Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta Timer 2017 Review

The Ulysse Nardin brand has been producing luxury and ultra-luxury nautical timepieces since 1846. Thanks to the upcoming 35th America’s Cup that will be raced this year, in 2017 in Bermuda, the team at Ulysse Nardin has sought to release a stunning timepiece called the Marine Regatta Timer.

Absolutely relevant to the Regatta race, this timepiece is actually made to be a regatta yacht timer — fully functional and absolute gangbusters in design. This is no ordinary watch — with its unique regatta functions and even more unique design, this marvellous piece is an absolute dream come true for lovers of the water, the races, and the regatta.

Size/Specs/Design

You’ve seen the incredible Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon, which is an outstanding piece of luxury that honours the brand’s nautical past while offering a modern design to a stunning watch. This is quite a feat of both design and engineering, as many brand have one, but not both. There are fantastic engineering brands such as Hublot, or brand with rich sporting histories such as Lacoste watches, but hardly any combine both sporting design, heritage and ultra luxury like Nardin do. Now take a look at the Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta timepiece. This 2017 model is unbelievable and a certain classic in maritime sport timing. There are a couple of versions of the Marine Regatta. The two dial colours are blue with a deep sunburst effect and white dial variant, which is more subdued.

The 44mm stainless steel case provides 100 meters of water resistance and the stainless steel construction of the case, dial hands, bezel, and other parts of this piece are a variety of polished and brushed — this gives this UN timepiece an elegance as well as a sports look to kill for.

Power Source

The movement of this stunning Ulysse Nardin that powers all of the incredible functions is the UN-155. This in-house calibre 155 is made up of 650 components and will give you a power reserve of 3 days (72 hours). What’s so incredible about the self-winding automatic movement is the fact that the inverter mechanism functions to allow the seconds hand to operate bi-directionally. This happens when you use the Regatta Timer.

The Good

The 44mm case diameter is the perfect size for this ocean piece. Not too small or large, the bold dial and its functions make the watch look broad, bold, and sporty while remaining elegant. The two versions include a blue dial with a deep sunburst effect that really brings out the yellow accents of the Regatta timer as well as the rest of the design. The white version is more subdued and the colour reminds one of a luxurious yacht and elegant style. This timepiece is also a classic Chronograph, features a circular calendar date window at 6 o’clock, and a large, single Chronograph sub dial that stretches from the 6 o’clock position to the centre of the dial. In Chronograph mode, the timepiece records the elapsed time intervals up to 12 hours. The sub dial has its own stainless steel with luminous fill hand.

The main dial hands are very beautiful and each has their own shape near the tip in order to easily identify the hands at a glance so there is no confusion. The seconds hand is thin and narrow with a yellow tip, the hour hand is polished with a circular luminous fill, the minute hand is polished and has an elongated diamond-shaped luminous fill, and of course the Regatta Timer hand is brushed (as opposed to polished) and easy to identify with the yellow arrow tip with luminous fill. The polished stainless steel bezel is bi-directional and deeply notched in design — not only is this a beautiful and aggressive look, but it matches the chunky pushers and the black, rubberized screw-down crown.

Of course, the crystal is nothing but the best — as an outdoor timepiece that is intended to be used outdoors, in the sun, and on the reflective water, UN built this Marine Regatta with an anti-reflective and scratch-resistant Sapphire crystal, which will not reflect sunlight in a way that obscures the dial. The back exhibition casing is also made of Sapphire crystal — again, nothing but the best. As far as the strap goes, it all starts at the lugs actually. The lugs protrude out a bit, then they take an aggressive curve downwards — this makes sure it fits on your wrist snugly. They also integrate perfectly with the luxury quality rubberized strap, which is fitted with Ulysse Nardin’s famous titanium folding buckle. The strap itself is durable and really complements the timepiece and its nautical mission while respecting the complexity and luxury quality of the watch.

The Bad

It is true that most wearers of this Regatta will probably never come close to needing anything resembling 100 meters in water resistance, I do wish that they would have bumped up the resistance to 200 meters. This is pretty standard on timepieces that are associated with ocean sports, such as diving watches, and it really would have been a great cherry on top of this timepiece. However, it is likely that to get a 200 meter resistance, Ulysse Nardin would have had to sacrifice the exhibition caseback — if that is so, then they made the right choice in staying at 100 meters, because that’s not a trade-off that I would choose.

Functionality

The Regatta has a main feature called a Regatta Timer. This function is split between smaller central sub dials and are displayed in bright yellow on both the white and blue dial variants. The blue dial model really allows the yellow to pop. Now, this is an inspiring design, but it is also has a purpose.

The timer can be set anywhere between 1 and 10 minutes (since the most important moments before a Regatta race is right before the race begins). The Regatta Timer actually counts backwards (counter-clockwise) according to how you set it. What is unique about this model is that it includes an inverter mechanism, which kicks into gear automatically as soon as the countdown is over — and then begins to track time as a traditional chronograph, back in clockwise rotation. This is an incredible cool and unbelievably functional complication. Ulysse Nardin certainly has created a very real and functional Regatta timepiece that isn’t just about the look, but pure function as well.

The Highlights

The design of the Marine Regatta is out of this world. Ulysse Nardin sought the input from Iain Percy and Loick Peyron, brand ambassadors and members of the Swedish Regatta team that the watchmaker is sponsoring for the 35th America’s Cup: Artemis Racing. The functions of this piece are, in my opinion, perfect and not overdone. The main dial features polished Roman Numerals located at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. All other hour markers are polished stick indexes. The outer rim of the dial features your typical racing Tachymeter but with milliseconds marked as well.

The fluted bezel features rubber inserts, a screw-down crown, and two moulded rubber pushers. The faceted lugs integrate the rubber strap perfectly and the iconic Ulysse Nardin titanium inserts and folding buckle are shown off in style.

The inner, concentric circle of the dial is where the yellow Arabic Numerals of the Regatta Timer are located. Complete with its own dial hand of brushed stainless steel and a yellow arrow tip with luminous fill, this feature is very visible and shows the countdown that you select from 1 to 10 minutes. Equipped with the innovative sweeping countdown timer, the bi-directional seconds hand will immediately begin moving in a clockwise direction again as it begins timing the race. The mechanical engineering in this timepiece that makes it possible to accomplish the neat, intuitive, and accurate functionality of the Marine Regatta is admirable and impressive. The 12-hour and 60-minute multi-functional sub dial we mentioned serves as both the Chronograph and additional complications. In addition to the two models being released, there is a special Limited Edition model called the Artemis (for the Swedish team Ulysse Nardin sponsors). With only 35 pieces being created, the Artemis version features a black grand Feu enamel dial with the Artemis catamaran etched onto it. This Limited Edition piece will cost an extra 10K ($26,000).

Needless to say, this ground-breaking Regatta Chronograph and Timer is an instant classic in luxury watchmaking. With a patent to prove their innovation, Ulysse Nardin nailed the functionality, design, and quality of this timepiece.

Pricing

The two Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta Timer men’s watch models will cost approximately $16,000, which is probably the best deal I have ever heard for a brand new timepiece of this calibre, function, and design. This luxury UN cannot be purchased just yet, as it has only been shown off at the SIHH 2017.