Ulysse Nardin was taken over by Kering Group 18 months ago, and its collections have been streamlined, reducing the number of references. But their creativity has not been affected, as demonstrated by this wonderful watch that gives the impression of being aboard a classic yacht. The wood marquetry evokes a teak deck, and the time is shown in an unorthodox manner: the hours in a window, changing instantaneously on the hour, and the minutes indicated by a blue aluminium boom that is towed along by a cable, in turn pulled by pulleys and winches.
“Cable” is of course an exaggeration: it is in fact a nanowire, just 0.0357 mm in diameter, a third of the thickness of a human hair. Made of polyethylene Dyneema® fibre, it is stronger than steel, and it can withstand a force of 1.41 kg without stretching. Once the boom reaches the 60 mark, it slowly moves back to zero, an action that takes three or four seconds, the speed regulated by a special regulator.
The top two pairs of wires on the dial are purely decorative, as are the handrails. At the bottom of the dial is the 60-second flying tourbillon that regulates the hand-wound UN-630 Calibre comprising 469 components. The watch has two mainspring barrels, one powering the time functions, the other operating the winches. The power reserve is 48-52 hours, and the degree to which the mainsprings are wound can be seen empirically through the skeletonized barrels visible through the sapphire caseback.
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This extraordinary mechanism is contained in a 44mm-diameter gold case. Notwithstanding the complication of this piece, it is still water-resistant to 100 metres. The more you look at it, the more details you discover, such as the two flags at the top that spell out the initials UN, and the anchor logo decorating the tourbillon.
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This is a limited edition of 18 pieces, each costing €280,000. The figure is the same for dollars and Swiss francs. www.ulysse-nardin.com