subdial Marine Chronograph is the ref. 1532-150/43 in 18-karat rose gold. It combines a blue dial with golden indices and hands and a blue alligator leather strap. You can call one your own for approximately 27,000 USD.
If you prefer chronographs with two subdials, you should consider the ref. 1533-150-3/E0 in stainless steel. While it also uses the caliber UN-153, it lacks the 12-hour counter. It features a white dial, blue subdials, and a tempered blue set of hands. The rubber strap with a security folding clasp is a matching shade of blue. This Marine Chronograph changes hands for about 12,000 USD on Chrono24.
Especially Precise: The Marine Tourbillon
The watches in the Marine Tourbillon series offer the exclusivity and exceptional precision many people crave. While their designs follow the standard Marine formula, the flying tourbillon at 6 and power reserve indicator at 12 o'clock help these timepieces stand out from the crowd. Prices for a mint-condition Marine Tourbillon ref. 1283-181/E3 start around 24,000 USD. This particular model comes with a 43-mm stainless steel case and a blue dial and leather strap.
Fans of white dials and black bands should have an additional 2,300 USD on hand. Both versions are water-resistant to 50 m (4 bar, 164 ft) and use the automatic in-house caliber UN-128 with a 60-hour power reserve.
The Torpilleur Tourbillon ref. 1282-310LE-2AE-175/1A is technologically identical to the previously mentioned models but boasts a 42-mm case in 18-karat rose gold. Furthermore, it features a black enamel dial with stamped white indices. The watch's hands and tourbillon cage shine in rose gold. A black alligator leather strap completes the look. Ulysse Nardin has limited this timepiece to a run of 175 pieces and sells it for an official list price of 48,400 USD. At the time of writing, there were no listings for this model on Chrono24, but it is worth checking back regularly to see if one comes up for sale.
Ulysse Nardin Diver: Sporty Diving Watches
The Ulysse Nardin Diver collection contains a wide range of men's and women's diving watches geared toward active individuals with a taste for robust, water-resistant, and sporty timepieces. The men's series offers three-hand watches, chronographs, models with power reserve indicators, and versions with skeletonized dials. Those on the market for a watch with some serious diving chops should enjoy the Diver Deep Dive, which boasts water resistance to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft).
The ref. 8163-175-7M/92 is a fantastic choice for anyone who likes the look of classic diving watches with black dials. Like the collection's other three-hand models, it has a 42-mm stainless steel case. You can find its unique serial number on the left side of its case. The dial is matte black, lending this timepiece a particularly refined touch. Twelve white, glow-in-the-dark bar indices contrast nicely against the dark background. The minute track between the hour indices, the brand name, and the second hand are all a nice shade of beige. The date at 6 o'clock and printed coordinates just above it are also beige. The coordinates read "47°03'36.2"N, 06°45'12.8"E," which is the exact location of Ulysse Nardin's headquarters in Le Locle. Thus, if you have to file any complaints with the manufacturer, you know exactly where to send them.
Inside the case, you'll find the automatic in-house caliber UN-816 with a 42-hour power reserve. The case is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), making it perfectly suited for diving. This particular model comes on a stainless steel bracelet and demands about 5,600 USD in mint condition. The ref. 8163-175/92 is the same watch on a black leather strap and changes hands for around 5,000 USD.
Limited Shark Editions of the Ulysse Nardin Diver
While the Diver Lemon Shark uses the same technology, it boasts a unique look. Its stainless steel case has a black coating, and its hands and indices are filled with gray SuperLuminova. Yellow accents appear on the minute track, second hand, bezel, and the "Lemon Shark" inscription on the dial. This color is a nod to the lemon shark and the timepiece's connection to the ocean. The black rubber strap is made entirely of plastic waste recovered from the ocean. The Diver Lemon Shark is limited to a run of 300 pieces and costs about 7,300 USD on Chrono24.
The Blue Shark ref. 8163-175LE/93-BLUESHARK is a very similar model. As its name implies, this watch is dedicated to the blue shark. Here, blue is the dominant color across the board, from the dial and bezel to the case and strap. A few orange accents add a nice touch of contrast. Like the Lemon Shark, Ulysse Nardin has limited the Blue Shark's production run to 300 copies. You can call this timepiece your own for roughly 5,800 USD.
About Diver Chronographs
The Diver collection's chronographs measure 44 mm in diameter. While most Diver Chronographs are titanium, Ulysse Nardin does produce one version in 18-karat rose gold. The manufacturer equips each watch with the automatic in-house caliber UN-150. This movement has three subdials and a date at 6 o'clock. Finally, every Diver Chronograph is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft).
The ref. 1503-170-7M/92 pairs a black dial with white indices and hands. The chronograph seconds hand, hand of the 30-minute counter, and small seconds hand provide a few splashes of red. Prices for a never-worn timepiece sit around 10,500 USD. If you'd prefer a Diver Chronograph with a blue dial, the ref. 1503-170-7M/93 is the right watch for you. You can find this model on Chrono24 for about 11,000 USD. The rose gold Diver Chronograph has a blue dial alongside its blue rubber strap. Its indices and hands are the same shade of rose gold as the case. This edition will set you back some 32,500 USD.
Women's Diving Watches With Glittering Diamonds
While the men's models have a sporty and functional aesthetic, the women's watches emphasize elegance in addition to sportiness. You can choose from various stainless steel and rose gold models on leather, rubber, or synthetic straps. While the ref. 8163-182LE-3/11-GW features a standard diving bezel, the collection's other women's watches have diamond-studded bezels. Regardless of which model you choose, it will have a 39-mm case, the automatic in-house caliber UN-816, and diamond hour indices. Each watch is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft).
The ref. 8163-182B/13 is a stainless steel watch with a blue sunburst dial and 12 diamond indices. White lacquer coats its hour and minue hands, contrasting with the rose gold second hand and minute track. A blue canvas strap holds this timepiece securely on the wrist. You can call this model your own for approximately 9,500 USD.
Fans of black and rose gold should keep a lookout for the ref. 8165-182B-3/BLACK. Its main case is black-coated stainless steel and matches perfectly with the grained black dial. Sparkling diamond indices pop against the dark dial, as do the rose gold minute track, hands, and anchor logo. Diamonds also adorn the rose gold bezel. A rose gold crown and black rubber strap round off this timepiece. A never-worn edition will set you back about 11,500 USD.
If you'd prefer a light-colored mother-of-pearl dial, the ref. 8163-182B/10 may be the right watch for you. This stainless steel timepiece comes on a white alligator leather strap and sells for around 8,700 USD.
The History of Ulysse Nardin
In 1846, 23-year-old Ulysse Nardin founded the eponymous watch factory in Le Locle, Switzerland. Ulysse had learned the trade from his father, Léonard-Frédéric Nardin, making him the second watchmaker in the family. However, young Ulysse wanted to know more, so he moved on and met Frédéric-William DuBois. DuBois was an expert in precision timepieces. Ulysse died in 1876 at the age of 53. His son, Paul-David Nardin, followed in his footsteps and took over the business. The French luxury-goods company Kering acquired the Swiss watch manufacturer in 2014. Brands such as Brioni, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta also belong to the Kering group, previously known as Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR).