It is no secret that the export of Swiss watches is down. Although we have moved out of the double digits, it is still rough. As with many things in life, it is the response of the brands itself that can make the ride either rougher, or soften the blow. Some might even turn the current situation to their advantage, as they might gain market share, and that might have very well been the intention of Ulysse Nardin with the introduction of the new Marine Torpilleur.
Priced at $6.900,- it is the new entry model for the brand. Generally speaking, one of the worst things you can do when the market is down is to bring out a new entry level model. Many brands, in- and outside the watch industry, have learned this the hard way as they created products with a lower price tag that lacked their DNA, and most of all the features that make their products desirable in the first place, just to keep demand and revenues up. So it is more than pleasing to know that Ulysse Nardin didn’t take that route!
In fact, it seems that Ulysse Nardin did the opposite, and tried to find a way to give its clients as much “bang for their buck” as they possibly could. The first thing that stands out is that the Marine Torpilleur is a real Ulysse Nardin. Some might notice that the 42mm case is rather straightforward than we are used to from the brand. Good thinking, because entry-level watches are also often the gateway to the brand, and you don’t want to scare off new clients (perhaps even some of those hard to catch millennials) with a design that is too eccentric. Instead, Ulysse Nardin utilized their Marine heritage to create a dial that has their distinct DNA, in the line of the rest of the Marine-collection.
The movement is the place where entry-level watches show their true colors. Third-party movements, or manufacture movements stripped from either their complications or elaborate decorations, usually set the tone. The Marine Torpilleur is however fitted with Ulysse Nardin Manufacture caliber 118, exactly the same movement as we can also find in the Marine Chronometer. That means that you are not only treated on a 60-hour power reserve but also a silicium hairspring and even the DIAMonSIL technology which combines silicium and man-made diamond into an escapement that reduces friction and has no need for lubrication. Even an obvious way for Ulysse Nardin to lower the cost of the movement, in a way that would most likely be accepted by consumers and collectors alike, is surpassed as the Marine Torpilleur still comes with an Official Chronometer certification.
At $6.900,- the watch is competitively priced, yet not to the point that current Ulysse Nardin clients should feel that it devaluates their watches. Of course, other Swiss brands offer watches with manufacture movements at a similar price point, but most of them do not feature a silicium hairspring and the DIAMonSIL escapement. In fact, a few current Ulysse Nardin clients might even be enticed to add the Marine Torpilleur to their collection, and that is perhaps the best sign of an entry-level watch done right!