Ulysse Nardin is one of the few high-watchmaking maisons in the modern era to produce watches with jaquemarts — tiny automatons mounted on a watch dial that strike the hours on a bell. The brand’s latest, debuting at Baselworld 2016, is the Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker “Horse,” a limited edition of 28 pieces paying tribute to one of the most majestic of animals.
The watch — which follows up other notable jaquemart timepieces from UN, such as 2013’s Carnival of Venice and last year’s Hannibal Minute Repeater — has a genuine black onyx dial and is available in either an 18k rose gold or platinum case, each measuring 43 mm in diameter. Positioned between 10 and 12 o’clock, and 1 and 3 o’clock, are two hand-carved, equine jaquemarts, which move together in synchronicity with the sounding of the watch’s chimes, activated by a hammer striking a gong. The Hourstriker “Horse” is a sonnerie en passant, which chimes every hour and half-hour on demand (using the pushers above and below the winding crown) and can also chime the time in passing.
The horse figures, sculpted from 18k gold, are a study in contrast, with one posed in a “rearing up” fight-or-flight stance and the other in a dynamic, purposeful racing gait. The detail work on them is impressive, with chiseled, well-proportioned musculatures, realistic facial features, and long, flowing manes and tails.
The Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker “Horse” contains an automatic movement, Caliber UN-610, which has a power reserve of 42 hours and is visible beneath a sapphire window in the screwed caseback. A nonreflective sapphire crystal also covers the dial. Both the rose gold (Ref. 6106-130/E2-HORSE) and platinum (Ref. 6109-130-E2-HORSE) versions of the watch are water-resistant to 30 meters and come on a black leather strap with folding buckle. Prices for the new Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker are available on request.