Hands-On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Ulysse Nardin Classic Dual Time Enamel
This detailed review of the Ulysse Nardin Classic Dual Time Enamel includes live images, specification and pricing.
In the last few days I have attended a watch exhibition and, quite frankly, when I returned home I was exhausted. The problem with being tired is that one’s judgement can be impaired and the performance of even the simplest of tasks can prove a challenge.
Frequent travel, contending with different timezones and wrestling with jet lag can also prove to be extremely tiring. For many years, various watch companies have offered GMT watches in order to mitigate the cognitive effort needed when calculating the time at home. However, now there is a GMT watch that makes the management of time in two time zones a matter of child’s play.
The Ulysse Nardin Classic Dual Time Enamel offers a user-friendly means of juggling the time in two locales. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the watch and appraise both its horological and travel credentials.
The first thing which arrested my attention with this timepiece was its beautiful enamel dial. Its chaste, white appearance sets the tone for a clean and pure performance. Produced by Ulysse Nardin specialists, Donzé Cadrans, the Grand Feu enamel dial offers a degree of permanence sadly lacking with conventional and, even lacquered, dials. Slender blue, Roman numerals denote the hours and exude an air of elegance with their lithe forms.
Blued feuille hour and minute hands circumnavigate the dial with exquisite poise. Their message is clear, there is no ambiguity.
At 2 o’clock, a large date display features. The date is shown via two apertures and, courtesy of two crisp, blue numerals, proves simple to read. Pressing a push-piece set within the crown allows the wearer to select ‘D’ and adjust the date with a mere twist of the crown. This selector function obviates the need to pull out the crown, thereby mitigating the risk of damage to the winding stem or danger of water / dust ingress.
The aforementioned function selector is located at 3 o’clock and includes three modes: ‘D’ date, ‘W’ winding and ’T’ time. I found this system particularly useful when adjusting the date or setting the time and wish all watches had this facility.
Located at 6 o’clock is a small seconds display. It proves highly legible, partly owing to its significant scale and large seconds hand. A chemin de fer delineates the small seconds display from the rest of the dial and provides a useful scale for the read-off of seconds.
The circular aperture at 9 o’clock reveals the hour at home. On arriving at an overseas destination, the push-pieces at 8 and 10 o’clock are used to set the hour in the local timezone. The hour hand for the local time can be moved in either direction and proves simple to adjust. The home time hour is unaffected while making these adjustments and continues its progress undisturbed. This is without doubt the simplest dual time function I have ever used.
Framing the whole dial is a railroad track. It is positioned on the flange of the dial and provides a fitting conclusion to this most becoming horological landscape.
Measuring 42mm in diameter, I found the Ulysse Nardin Classic Dual Time Enamel very comfortable to wear. This can be partly attributed to the short lugs which taper sharply downwards, enticing the strap to envelop the wrist.
While the crown is large, housing the function selector push-piece, it does not gouge or chafe the skin. Moreover, it proves simple to grip, proffering ease of adjustment.
A pane of sapphire crystal affixed to the case-back confers sight of the self-winding movement within.
The watch is supplied on a luxurious blue alligator leather strap and paired with a stainless steel folding clasp.
Ulysse Nardin is a manufacture and the UN-324 caliber was entirely designed and produced by the Swiss watch company. Similar to other Ulysse Nardin watches, the Classic Dual Time Enamel features a silicium (silicon) escapement, including a silicon hairspring.
Silicon, a state-of-the art material, confers minimal friction often obviating the need for lubricants, is non-magnetic and resistant to corrosion.
Despite the use of avant-garde technologies, Ulysse Nardin has not turned its back on traditional craftsmanship. The bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genéve motif, they feature blued screws and the mainplate is adorned with perlage. This is a quality timepiece.
The movement contains 53 jewels and the power reserve is sufficient to provide approximately 48 hours of autonomy.
Travel can prove tiring, especially when sat in an economy seat on a long-haul flight. At least the Ulysse Nardin Classic Dual Time Enamel makes life a little easier with its user-friendly operation. Arriving at one’s chosen destination requires a few presses of a pushpiece to select the desired local hour. Moreover, the home hour is clearly shown via an aperture at 9 o’clock. Quite frankly, It doesn’t get simpler than this.
The function selector is also intuitive to use and prevents tired fingers from straining the winding stem.
However, I ultimately have to return to the dial. Unlike many brands, Ulysse Nardin has a dial specialist within its own organisation. Furthermore, Donzé Cadrans is a Grand Feu specialist. This in-house expertise allows the maison to produce gorgeous dials few other brands can usurp. The dial on this Classic Dual Time Enamel proves no exception with its pure white face and crisp blue dial detail. This is a beautiful timepiece whose elegance will be apparent to anyone who is fortunate enough to see it at close quarters. Indeed, this is a timepiece which confers a vista I could never tire of and I will be sad to bid farewell to this magnificent watch.
Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42 mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 3 Bar (30 metres)
Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; dual time.
Movement: Caliber UN-324; Self-winding movement; 53 jewels; power reserve approximately 48 hours
Strap: Blue alligator strap with folding clasp
Price: CHF 12,900 (RRP as at 5.11.2017)
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.