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Ulysse Nardin - U.S. Navy Edition Marine Torpilleur presented in Annapolis

Ulysse Nardin U.S. Navy Edition Marine Torpilleur presented in Annapolis

Uysse Nardin celebrates its rich maritime legacy with a new limited edition introduced at the home of the United States Naval Academy.

For the unveiling of its Marine Torpilleur Military Semper Fortis model on Friday 14th September, Ulysse Nardin hosted guests in historic Annapolis, Maryland, home of the United States Naval Academy. 

Ulysse Nardin has long celebrated its illustrious history in marine chronometers, which were used for naval navigation for centuries before computers took over. But while fans of the brand are aware of that historic lore, denoted by the anchor in the logo, many don’t realize that the U.S. Navy was one of its customers. When François-Xavier Hotier, president of Ulysse Nardin Americas, learned of this historic nugget, it seemed only natural to create a limited edition Marine Torpilleur to commemorate the special partnership.

La Marine Torpilleur US Navy présentée à Annapolis

Marine Torpilleur US Navy © Ulysse Nardin

 The brand will produce 173 pieces of the Marine Torpilleur Military Semper Fortis (USD$7,900), named for the U.S. Navy slogan, which means Always Strong. The number corresponds to the number of years since Ulysse Nardin founded his company in Le Locle, Switzerland, in 1846. Nardin specialized in marine chronometers, and his firm soon dominated the market supplying as many as 50 navies around the world.

La Marine Torpilleur US Navy présentée à Annapolis

Ulysse Nardin

In 1905, the Washington Naval Observatory organized a competition for Precision Torpedo Boat Timepieces to find a manufacturer that could supply its torpedo boat officers with superior chronometers that were as reliable and precise as those on flagship naval vessels. Ulysse Nardin won the competition several years in a row, and established an ongoing relationship as an official supplier to the U.S Navy that lasted until the 1950s. 

The brand’s Heritage Director Massimo Bonfigli presented an in-depth discussion on the history of marine chronometers and their importance as navigational instruments, as well as Ulysse Nardin’s role as a leading manufacturer. On hand were a marine chronometer from the 1950s and an historic pocket chronometer on which the limited edition was closely modeled.

La Marine Torpilleur US Navy présentée à Annapolis

The history-making chronometer winner of the first Precision Torpedo Boat Timepieces contest in 1905

“Semper Fortis really pays tribute to the roots, to the old days,” says Bonfigli, who points out the distinctive 24 in red on the power reserve display, just like on the original pocket chronometer. As the watch winds down its 60-hour power reserve, the red 24 serves as an alert to wind the watch before it drops below 24 hours, so that is continues to operate at peak timekeeping performance. For those responsible for maintaining a ship’s chronometer, it was essential to keep the timepiece wound and running at optimal precision since even a slight discrepancy could have disastrous navigational results. 

The 44mm stainless steel case blends satin and polished finishes and is appointed with a classical fluted bezel. Underneath the clean white dial with crisp black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, beats the UN-118 automatic movement, endowed with the brand’s cutting-edge silicon technology. 

Ulysse Nardin timed the launch to the annual Patriot Award gala at the Naval Academy, honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society presented Patriot Awards to Defense Secretary James Mattis, Sen. Susan Collins, Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, and entertainer Jay Leno, who dedicated his award to the late Sen. John McCain, who is buried at the Academy. The brand secured a table at this private, patriotic celebration of the U.S. military, in keeping with the spirit of the day.

La Marine Torpilleur US Navy présentée à Annapolis

Le chronomètre vainqueur du premier concours Precision Torpedo Boat Timepieces en 1905

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