Ulysse Nardin Black Sea chronograph hands-on

If you inadvertently tell me that rubber-coated watches can make luxury watches, I will never believe you. Then it started to happen, and high-end brands started experimenting with vulcanized rubber coatings on watches. It starts with the bezel, crown and buttons. Then brands like Ulysse Nardin said, “Go ahead, let’s coat the whole damn thing with rubber.” This is the source of fragments like the original Black Sea. Since then, Ulysse Nardin has launched a series of rubber-coated watches based on Maxi Marine. There is a blue model, and some are decorated with various styles of decorative details, such as the model with a gold bezel unique to the Boca Raton boutique in Florida. This is the first chronograph version with a rubber-covered design.

This watch is called the Black Sea Chronograph. As a diver, it is water-resistant to 200 meters and has a rotating diver’s bezel. Although few people actually dive underwater with such a watch, the dial does represent its practical theme with eye-catching hands and hour indicators. One thing that is surprising seems to be the hollow hands. Recently, I noticed a great personal dislike for the skeleton hand. Mainly because they are usually of no use other than making it more difficult to read the dial. Designers use them for two reasons. First, for practical reasons, the dial below the pointer is more clearly visible. This makes sense, and is usually a trade-off between legibility and being able to view dialed information for more time. The second reason is purely for design. This is what I hate. This is when the designer thinks that the hollowed-out hand looks cool in CAD drawings and computer rendering. They may not care about reducing the practical level of an actual watch by a few steps-they don’t know that the materials used to make the dial and hands greatly affect how it looks in real life compared to computer images. This is especially bad when you need to check that there is nothing under the hands on the dial. Stay away from those watches. In this case, Athens Watch took a more practical approach. The hands are hollowed out to allow more time to view the chronograph subdial. This is because the hands are really fat. Therefore, when they are hollowed out, the tip of the fat lumen coating is large enough to be easy to see.

The Black Sea Chronograph case is 45.8 mm wide, but due to the thick bezel, it is smaller than it looks. You can see that the dial has a sand-like texture and splashes of red and blue on the surface. Although the name of the watch is Black Sea Chronograph, fake Ulysse Nardin reminds you that this is of course part of its Ocean Diver collection, right on the dial as part of the unique-looking auxiliary seconds counter. The side of the case is a steel plate with the serial number of the watch on it-this is not a limited edition.

How does vulcanized rubber feel on steel? Okay, of course the rubber sticks to the shell nicely. It is glued to it, so it is not like a steel shell wearing a rubber jacket. You will think it should wear well, but the correct shot may end up tearing some of the rubber. I want to know how often this happens. Vulcanized rubber is quite durable, especially in this case, it does not need to be bent at all. My understanding is that it should look good for at least a few decades. I don’t know the vulcanized rubber watches from 30 to 40 years ago-so I really don’t know how they are supported.

A black rubber strap is attached to the black case. In the true Marine Diver style, the rubber strap has two black ceramic pieces close to the case. These are engraved with the Athens watch logo. There is a sapphire exhibit back cover on the back of the case, which helps to break the consistent appearance of black rubber. Inside the watch is a caliber UN-35 automatic chronograph movement, which is a basic Swiss ETA. Even the crown and buttons are made of vulcanized rubber to complete the theme. In general, this is a unique sports chronograph watch. I think it looks more interesting when handled in person than in marketing pictures. Finally, I have to ironically comment on the Ulysse Nardin’s press release, which is that “The Black Sea Chronograph is suitable for those who have a few hours before returning to the sea.” You can make a joke about this strange comment about ocean addiction.