Ulysse Nardin Classic Perpetual Ludwig
The Ulysse Nardin Classic Perpetual Ludwig rewrites the rules for perpetual calendars, allowing adjustment of all indications merely with a twist of the crown.
In life we often needlessly complicate the simple. However, Ludwig Oechslin, Master Watchmaker, was adept at simplifying the complicated. He was responsible for creating Ulysse Nardin’s first perpetual calendar in 1996; a timepiece which refined the complication to the essential, removing the extraneous.
This new model, the Classic Perpetual Ludwig, pays tribute to Mr Oechslin, taking the typically über-complex perpetual calendar complication and making it appear comparatively simple to use.
Unlike most perpetual calendars there are no correctors to be found on the caseband of this new timepiece. Indeed, all adjustments are performed via the crown. The large date display can be adjusted both forwards or backwards without fear of damaging the movement.
The ‘silverized’ dial is softly spoken and an exemplar of good taste.
Blued leaf-shaped hands impart the hours and minutes. The hours are denoted with slender, faceted batons.
At 2 o’clock, a large date display resides. Its twin apertures feature a stepped profile, drawing the eyes to the prevailing date. Beneath a horizontal axis from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock, two additional apertures reveal the day and month.
Positioned above 6 o’clock, the year is shown in two digit form via two apertures.
Adjacent 9 o’clock is a small seconds display. It is snailed and features a blued hand. This display provides a comely contrast with the rest of the dialscape and augments the visual interest of the dial vista.
Encircling the dial is a chemin de fer, making the read-off of minutes child’s play.
The dial is both highly practical and incredibly beautiful. Despite the array of indications shown, the dial never feels cluttered and everything is simple to interpret. The blue hands and silver dial are gorgeous. In particular, the contrast of the small seconds display with the remainder of the dial is especially attractive.
Unlike many perpetual calendars, the Classic Perpetual Ludwig is not encased in noble metal but stainless steel. By adopting this approach this permits Ulysse Nardin to offer this timepiece at a very keen asking price of €19,800.
Another significant aspect of this perpetual calendar is that its dimensions are comparatively modest. Most watches equipped with this complication have much bigger dimensions. Measuring a mere 41mm in diameter, the Classic Perpetual Ludwig will suit a broad array of different wrist sizes.
The case-band arcs inwards adjacent the case-back, heightening visual interest. The lugs are elongated, making the watch seem larger than reality.
The crown has subtle knurling, mitigating the risk of skin abrasions, but remains easy to manipulate. A Ulysse Nardin emblem adorns the vertical flank of the crown. Gracing the case-band, adjacent 9 o’clock, a plaque specifies the individual serial number of the watch.
A pane of sapphire crystal adorns the dorsal flank of the case, affording views of the self-winding movement within.
The understated nature of steel ideally suits this timepiece. It is quietly unassuming and brims with refinement and style.
The Caliber UN-33 is a self-winding movement. It showcases the prowess of Ulysse Nardin and its talented New Product Development Department. As previously mentioned, this is a very user-friendly movement allowing the wearer to perform simple adjustments to the date, month, etc, with a mere twist of the crown. It does beg the question why other watch companies still insist on using case-band correctors and corrector tools.
The movement is a sea of circular Côtes de Genève motif. Numerous blue screws populate the bridges. The oscillating mass features the brand’s logo in blue, two small apertures and sections of engraved metal which evince a frosted-like appearance.
Thirty-four jewels feature within the movement and the power reserve is approximately 48 hours.
The Classic Perpetual Ludwig delivers complexity in a simple to use package. The movement harnesses all of the indications found with most perpetual calendars but obviates the use of correctors and correction tools to adjust the indications. Everything is easily adjusted with the crown.
Despite a plethora of indications, the dial does not feel congested with all functions having sufficient space to breathe and all indications being of ample size to be easily read.
Beyond practical considerations, the dial is achingly gorgeous and a paragon of good taste.
The tastefully understated steel case is beautiful and allows Ulysse Nardin to deliver the Classic Perpetual Ludwig at a very competitive price point.
This is a wonderful timepiece which leads one to reappraise how perpetual calendars should be. The Classic Perpetual Ludwig is a fitting tribute to a remarkable watchmaking talent and the masterpiece he conceived.
• Model: Ulysse Nardin Classic Perpetual Ludwig
• Ref: 333-900
• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; month; year; large date
• Movement: Caliber UN-33, self-winding movement; 34 jewels; power reserve of approximately 48 hours
• Strap: Black leather strap supplied with pin buckle.
• Price: €19,800 (RRP as at 12.5.2017)