Le Locle-based Ulysse Nardin made their debut showing at SIHH this year, and we have to say, they brought the heat. We’re used to brands showing us one or two major novelties, but it’s safe to say UN went far beyond that. From technical tourbillons and regatta timers through to stunning dress pieces, vintage reissues and haute horlogerie wonders, the scale and substance of Ulysse Nardin’s offering meant their booth had a real buzz. What does this mean for Australian watch fans? Well, expect to see and hear a whole lot more about UN in the coming months as the brand makes inroads into the local market.
We’re all taught the colours of the rainbow from pre-school, so it’s amazing how many of us grow up to wear only black. Anything brighter is definitely viewed as a risk, which is why smaller wardrobe items are a great starting point for that gamble. For guys, it might be a patterned pocket square or the flash of contrasting sock, while ladies can dabble with a broader palette through make-up and jewellery. Across the board, though, one place that’s perfect for introducing colour is the wrist. My first thoughts on seeing the Ulysse Nardin Classico Automatic Lady, fresh for 2017, was that it is very, very bright. But, as is so often the case with watches, you really need to spend some quality time with it before jumping to conclusions. Up close, the translucent blue enamel dial is so vibrant, it’s on the cusp of purple – and in daylight, it’s hard to take your eyes off the sun ray guilloché. It really is show-stopping, to the point that the 60 diamonds circling the case are really just a support act. The leaf-shaped hands are elegantly tapered, pointing towards Roman numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12, with indices in between keeping… Read More
Ulysse Nardin pulled out all the stops for its first SIHH showing. In a fair charactered by conservative product releases, the Le Locle-based manufacturer presented a strong line-up of novelties, with a strong nautical theme, highlights including the new regatta timer, the technically impressive Marine Grand Deck, as well as this watch – the Classico Manufacture Grand Feu. This very traditional timepiece is jam-packed with smart details and offered at a highly competitive price. At 40mm across, the round steel case is hard to dislike, with its wide polished bezel, slightly clawed lugs set into the case middle and a crown that’s simple, sturdy and not at all fiddly. Nice though the case is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s within. The movement is the UN-320 caliber, made entirely in-house, down to the silicium hairspring and escapement – a feat of which the brand is rightly proud (the oft-repeated message at SIHH was that none of the other exhibiting brands made their own silicon hairsprings). The movement finishing is neat, though not astonishing. The rotor, with its blue anchor logo and wave pattern is quite pleasing on the eye. The dial is another story. It’s a ‘grand feu’ enamel dial in vivid,… Read More
With a penchant for the avant-garde, Ulysse Nardin is a tricky customer to pin down stylistically. They’re most famous for their marine chronometers, but they also produce simple, lean pieces that embody elegance. They also dabble in the upper echelons of haute-horology with their famous Freak as well as models with painstakingly elaborate hand-painted dials. The modern and ultra-lightweight Executive Skeleton Tourbillon (which has been pre-selected for this year’s GPHG awards in the Tourbillon category) shows off another side of Ulysse Nardin. With its bold 45mm titanium case topped with a ceramic bezel, this featherweight piece won’t weigh your wrist down, despite its size. Through the sapphire crystal, the hands and oversized Roman numerals appear to float on the dial barely obscuring the view of the movement In order to achieve minimum weight the movement, which is the the manual winding Calibre UN-171 Manufacture, has been skeletonised to further reduce any unnecessary heft, while still offering an ample power reserve of 170 hours. The black, rectangular bridge is a nice modern touch that frames the movement. At Baselworld this year, Ulysse Nardin made waves with their Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon. That piece employed some nifty tricks that involved using a series of… Read More
The world of luxury watch parent companies can, we admit, be a bit of a snoozefest – we all care more about balance wheels than balance sheets. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. So, in this spirit of due diligence we report that the Kering Group, a luxury goods company that includes watch brands Girard-Perregaux and Jean-Richard in their portfolio (We spoke to GP and JR CEO Michele Sofisti recently) has acquired yet another luxury watch brand; Ulysse Nardin. Now, Australian’s can be forgiven for not knowing a lot about Ulysse Nardin – as they don’t get much coverage down here. If you haven’t heard of them, think Corum with a dash of Hublot and you’re in the right ballpark. And while the nautical themed brand has been around since 1846, they’re perhaps best known for their iconic and groundbreaking Freak. The Freak was released in 2001 and managed to contain the entire escapement and gear train of the watches mechanical movement in the second “hand” of the watch. The Freak also managed to do away with the need for the crown – instead you adjust the time via the watches bezel. It’s a cool watch. There’s a nice… Read More