Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Series Watch

By John Galt

Normally when I’m told or asked about all the black pieces or phantom pieces as they are called, I look at them with trepidation and reserve, as generally they are hard to read. I am hoping that this time, it’s going to be different; with good looks, solid build and with red splatters all over – I certainly hope this one would change my mind.

Ulysse Nardin has released a new exclusive line for its own boutiques highlighting its strong commitment to its own brand which is a very nice value to have in an age where most names just push harder and harder to get their pieces to every shop or retailer.


The 45mm stainless steel case is coated in “blaktop” then layered with amorphous carbon to create a very intense Matt black finish providing necessary hardness to become scratchproof. The bright red rubber coated crown really stands out against the dark moody case. The black hands are coated in Anthracite superluminova making it easier to read at night though. Roman numerals adore the edge of the dial; however, I’m not sure if it was the best choice since it would have been better with normal numerals. The small red triangles, nudged 12, 3, 6 and 9 numerals, and the small sub-dial at 12’oclock show the power reserve with red tip that points to red to mark the low power reserve behaving much like a car’s fuel gauge. At 6’oclock is the small seconds sub-dial with no red tip hand making it merge in the background except for the 3 red dashes at 20,40 and 60 seconds. The date window nicely cuts into the sub seconds hand and is highly visible with white on black lettering. Turning the piece over, you are greeted with an excellent exhibition back to show off the movement, which is the in-house UN-118 Calibre self-winding movement with 60-hour power reserve that also uses an innovative Diamonsil anchor escapement, which is diamond and silicon combined. Finishing off the piece is a thick black rubber strap with titanium elements and folding clasp all coated in “blacktop.”

The movement is excellent and highly innovative and the “blaktop” results to a nice black matt finish.  However, Ulysse-Nardin haven’t changed my mind with this reference since with the black finish, I find my eyes wandering to the crown or the low power reserve indicator as they really stand out against the main dial and the hands. I would have liked to see the hour and minute hands to have red tips at least to prevent them from dissolving into the dial so I don’t have to concentrate hard to see them. So my search goes on to find an all-black piece to add to my collection, sorry Ulysse-Nardin I wanted to fall for you but I will just have to keep looking elsewhere.

The watch is limited to 99 pieces and only available in Ulysse Nardin’s boutiques. As of this review, there are no prices available yet. For more info, please visit ulysse-nardin.com

Technical Specifications

Ref. 1183-122LE-3C/BLACK-BQ

Limited Edition: to 99 timepieces
• Caliber UN-118, 13 ¾‘’’
• In-house designed movement
• Escapement, patented DIAMonSIL
• Oscillator: patented inertial balance wheel I 10 with silicium hairspring
• 50 jewels
Power-Reserve: Approximately 60 h
Winding: Self-winding
• Chronometer COSC with power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock
• Small direct seconds and round date window at 6 o’clock
• Forward and backward date corrector
Case: Stainless steel with “Blaktop” coating
Crown: Screw-down security crown covered with rubber
Diameter: 45 mm
Water-Resistance: 200 m
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case-Back: Open case back with sapphire crystal
Bracelet: Rubber strap with “Blaktop” coated titanium elements and folding buckle

John Galt – Contributing Editor

John Galt caught the horology bug 4 years ago on his first visit to a London watch show and has snowballed since; John has become an avid writer and blogger of timepieces of all kinds, from everyday timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology, his favorite brands being HYT and Greubel Forsey that push the bounders of modern watch-making. John keeps a keen interest in the UK watch scene with their many emerging brands and timepiece’s. John Galt currently contributes watch related articles for online publications in the UK and USA. You can follow John on Twitter @johng73 Read his articles here.