Before we dive into the specifics of this watch, it is crucial to note that the Marine Grand Deck is a very important watch, and that is due to its unnecessary grandeur. The retrograde minute hand by itself makes the watch unnecessary complicated, even more so with the wire construction that Ulysse Nardin devised. We can even have long debates about what the flying tourbillon will add regarding precision to a wrist watch. But when that was the point, we would be better off wearing an Apple Watch, or a Casio G-Shock. The Marine Grand Deck is a testimony of how far we have come in regards to creating horological art, by creating a visual spectacle that showcases functional timekeeping by unconventional means.
To me, the Marine Grand Deck is one of those perfect watches, the one that gets everything right, the one that gets the blood of watch enthusiasts pumping. This starts by the way that it utilizes the brand’s DNA. Ulysse Nardin has long been associated with the nautical world, and the Marine Grand Deck soaked this all up. It starts with the handcrafted wood marquetry dial, giving you the impression that you are looking at the deck of a beautiful sailing ship from above. This sets the stage for the pulley system that pulls a boom over the retrograde scale indicating the minutes, by means of very small wires. Is normally a watch with a retrograde minute hand already a delight to see, this one is even better, especially when the full hour is reached and the boom travels back to zero.
Despite this elaborate way of telling time, the Marine Grand Deck is very legible. Above the wood marquetry dial, Ulysse Nardin placed a sapphire arc, indicating the minutes in bold numerals, while the large, double window at twelve o’clock indicates the hours. The hours are by the way quick set, allowing you to easily adjust the time without having to adjust the minutes as well. Great for traveling, and proof that Ulysse Nardin went far beyond the novelty of the pulley-system, and actually created a practical watch.
You don’t have to be afraid by the way that the wires are going to snap on you. Although only 0.0357 mm thick, they are made of Dyneema, a high-performance polyethylene used in ships rigging that is stronger than steel.
The movement that powers all this splendor is Ulysse Nardin’s manufacture caliber UN-630. Consisting of 469 parts, it features two mainspring barrels, a flying 1-minute tourbillon and a 48-hour power reserve. The case of Marine Grande Deck is 44mm in diameter, providing the watch with real-estate that is all put to good use. The lugs are typical Ulysse Nardin and ensure that the watch fits nicely even on smaller wrists. That is also where the watch was created for because, despite its high-end features, the Marine Grand Deck has a water resistance of 100 meters/330 feet, allowing you even to wear it with peace of mind when you go yachting.
The Marine Grande Deck is available in 18K rose gold, white gold and platinum, each limited to 18 pieces, and the price for the gold versions is $270.000,-.