In January, Ulysse Nardin will exhibit for the first time at the SIHH watch salon in Geneva after years as a Baselworld mainstay. The brand has released info and pictures on two of the new timepieces it will introduce there: the new Classico Manufacture with a blue grand feu enamel dial, and the limited-edition Hourstriker Pin-Up.
This new edition of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture, like its predecessors, is powered by an in-house movement, self-winding Caliber UN-320, which has a power reserve of 48 hours and is equipped with a silicon hairspring and Ulysse Nardin’s hallmark anchor escapement. The round, stainless steel case measures 40 mm in diameter and 9.6 mm thick. It is water-resistant to 30 meters and has a nonreflective sapphire crystal over the dial and a screwed caseback with a sapphire window offering a view of the movement.
The dial is handcrafted at Donzé Cadrans, a member of the Ulysse Nardin group of companies, which specializes in the art of enameled watch dials. The grand feu (“big fire”) process is a traditional decorative technique, began in the 17th century, mastered by only a handful of modern craftsmen today. Taking its name from the incredible heat required to fuse the enamel powder in the kiln — between 760º and 900° C — the process produces for this watch’s dial a shimmering, translucent blue surface, which contrasts with the white, applied Roman numerals and the hands. The small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock contains a round date window. The watch also features a date corrector that can be set both forward and backward. The dark blue leather strap has a stainless steel tang buckle.
The Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pin-Up is the latest (and perhaps raciest) of the brand’s chiming watches with jaquemarts — tiny automatons mounted on a watch dial that strike the hours on a bell. In this edition, the dial features a miniature painting of a burlesque dancer, posing in high-heel sandals and a flower in her hair and draped seductively in a wreath of peacock feathers. When the chimes are activated — on the hour, on the half-hour, or on demand at the push of a button by the wearer — the peacock’s tail and wing sweeps back, revealing the dancer’s curvy, unclothed figure. The painted jaquemart figure is created with acrylic colors applied and mixed directly on the dial, using extremely delicate brushes, by Ulysse Nardin’s in-house miniature painters. Depending on their complexity, these images can take between 50 and 90 hours to create.
The watch, which is limited to just 28 pieces, contains an automatic movement, Caliber UN-610, which has a power reserve of approximately 42 hours and is visible beneath a sapphire window in the screwed caseback. A nonreflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal also covers the dial. Both the rose gold and platinum versions of the watch have 43-mm-diameter cases, water-resistant to 30 meters, which come on a black leather strap with folding buckle. Prices for the both new watches will be announced at SIHH 2017.