Ulysse Nardin is a brand that I admire for its versatility. On one hand, the brand produces some classy and elegant looking watches whilst on the other the brand is equally comfortable in pulling off some cool looking experimental pieces. Introduced in 2018 the brands Executive Tourbillon Free Wheels collection certainly falls in the latter category and is now being upgraded with 4 new rare and beautiful dial options.
The basic intent behind the Ulysse Nardin Free Wheel watches is to bring the complicated mechanical internals of the watch to the forefront and present them in a manner that everything seems to be just floating in the air without any connection with each other. To achieve this the major components of the movement such as the barrel, the tourbillon and power reserve, etc. have been placed above the main plate whereas the wheels connecting them were hidden underneath. The result is a dial that is full of depth, unique and captivating.
To heighten the visual excitement on display, Ulysse Nardin has now given these watches a cosmetic upgrade. What this primarily involves is the use of intriguing materials to decorate the open spaces such as the base of the dial and the cover of the barrel.
First up is aventurine, which is a blue quartz stone that is naturally reminiscent of a starry night. This one totally falls in line with the concept of this watch and as it gives the impression that all the technical wizardry is hanging right up there along with the stars.
Next in line is Osmium. A rare metal Osmium has been used alongside the white gold model and gives the dial a unique textured look quite reminiscent of a frozen environment.
The third dial option makes use of Straw Marquetry. Yes, you heard that right, this variation uses a small section of black straws that are placed closely to create a unique pattern that makes the golden elements stand out.
Finally, you have Carbonium Gold dial which as the name suggests is a fusion of Gold and Carbon. The result of this combination is material which is not only lightweight but also has a peculiar visual character.
Powering these watches is Ulysse Nardin’s technical masterpiece, Calibre UN-176. This is an in-house hand-wound movement that is packed to the gills with innovative features. One of the more noteworthy detail is the use of a silicium escapement which can be identified by the blue/purple hue of certain components such as the balance wheel, hairspring and pallet fork which have been crafted using silicium. The movement also comes equipped with a flying tourbillon and a power reserve indicator. It operates at a frequency of 2.5 Hz and offers an impressive power reserve of around 7 days.
To conclude I would like to say that these new Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel watches are worthy of being called beautiful Horological Beasts. The watches would come equipped with a 44mm case made from 18k white or yellow gold and production would be limited to 18 pieces for each dial option. All variations would retail for EUR 99,000 whereas the Osmium version would be priced at EUR 102,000.