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Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture
Mothers and sons
Angus Davies was reminded of the merit in openness and honesty when he looked at this watch, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture. His in-depth watch review sees much virtue in a timepiece that openly bears its soul.
I am currently on holiday and witnessing first hand the dynamic between my wife and son. There is something special between mother and son. I can see it in my wife’s eyes. She looks at him with devoted adoration which only a parent could ever know.
I listen to her anxiety regarding any potential female admirer. It seems seasoned ladies perceive machiavellian intent on the part of their fellow females. I have heard on several occasions, her caution, “be careful who you get mixed up with”.
It seems discussions with my wife and daughter reveal their perception that men are ill-equipped to deal with the amorous advances of a flattering female. I think I struck lucky. Heidi, my wife, was my first true-love and we have been married for 21 years and counting.
There has never been any indication of hidden agenda or devious tactics. Her openness and honesty often reaffirms the reason I fell for her in the first place, aged a naive 18 years.
Openness and honesty
Some will begin to question the rationale for this introduction and what it has to do with haute horology. The answer is simple. I was reminded of the merit in openness and honesty when I looked at this skeletonised tourbillon from Ulysse Nardin. There is no slight of hand, devious tactics or “smoke and mirrors” to fool or deceive. This watch openly bears its soul and signals its intent.
This is Ulysse Nardin’s first foray into skeletonised timepieces and to my eyes is an immediate success. To some, there may be a need to see more experience at producing skeletonised watches prior to parting with hard-earned cash. However, I would counter with the argument that Ulysse Nardin have a long tradition of making exceptional watches harking back to 1846. This brand is no apprentice, but the wise master with exceptional knowledge and timed-served talent to draw upon.
Looking at the dial of the watch, there is open-disclosure of the inner psyche of the timepiece. Those with incredulous eyes will enjoy the spectacle of the exposed winding stem, gear train and barrel cover.
Indeed, the barrel cover honestly declares its power reserve, nomen and place of origin. It has a truthfulness and yet remains beautiful in its execution courtesy of bead-blasting and peerless polishing. Moreover, with a power reserve of 170 hours from one spring barrel there is justification in stating this attribute. The impressive power reserve will in no doubt be due to the parsimonious thirst of the escapement with low-friction components used.
Blued hands convey the hours and minutes, their open-worked tips reinforcing this watches need to expose a little flesh.
Examining the bridges, sunray satin-brushing stands testament to the talent of the artisans based in the manufacture. The hand-bevelled edges and polished jewel sinks further attest to the no-compromise execution of this watch.
Silicon - state of the art know-how
At 6 o’clock the flying tourbillon resides. It employs state of the art know-how, featuring a silicon balance spring, pallet lever and escape wheel. The brand was one of the pioneers of using silicon watches back in 2001.
Some purists argue that the traditional materials are best as they lend themselves to finishing and the nurturing hand of an accomplished watchmaker. However, there is less friction with silicon, mitigating wear and reducing power consumption. Moreover, there is less sensitivity to temperature or magnetism. Indeed, their are certainly several valid reasons for its use.
In the end, I remain undecided about the use of silicon in watchmaking. I can see both points of view. However, one thing I can’t deny is that in this instance the unusually designed purple escape wheel looks gorgeous and engages with my adoring eyes every time I look at the dial.
Most notable is the transparency of this watch. It allows the wearer to see through areas of the dial and examine each nuance of its finely executed form.
The purity of a chaste bride
In summary, this watch has the purity of a chaste bride. It has no ulterior motives but honestly engages with potential suitors, expressing its intentions and encouraging vows of undying love.
If this watch were a potential daughter-in-law, I think my wife would be happy for her to share food at our table and join her precious son in matrimonial union.
However, like anything of merit, there is scarcity of supply with only 99 models in red gold and 99 in platinum. Those who share my admiration for this watch, should readily offer their hand in marriage.
- Model: Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture
- Reference: 1702-129 (18-carat red gold); 1709-129 (platinum)
- Case: 18-carat red gold or platinum; diameter 44.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; flying tourbillon.
- Movement: Calibre UN-170 Manufacture, hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5Hz); 23 jewels; power reserve 170 hours
- Strap: Alligator leather strap with pin buckle