Semper Fortis, Latin for “always strong,” is the motto of the US Navy. With the new Marine Torpilleur Military Semper Fortis, Ulysse Nardin celebrates its long-standing position as a supplier to the US Navy and uses the design of its legendary “Torpedo Boat Watches” as inspiration for a contemporary limited edition.
Ulysse Nardin introduced the Marine Torpilleur as a bridge between its classical and modern timepieces, leveraging its legitimacy in marine chronometers and other military timepieces to create a contemporary classic. Limited to 173 pieces — the number of years Ulysse Nardin has been in operation — this new Marine Torpilleur is a 44mm wrist chronometer. The dial of this watch is very similar to the originals, and the hands are exactly the same, but the timepiece has been upgraded with modern-day advancements, using Ulysse Nardin’s cutting-edge silicium technology to guarantee the precision for which its predecessor was renowned.
Cool touches include the red number “24” on the power reserve indicator, a reference to the warning system on the original US Navy marine chronometers, letting the sailors know that the timepiece needed to be wound. The sapphire-crystal exhibition back puts the automatic movement on full display, with “US Limited” and “Semper Fortis” laser-engraved on the crystal.
Ulysse Nardin has a tradition of precision, having won a competition held by the Washington Naval Observatory in 1905. The prize? The right to supply marine chronometers to the US Navy. “Ulysse Nardin is proud of its storied past supplying the US Navy with Marine Deck Chronometers,” says François-Xavier Hotier, president, Ulysse Nardin Americas. “Our partnership began in the early 1900s. We were tested by the Naval Observatory in Washington and selected to supply the Navy because we were No.1 in both precision and reliability. After the US Navy began to purchase our marine chronometers, other countries began to do the same, reinforcing our credibility in navigation worldwide.” Ulysse Nardin is so proud of its marine chronometer history that it has produced a book focusing on its US Navy affiliation, entitled Ulysse Nardin & The US Navy.
“The watch is elegant and modern, despite a design that can be traced back to the early 1900s,” Hotier adds. “More importantly, it tells an authentic and important story. We launched the watch in Annapolis at the US Naval Academy, during the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention. Ulysse Nardin participated as a Stars & Stripes partner; it was an amazing experience to be in a place steeped in such honor and tradition among the Medal of Honor recipients and the midshipmen. When you have a long-standing heritage, you can afford to be disruptive. We will continue to unveil our past with a modern twist.”
The Marine Torpilleur timepieces are an interesting combination of the past and the future, the perfect bridge for Ulysse Nardin, which is in the unique position of using its illustrious past to reinvigorate its present and future.