Top Five Ulysse Nardin Models In 2024: Freak, Classico, Diver NET And More…
 

Top Five Ulysse Nardin Models In 2024: Freak, Classico, Diver NET And More…

4 min read
Rob Nudds

Brands

Ulysse Nardin

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Rob Nudds

Brands

Ulysse Nardin

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Everyone has their favourite brands, but not every favourite is created equal.

I have my favourite brands to wear (Laventure, Fortis, Straum, NOMOS, for example), my favourite brands to extol (Glashütte Original, WH&T, Czapek, and so on), and my favourite brands I adore for the role they’ve played in the formation of the watch collecting hobby (Swatch, Rolex, and Ulysse Nardin, to name a key trio). 

Despite believing that Ulysse Nardin’s Freak, released around the turn of the 21st century, is an enduring icon that changed the very nature of Haute Horlogerie, I do not own one. That’s partly due to a lack of funds, but also because I’ve never truly been able to settle on “the one”.

Ulysse Nardin Releases - Credit Rob Nudds

 
Regular price
£48.00
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£48.00
ZULUIDIVER Mayday Regatta Sailcloth Divers Watch Strap - Red
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£48.00
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ZULUDIVER Mayday Regatta Sailcloth Divers Watch Strap - Orange Stitching
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£48.00
ZULUIDIVER Mayday Regatta Sailcloth Divers Watch Strap - Blue Stitching

This year, at Watches & Wonders 2024, Ulysse Nardin released a watch that I and many other analysts crowned the best release of the fair. It features here atop my list of the top five Ulysse Nardin models of 2024, but it isn’t the end of the story.

With such a long history of creating seminal timepieces and of tireless innovation, there are many extremely varied collections within the brand’s catalogue. At a cursory glance, it would be understandable if someone came away wondering what the heck they’d just perused, with models like the Marine Torpilleur Moonphase and the Blast Tourbillon Dragon looking more like they come from different planets than the same brand. And yet, by digging a little deeper and understanding that all of this apparently disparate madness makes sense within the brand’s painstakingly created and patiently developed universe is a worthwhile journey upon which to embark. Because, at the end of the day, the significance of Ulysse Nardin to our industry cannot be overstated.

5. Ulysse Nardin Freak X 43 mm “Magma” 2303-270/MAGMA-BQ

Ulysse Nardin Freak X 43 mm “Magma” 2303-270/MAGMA-BQUlysse Nardin Freak X 43 mm “Magma” 2303-270/MAGMA-BQ - Credit Ulysse Nardin

While this iteration of the Freak X is not the most affordable of the Freak line (which starts at £23,750), it blends “affordability” (for a Freak) with the all-round innovation for which the brand is known (and by that I mean the incredible, Magma-inspired case is just as interesting as the movement, which remains the star of the show). Given my work with Norwegian brand Straum on the Jan Mayen collection and, specifically, the Beerenberg Volcano special edition for Fratello, it is perhaps unsurprising that I gravitate towards this aggressive colour scheme and backstory. At £30,210, it is by no means “cheap” but it’s still not a crazy price for watchmaking this experimental and visually striking. 

4. Ulysse Nardin Classico Manara Manufacture 40 mm 3203-136LE-2/MANARA.08

Ulysse Nardin Classico Manara Manufacture 40 mm 3203-136LE-2/MANARA.08Ulysse Nardin Classico Manara Manufacture 40 mm 3203-136LE-2/MANARA.08 - Credit Ulysse Nardin

I vacillated on whether or not to include anything from the Classico range as truth be told, it isn’t what I personally go to UN for. However, to ignore the brand’s long track record of creating sumptuous erotic watches would have been an oversight, so I’ve chosen this interesting dial showing a mermaid getting rather well acquainted with the inner thighs of a bare-bottomed woman that, one must assume, is extremely proficient at holding her breath.

Aside from the peerless execution of this sapphic scene by Italian erotic comic book artist Milo Manara, it’s oddly on-brand for Ulysse Nardin, which is known for its association with superhuman free divers (like underwater photographer and respected free diver, Fred Buyle — check out his Instagram here).

Although this kind of watch won’t be for everyone, I think it is important to shine a light on UN’s commitment to these dying arts. Also, if you’ve committed to only buying watches that feature pervy sharks on the dial, this one’s got to be close to the top of your wish list (check out that sideways glance he’s throwing the women — shocking behaviour). 

We see you, Mr. Shark. We see you.

3. Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine 1193-310LE-3A-AVE/1A

Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine 1193-310LE-3A-AVE/1AUlysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine 1193-310LE-3A-AVE/1A - Credit Ulysse Nardin

 
Regular price
£138.00
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£138.00
Winslow V-Stitch Patina Leather Watch Strap - Blue Jeans
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£138.00
Winslow V-Stitch Patina Leather Watch Strap - Platinum
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£138.00
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£138.00
Winslow V-Stitch Patina Leather Watch Strap - Blue Jeans
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This is an incredibly priced (£12,070) example of some of the more traditional work done by the brand, with a stunning aventurine dial to boot. I prefer this dial to any other in the Torpilleur range as I think it looks tighter and more deliberate on the wrist, as opposed to admittedly handsome enamel dials, which I feel give the impression of sprawling dimensions, which I’d prefer to avoid.

2. Ulysse Nardin Diver NET Azure 1183-170-2B/3A

Ulysse Nardin Diver NET Azure 1183-170-2B/3AUlysse Nardin Diver NET Azure 1183-170-2B/3A - Credit Ulysse Nardin

£11,700 didn’t used to be cheap for a luxury dive watch, but given the fact the Rolex Submariner (arguably the benchmark for the class) is streaking towards 10K, this environmentally conscious effort from UN is starting to seem better value by the day. 

Main with 95% recycled steel (which is a higher percentage than the average of 60–80% given all steel is at least partly recycled), the UN Diver NET Azure attempts to do its bit for a brand committed to giving back to the ocean that has been integral to its character from the get-go. While we have a way to go before luxury watchmaking hits an acceptable level of carbon responsibility, it’s at least nice to see major brands making efforts in the right direction.

1. Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad 2513-500LE-4A-GUI/3A

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad 2513-500LE-4A-GUI/3A - Credit Ulysse Nardin

In my opinion, this is the best Freak ever. This delicious mix of the German Silver dial, gold-flecked carbon case, and iridescent blue/purple of the movement’s dual oscillators is beyond description. It is, in my opinion, the perfect fusion of art and science, which, above all else, is what I believe watchmaking should strive to achieve.

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Rob Nudds

About the Author: Rob Nudds

Rob started working in the watch industry for the Signet Group, aged 17. Following university, he undertook the WOSTEP course at the British School of Watchmaking, developing a keen interest in watchmaking theory. After graduating, he worked primarily for Omega and Bremont before leaving the bench in 2015 to become Head of Sales for NOMOS Glashütte in the UK. After three years of managing an international retail network that grew to encompass 17 countries, he began writing full-time.

Since then, he has written for aBlogtoWatch, Fratello, Time & Tide, Grail Watch, SJX, Get Bezel, Borro Blog, Jomashop, Bob's Watches, Skolorr, Oracle Time, and Revolution USA.

He currently co-hosts The Real Time Show Podcast (www.therealtime.show) with his friend and long-time collaborator, Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers, Amsterdam, as well as working with several brands as a consultant in the fields of brand building, product development, global retail strategy, and communications. Follow him on Instagram @robnudds.

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