OceanicTime Archives


ULYSSE NARDIN Diver 42MM [a new beginning]

Founded in 1846, Ulyssee Nardin is brand that I have admired from afar for a good decade; they are a brand with a rich nautical heritage as well as being a true Swiss manufacture, producing all their own movements, cases, and watch components, in-house. Some say they are so fastidious that they even manufacture their own screws and fixings.

Their designs are unique, baring their own DNA along with a strong brand identity. However for some their designs which are largely modern (as far as dive watches are concerned), could be considered a little over-deigned and perhaps lacking any lasting appeal.

UN who were taken over by the Kering group in 2014 did not really answer this question until 2017, when they released what was their first vintage-styled diver, the Diver LE LOCLE, which no doubt helped them garner a whole new following. The watch was a good step in the right direction; however imo it could have done with a tad more WR.

At the beginning of this year, UN were back on form with another over-designed offering in the form of the HAMMERHEAD, a true Titanium diving instrument that couldn’t be more off-trend if it tried. I loved it, but I think it left many scratching their heads.

Just recently UN surprised us with a whole new diving collection, the Diver CHRONOMETER collection of four, delivered with three distinct looks – all them very UN-like in their appearance but perhaps a little more muted than the Hammerhead had been.

Today Ulysse Nardin have hit back once again with another brand-new dive watch collection that promises to finally position themselves against some those brands such as Breitling, Omega or Tudor who have been dominating this segment for so many years.

Introducing, the NEW Diver 42MM. Slim and sleek on the wrist, it still has UN’s signature modern flare however, it is even more sober than the Diver Chronometer was but more importantly it has been positioned as UN’s entry level model. You could be looking at your first UN diver!

Led by the Diver Blue Shark, the Diver 42MM joins a new school of 3-hand, shark-inspired diver’s watches from UN; these have been designed as much for life in the city as they have been for the ocean.

The concave bezel and domed sapphire crystals are the same as on the 44mm models launched in September, but these have a new, unexpected vintage look, with clean, uncluttered dials, touches of retro beige, and central seconds instead of UN’s signature sub-seconds.

The inspiration comes from UN’s 1964 dive watch; the Diver Le Locle named after UN’s hometown so proudly sports the brand’s GPS coordinates on their dials.

All the basic diver’s features are present: Superluminova on the 0, hands, and rotating bezel; and water resistance to 300 meters. The classic mid-20th century diver's watch aesthetics are fully backed by 21st-century Silicium, technology first introduced to watchmaking by Ulysse Nardin.

Slim enough to fit snugly under a shirt, they come with stylish strap options: blue fabric, black veal, three-row Stainless steel or, in (a first for Ulysse Nardin), a Stainless steel Milanese shark-mesh bracelet.

UN has opted for a very thick mesh, stamped from sheet steel, painstakingly stitched together by hand, and finished with a retro-styled butterfly clasp. The result is a dressy alternative to other metal bracelets and one that suits the watch so well.

Finally, the Diver Blue Shark Limited Edition in Stainless steel with a blue PVD bezel and a blue dial and strap underscored with bright orange touches, this Limited Edition of 300 pieces has a Blue Shark stamped on its case-back, a nod to its big brother, the Diver Great White 44mm.

Thoughts? This is a promising new direction from UN. We have a new entry-level 3-hander that has a great mix of contemporary UN-flare combined with some nice vintage notes but more importantly it is delivered in a size that won’t strain the wrist and price that hopefully won’t break the bank. What do you think?


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