The Oil Barons’ Watch: Ulysse Nardin North Sea Minute Repeater
has added to its impressive stable of chiming watches with animated jaquemart dials with the launch of the Ulysse Nardin North Sea Minute Repeater, whose gold-and-champlevé enamel dial features an intricately executed depiction of an offshore oil rig whose mighty cranes move with the striking of the chimes.
The Ulysse Nardin North Sea Minute Repeater combines gold and champlevé enamel on its jaquemart dial.
The Ulysse Nardin North Sea Minute Repeater, which the brand refers to as “a powerful homage to the oil industry,” is part of the Ulysse Nardin Classic Collection, and takes its place alongside other chiming watches with jaquemarts — tiny, mechanized, dial-mounted automatons — such as the recently introduced
Hourstriker Pinup. It has a 42-mm-diameter, 30-meter water-resistant case made of 18k rose gold. The glimmering gold oil rig on the dial, which is seen from a low angle and rises from a black sea and silhouetted against a deep red sky, is made of the same gold, with jaquemart cranes that dip up and down into the water as the hours, quarter-hours and minutes chime on demand when the wearer activates the slide on left-hand side of the case.
The slide on the side of the gold case activates the minute repeater.
The champlevé enamel technique used on the dial (depicted in the photos below), which requires both an engraver and enameller, is an ancient art dating to the 12th Century, and mastered by only a handful of craftspeople today. In the first step, the engraver defines the design on the dial’s gold base plate, carefully creating a three-dimensional image. Afterward, the enameller lays down the different-colored enamels. Finally, the engraver chisels the metal elements to perfection after the dial has been polished.
The movement in the North Sea Minute Repeater is Ulysse Nardin’s Caliber UN-73, a manual-winding movement with a 36-hour power reserve. Equipped with the minute repeater function and its associated animated jaquemarts, the movement is visible through a screwed sapphire caseback. The dial’s streamlined hour and minute hands tell the time on minimalist dot hour and minute indices along the flange. The watch, which is limited to just 18 pieces, comes on a black leather strap with a gold folding buckle.