10922-2 Ulysse Nardin Skin Diver
Ulysse Nardin are today probably best known for their outrageous Freak designs and, if I’ve had anything to do with it, an FP Journe designed monopusher. However, I do not think it would be hyperbolic to state that some of UN’s 1960s divers and chronographs were of a quality comparable to the very best period manufactures. Consider the Valjoux 72 7536 screaming past estimates, the beauty of this Scafograf-adjacent 50s diver, or the restraint of this 40s chrono. They’re just oft overlooked and under-discussed. If I have any purpose in this site’s endeavour, which I don’t, it is to shed light on the more dim corners of watchmaking in an attempt to tell a good story and help collectors become truer versions of themselves. God, that was verbose . . . Look this is a damn great watch and there’s not much else to say.
Despite that, I’ll try. There isn’t really a ton of great scholarship on the evolution of UN’s diver offerings or what is and isn’t kosher. If anyone wants to try and take on that task, it would be worthwhile to the community. But here’s what we know; skin divers were a series of lightweight dive offerings from brands who often shared cases or movements between houses. The ‘skin’ refers to the lightweight resistance and nod toward not needing wetsuit & tank. There isn’t really a crystalized definition of what is a skin diver and what isn’t, but those are the basics. Generally speaking they are quite charming, have a range of dial/hand configurations, and have been worn hard.
All of which makes this UN the more special. See, there are not many UN divers point blank. Very few of these skin divers have ever surfaced in the market, so you certainly get the rarity nod. By that I mean one or two every couple years, seriously. I would likely guess based on others that this is powered by the calibre N74, an auto UN movement that is AS 1674 based. Every example I see from this era of UN is very different and it’s hard to find any trustworthy information. On the optimistic slant, that give whoever its next own is a chance to bond and or do some research.
This example presents well. Its dial has a distinct spotting patina, but the effect is even. Its handset retains full massive tritium plots which are matched in the indices. The case has full lugs. The crystal is plexi and has a very distinct cyclops style, one I’ve only seen on Polerouters before. Crown is signed with a very interesting period anchor that also appears in its case back medallion. It comes recently serviced from a small, well-regarded retailer.
Find this 10922 Skin Diver here from The Time Curator for 6400 USD.