Ulysse Nardin had Baselworld buzzing with the introduction of its ultra-complex Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon. On the more classically elegant side, and not to be overlooked in this year’s new launches, is the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture, which celebrates the Swiss brand’s 170th anniversary and features a handsome grand feu enamel dial.
The watch is limited to 170 pieces — one for each year of the Le Locle-based company’s existence — and powered by an in-house movement, Caliber UN-320, which 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.
Like the movement, the dial is produced in-house. It 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 a shimmering white or off-white dial surface. On this watch, that white background contrasts elegantly with the cerulean blue Roman numerals and hands, whose colors are inspired by Ulysse Nardin’s maritime heritage.
The central hours and minutes display is complemented by a small seconds subdial and round date window at 6 o’clock. The watch also features a stop-seconds function, which enables accurate time-setting, and a date corrector that can be set both forward and backward. The self-winding movement holds a power reserve of 48 hours. The blue leather strap echoes the color of the hands, indices, and other blue dial details and has a stainless steel tang buckle.
The Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture 170th anniversary edition carries a retail price of $8,500.