For years, one of the signatures of Ulysse Nardin has been its fine GMT watch. The Dual Time models have a legible dial with just two center-mounted hands, making for a simple, intuitive reading of the time in multiple locations. In 2014, the brand re-released the Dual Time with an important advancement: an in-house movement produced in UN’s Le Locle factory. At this year’s Baselworld, the brand added two more versions of the Dual Time Manufacture, including a nautically-themed limited edition.
Both new versions of the Dual Time Manufacture come in a 42-mm gold case. It is water resistant to 30 meters. The watches maintain the dial layout of their predecessors: local time is shown by the center-mounted hour and minutes hands, with small seconds at 6 o’clock. A labeled “home time” porthole is found at 9 o’clock. The big date shows in paired windows at 2 o’clock. A minutes track is detailed around the flange.
Beyond the great readability of the dial, though, the best feature of the Dual Time is how easy it is to set. Via the pushers on the left side of the case, you can adjust the hands for local time in a jiffy. Not only can you set the local time either forward or backward, but the date display will switch in either direction as you adjust the local time. This eliminates one of the main difficulties that horological jet-setters run into, especially when datelines get crossed.
The first of the new Dual Time Manufacture versions has more in keeping with last year’s models. It has an ivory dial which nicely offsets the gold of the case. Like the previous versions, it has baton-shaped hour markers – though for the first time it adds a “12” at the top of the dial. The partly skeletonized hands echo the shape of the indexes. It comes on a brown leather strap with a folding buckle.
The other new version, however, makes more significant modifications to the look of the Dual Time. Tied to UN’s nautical roots, this is certainly a marine watch. It has a deep blue dial with a rope motif. The three-dimensional, pointed hour markers, faceted and in varying sizes, almost look like nautical pennants. These too are recalled in the shape of the pointed hands, which graduate outward towards their ends. The “home time” label on the 9-o’clock window has also been replaced by “dual time” – perhaps acknowledging that a seaman may not be so tied to a single idea of home. The watch comes on a blue leather strap with a folding buckle.
Through the back of either Dual Time Manufacture you can see Caliber UN-334. It has a silicon escapement beating at 4 Hz. It runs in 49 jewels. It is an automatic movement.
The new Dual Time Manufacture models are both priced at $26,500. The difference between them, though, is in exclusivity: only 500 pieces of the blue version will be produced, but the ivory/brown model has no production limit.