At the Geneva Watch Days event in late August, Ulysse Nardin unveiled a new collection called Blast. The collection featured timepieces with a new, self-winding, skeletonized caliber with a flying tourbillon; a multifaceted case design inspired by the lines of stealth aircraft; and a new “one-click” folding clasp. A week later, Ulysse Nardin introduced another Blast reference, positioned as a high-end jewelry timepiece, whose openworked, automatic tourbillon movement, as well as its case, are embellished with geometrically-cut diamonds in a motif reminiscent of a mosaic.
The new Sparkling Blast is limited to three pieces and has a 45-mm-diameter, white-gold case, with either a white-colored rubber strap or a deep blue-colored alligator strap. Each watch is adorned with a total of 211 hand-faceted diamonds across the case, crown, bezel, indexes, and hands; 85 of those diamonds are uniquely cut, giving the timepiece a total weight of 13 carats. The X-shaped cage on the openworked dial is also set with an array of diamonds, directly embedded into the architecture of this “shape-within-shape-within-shape” of the watch face, to highlight the large “X” framed inside the rectangle, itself framed inside the circle of the bezel.
Ulysse Nardin says that the design of the case middle and its distinctive triple lugs borrows its “aligned edges and serrated triangular patterns” from the silhouettes of the wings found on stealth fighter jets, which make them invisible to radar and radio waves.
The diamonds are set using an “invisible setting” technique that originated in France 200 years ago. In this setting, the diamonds are held in place by a hidden structure, which creates a floating appearance inside the metal ring but is invisible from the surface.
Like the Executive Skeleton Tourbillon and the other Blast models that preceded it (you can read more on the tourbillon, here), the new Sparkling Blast reference is powered by the skeletonized Caliber UN-172. This movement is an upgraded version of Ulysse Nardin’s existing Caliber 171, updated to feature a platinum micro-rotor, visible from the front at 12 o’clock, which is the silicon mainspring’s source of power, automatically winding it to amass a power-reserve up to three days (72 hours). Inside the movement is a 2.5-Hz silicon flying automatic tourbillon. Of the movement’s 137 components, 23 of them belong to the tourbillon.
The Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Blast retails for CHF 410,000 on either a white-colored rubber strap or a deep blue-and-white-colored leather strap, with a self-deploying buckle adorned with 1.22k of diamonds. The array of diamonds set on each timepiece comply with the World Diamond Council System of Warranties to ensure that no “conflict diamonds” enter the supply chain.
|Movement:||Caliber UN-172, automatic tourbillon movement|
|Functions:||Hour, minute, silicon mainspring, escapement wheel, platinum micro-rotor at 12 o’clock, 25 jewels, 18,000-vph, 72-hour power-reserve|
|Case:||White gold, polished and sandblasted, 211 diamonds (13k)|
|Bracelet & Clasp:||White rubber strap, dark blue alligator leather strap|
|Dimensions:||Diameter = 45 mm|