Ulysse Nardin UFO Final Edition: The unidentified floating object of my desire… Ulysse Nardin UFO Final Edition: The unidentified floating object of my desire…

Ulysse Nardin UFO Final Edition: The unidentified floating object of my desire…

Mitchell Barber

If you’re working from home right now and looking out over your barren desk, take a moment to stop and think about what your options are for sprucing the place up. You could put a bunch of flowers on there perhaps, maybe a picture of your family, Or that elephant statue your mother-in-law got you from Thailand. Wouldn’t that be nice! Maybe not….

How about something special, something more inline with your horological passions. I’ve got just the thing…

From the gloriously eccentric brains that brought us the Freak, silicone, and shark-themed advertising, Ulysse Nardin has created what I can only describe as part clock, part sculpture and part alien experiment. Introducing the final edition of the Ulysse Nardin UFO.

In its last production run, the infamous table clock has been revived in three different colour ways for Yoshida watch, Bucherer and The Hour Glass.

The new UFO (unidentified floating object) is Ulysse Nardin’s final hurrah for their marine chronometer of the future.

But where did it come from?

Believe it or not, Ulysse Nardin is going back to their roots with the UFO. In 1846, Ulysse Nardin began creating precision Marine Chronometers, developed to aid in navigational calculations using the stars. These devices were mounted in gyro-stabilised boxes to keep them steady on the high seas. These devices were so advanced that they could cost up to one third of the price of the entire ship. Expensive stuff.

Nothing much has changed, I see!

Is that thing an egg?

At 263 mm tall, the UFO stands on an anodised aluminium base (one colour for each retailer) and is encased in a beautiful glass bubble blown entirely by hand. The case has an incredible organic feel with slight undulations over the entire surface. You get a real sense of craftsmanship here.

There’s no “feet” to speak of underneath. Just a rounded base that supports the movement while giving the UFO a playful look. Like a ship in rough seas, it rocks back and forth until righting itself (a bit like a cat’s toy!).

A lot of work has been done to make sure the balance is spot on. Every piece weighs the same, 7.2 kg, and considering almost the entire structure is blown glass, this is an impressive feat. This exacting standard has allowed Ulysse Nardin to ensure each UFO stands up straight every time.

It’s playful, precise, and screams, “don’t take me too seriously”. All things I’ve learnt to love about Ulysse Nardin in general.

The Caliber UN-902

Dear lord, what a monster this movement is. Let’s rattle off some specs.

  • Three time zones
  • Dead beat seconds
  • Huge oscillator.
  • 0.5 htz beat rate (3,600 vph)
  • 675 components.

All of this alone is impressive enough, but there’s one more thing that is so ridiculous I had to do a double take.

The power reserve is one year….. 365 days.

This is possible thanks to the six monstrous barrels, stacked in sets of two, that constitute the lower half of the movement. There’s no daily winding required here, folks.

Picture this. You’ve woken up on New Year’s Day, hungover from your night on the town, and you are spending the morning winding your UFO for the year. What a way to start checking off that resolution list!

The three dials are radially positioned, and can each be set individually to show you different timezones, behind them, the going train and the over size balance wheel occupy the centre of the structure. The lazy beat of the balance is great to watch and brings the whole thing to life.

More than a clock?

The main competition for the UFO would have to be the Atmos by JLC, and to be honest, that clock, with its atmospheric winding system, is so fragile you can’t even touch it. So, it’s refreshing to see that with the UFO, you’re encouraged to interact with it.

It’s less an art object and more a kinetic sculpture that pleases all the senses.

Look at it, and you’re treated with beautiful finishing and detailed mechanics, touch it, and it plays with you, gently rocking to let you know it’s alive, and winding those six barrels proves a treat for the ears.

After two years of R&D and developed in a joint venture with Maison L’Épée in Delémon, the UFO is a refreshingly practical and resilient take on mechanical sculpture.

The UFO comes in three colours, blue for Bucherer, champagne for The Hour Glass and green for Yoshida. All are editions of 30 and only available at their respective boutiques.

If you missed out on the first edition of 75 UFOs or weren’t the lucky winner of the orange only watch edition, this may be your last chance to snap one up.

Beam me up, Scotty!

Pricing & availability

Produced in a limited run of 30 pieces per colourway, Ulysse Nardin’s final UFO timekeepers will retail for US$68,600 (excluding taxes) at the corresponding retailer for each region.