In this watch, Ulysse Nardin does a lot of new stuff and presents it with a remarkable degree of understatement. Each of the watches is encircled by baguette diamonds, or coloured sapphires, but the particular setting technique and the fact that the stainless steel case, 45.8 mm in diameter, is coated in matt black rubber makes the watches youthful, sporty, very different from the usual glitter that you would expect from a watch set with gemstones. The appearance of the piece is totally different with respect to other perpetual calendars: it shares some of the Ulysse Nardin DNA, as in the skeletonized hands and the chunky hour markers, but the dial with apertures revealing the perpetual calendar discs and them partially hiding them with a wave openwork pattern is unique.
Movement, still innovative 20 years on
There is a lot of practical stuff here as well. 200 metres water resistance, achieved in part by means of the screw-down crown, lets you can take it just about anywhere. Likewise, the rubber strap, with two ceramic elements and a folding clasp, is hard-wearing. The big date window ensures that the most frequently-needed piece of calendar information is shown most clearly of all, using an ingenious system of two concentric discs. Above all, the perpetual calendar movement itself, dating back to 1996, is supremely user-friendly, because it can be adjusted both backwards and forwards simply from the crown. The UN-33 movement was introduced in 1996, for Ulysse Nardin’s 150th anniversary. Back then, the perpetual watch was named the Ulysse Nardin Ludwig, after its designer Ludwig Oechslin. The crown has a quick adjustment position for date, month and year, while the day of the week can be changed using the time-setting position of the crown. As a result, this is possibly the only perpetual calendar watch that can be adjusted by the user at the end of February 2100, when what should be a leap year will in fact have a February with 28 days instead of 29. In addition, most perpetual calendar watches cannot be adjusted backwards. The UN-33 is probably based on the ETA 2892-A2 calibre, with a calendar module designed by Oechslin placed on top, and it is the first perpetual calendar movement based on rotational movements to control the calendar, instead of the lever assemblies that are used in most watches of this type. The levers are the reason why the calendar usually cannot be adjusted backwards.
The self-winding movement has a power reserve of about 48 hours.
54 baguette stones
In my opinion, the movement is the real jewel of this watch, but the gems on the bezel, 54 baguette diamonds, coloured sapphires or black ceramic stones, deserve a mention. Each of the watches has a colour theme, so that the sapphires match the wave motif, and the diamonds in the most prestigious version are paired with blue. Another version has black ceramic stones. The five variants are all limited editions, 28 for each of the sapphire and diamond versions, and 99 for the black ceramic version.
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Perpetual has the following references:
333-92B0-3C/923, diamonds, limited edition of 28 pieces, price €58,000;
333-92B3-3C/923, blue sapphire, limited edition of 28 pieces, price €32,800;
333-92B6-3C/926, red sapphire, limited edition of 28 pieces, price €32,800;
333-92B8-3C/928, green sapphire, limited edition of 28 pieces, price €32,800;
333-92B2-3C/923, black ceramic, limited edition of 99 pieces, price €29,800.
All the references are available at Ulysse Nardin points of sale.