Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver 1846

Photos and text by Michael Disher – May 2001

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I first saw the Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver in the TimeZone Ulysse Nardin Forum, and I was at once strongly attracted to this watch. I am a big fan of the 1846, so a new variation on that theme is obviously appealing. Like the 1846, the Marine Diver brings together several important elements in one very attractive package.

The Dial and Hands

The Marine Diver’s dial conjures up words like bold and unique. The many texture variations are a joy to behold. The hour markers are massive. The raised power reserve and subseconds indicators sit on a field of tiny dimples. The Ulysse Nardin name and anchor logo, and the “Officially Certified Chronometer”designation are also raised. The date is easily read, and the round date aperture harmonizes well with the rest of the dial. The hands are oversized and partially skeletonized, and the watch is extremely legible. Generous amounts of luminescent material on the hands and hour markers assure easy reading in the dark. I like a watch with a distinctive personality, and the Marine Diver certainly qualifies.

The Bezel and Crystal

If any design element on this watch surpasses the dial, it is the bezel. Oversized bezels with large raised numbers have become all the rage on sports watches, and Ulysse Nardin’s version is perhaps the nicest I’ve seen. I love the “wavy” background – it evokes the sea, while providing a soft contrast to the highly polished numbers. The bezel rotates undirectionally anti-clockwise with a very precise feel and just the right amount of resistance. A coin-style edge ensures a good grip. The crystal is flat, sapphire, beveled at the edge, and anti-reflective coated on both sides.

The Case and Crown

The center section of the case is highly polished stainless steel, and the finish is superb. Though not a limited edition, each Marine Diver is individually numbered on a small plaque on the side of the case. The case is much more substantial than that of the 1846, and the case retains the1846’s profile, with gently sloping sides that eliminate the “hockey puck” look common in many sports watches. The Marine Diver case measures 40 mm in diameter without the crown and 12 mm thick. The case back is titanium, as are the logo-bearing links in the strap and the buckle, so that every metal part of the watch that touches the skin is titanium. Like the 1846, the case back is engraved with the names and dates of the 18 chronometer competitions in which Ulysse Nardin won a gold medal. The screw down crown bears the Ulysse Nardin anchor symbol and UN initials. The Marine Diver is water resistant to 300 meters, 100 meters greater than the Marine Chronometer 1846.

The Strap and Buckle

Bracelets and straps in a metal-rubber combination are hot, and Ulysse Nardin’s entry in this category is a stunner. At the lugs, UN uses a combination extra-strong hard thermoplastic core with an elastomer coating, which stands up to stress very well. Next come brushed titanium links, each bearing the Ulysse Nardin name and anchor logo. The rest of the strap is very soft, high quality anti-allergenic elastomer – a synthetic material that looks and feels like rubber, but is much stronger. The soft portion of the strap attaches to the titanium links via stainless steel screws, and at the other end attaches to the buckle via very strong springbars. The strap is sized by cutting it to length where it attaches to the buckle. Should an owner accidently cut off too much, UN sells the soft pieces separately, which is a good thing since this strap retails for $495.

The buckle is titanium, making it very light and warm to the touch. It is a butterfly deployant design, and it locks very crisply and precisely. The buckle is opened by depressing the buttons on either side. The buckle has a pleasing finish, and it also bears a subtle UN logo. One end of the buckle has two sets of holes for the spring bar that holds the strap, allowing for small adjustments in the overall strap length.

The Movement

The movement is based on an ETA 2892-A2 ebauche. It is known as Caliber 11 ½”’ UN-26, and it is 25.6 mm in diameter and 5.1 mm thick, with 28 jewels, automatic winding, and a 48 hour power reserve. Other features include a 3 spoke glucydur balance, flat Nivarox 1 balance spring, and Incabloc shock protection. The movement runs at 28,800 bph. The base plate and bridges are decorated with perlage. The rotor has a matter finish and with the Ulysse Nardin name and logo in a polished finish. The main movement components are rhodium plated. Rhodium is harder than gold, and is generally considered superior to gold for plating watch movement components. The date and power reserve modules are Ulysse Nardin designed, and the finished movement contains 58 non-2892 parts. The movement is a COSC-certified chronometer, and a full-sized COSC certificate in a dark blue leather cover is provided with the watch.

The following information was provided to me by Ulysse Nardin. The adjustment of all Marine Chronometer movements is designed to meet the requirements of the official chronometer tests carried out by the COSC. To guarantee that virtually all movements presented for the certificate exam will pass the test, UN conducts in-house tests in two different phases. First, movements are tested alone with a full range of internal controls to verify that the quality of the product tallies with the official requirements. Then a second flight of tests is performed once the movements have been cased to become finished watches.

To achieve such controls, UN places the movements or finished watches on a winding machine for two hours, which is sufficient to fully wind the instrument. UN then checks to ensure the movement is still ticking after 48 hours to ensure the power reserve is as promised. During this two-day period, the control requires six different positions, making UN’s internal testing more stringent than that of the COSC, which tests in five positions.

On the Wrist

The Marine Diver head weighs in at 72 grams and the full length strap at 55 grams, for an overall weight of 127 grams or about 4.5 ounces. After wearing the Marine Diver for 10 days straight, the word comfortable sums it up. Owing to the extensive use of titanium, the watch feels light, especially the strap. This is my first “rubber” strap watch, and I like the feel very much. It’s soft and gives nicely, which is especially appreciated in warm or dry weather when dehydration can make my wrist swell bit. When this happens, the soft rubber expands slightly, maintaining a comfortable fit. This is will the perfect summertime watch.

I checked the accuracy after wearing the watch for 7 days. I timed it over 3 days using a Radio Shack atomic radio signal clock as a reference. I wore the watch between 9 and 14 hours each day, and at night stored it crown up and crown down. During the test, the watch showed an average gain of 3 seconds per day – well within COSC specifications.

Reference numbers and Prices

The Marine Diver 1846 is available with black or silver dial, and on the strap shown above or a stainless steel bracelet with an expanding clasp to fit over a wet suit. Strap versions have a USA retail of $3900, and on bracelet the USA retail is $4200. The reference numbers are as follows: black dial/ strap – 263-55-3/92; black dial/ bracelet – 263-55-7/92; silver dial/ strap – 263-55-3; silver dial/ bracelet – 263-55-7.


The Marine Diver 1846 is unique, bold, and sporty. It has a wonderfully distinctive look, with strong, attractive design. It is very comfortable, extremely legible, and it’s just the right size. If you like the 1846, or if you like bold, distinctive sport watches, you should definitely consider the Marine Diver 1846.

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