Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta
2017 GPHG Sports Category Finalist
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta brings a new technical twist to the classic regatta countdown format with a reversing seconds hand and self starting chronograph.
The regatta watch might fill a pretty niche demand, but it's still an interesting function to see as it counts down the minutes so the skipper can get his yacht across the start line as close to the gun as possible. There are a number of ways of displaying the countdown, but the Marine Regatta by Ulysse Nardin features a new and quite remarkable two-way seconds hand which runs anti-clockwise, in tandem with the bold yellow minutes hand, for the duration of the yellow countdown to zero, before instantly taking off again in the other direction as the chronograph kicks in, and it assumes a different role as the chronograph seconds hand, this time coupled to the 30 minute and 12 hour display at the six.
It's not just fun to watch that transition occur, but it's very practical too, as brainstorming with the Artemis Racing Team identified the real advantage of the reverse countdown seconds, and hands-free, self starting chronograph. This advantage would require a special calibre of some 650 components, which has been created in house by Ulysse Nardin.
In its 44mm case of brushed and polished stainless steel with its big serrated bezel, it has considerable presence. It's superbly well built, and its chunky external details are accented with navy blue rubber inlays, which match the colour of the dial, where the time and functions are clear and readily legible.
Of the six preselected finalists in the GPHG 2017 Sports category, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta is unique in its functionality, and it's bi-directional seconds hand, while being specific to the requirements of the professional regatta racers at Artemis, is still something pretty special to observe, not to mention the complexity of its mechanism within.
But will it win? If recent trends persist then no. In 2016 and 2015 the prize has gone to dive watches, and before that a chronograph. However, and although I can't say it would be my own personal choice, it is technically impressive and I have a feeling that the Marine Regatta could surprise this year. If there is a departure from the last couple of years, then that leaves the sporty exotica of the Hublot/Ferrari, and the not really sporty but knee-weakeningly irresistible MB&F.
The Watch Press prediction
An uncertain yes. The countdown seconds and self starting chronograph innovation is something which actually improves on an existing concept of the regatta timer watch, and might even give an advantage, and that should probably matter in a sports watch.
BUCKLE: Folding clasp
MOVEMENT: Self winding mechanical. Power reserve: 72 h, 28'800 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Date, Chronograph, Regatta Countdown Timer
SIZE: ø 44 mm
THICKNESS: 14.9 mm
WATERPROOFNESS: 100 m
PRICE EXCL.VAT: CHF 15'900