In a time long before radar, GPS and other high-tech navigational devices, those heading out to sea relied on the precision timekeeping of marine chronometers to successfully guide them throughout their journey. With lives on the line, these mechanical marvels needed to be both highly precise and extremely robust. As such, only a handful of craftspeople were trusted with the making of such complex devices, which would often cost the equivalent of one-third of the price of the entire vessel.
Ulysse Nardin founded his eponymous watchmaking business in 1846, going on to become an expert in marine chronometers and one of the first to manufacture them, a legacy continued by his descendant Paul-David Nardin. Its pocket chronometers became particularly coveted among naval officers and merchant captains, with a reputation for accuracy and smart design that continues to this day.
As the brand marks its 175th anniversary, it is adding a fleet of new models to its Marine Torpilleur line, first introduced in 2017 as a celebration of this rich marine heritage. Among the varied line-up is the handsome Marine Torpilleur Blue Enamel, limited to 175 pieces. This vintage-inspired piece includes many subtle nods to its historic predecessors, including the cathedral hands and classic Roman numerals. Meanwhile, it harnesses the best of Ulysse Nardin’s modern in-house watchmaking, powered by a COSC-certified movement offering a sizable 60-hour power reserve.
Its showstopping feature is the blue dial, with a beautiful depth of colour achieved through the long and intricate process of Grand Feu enamelling. This has been made possible thanks to the watchmaker’s collaboration with enamelling expert Donzé Cadrans, which is able to carry out this painstaking technique requiring more than 90 per cent of the process to be carried out by hand, and a reflection of the time and craftsmanship that goes into each Ulysse Nardin creation.