Ulysse Nardin redefining the word Triple X or XXX. We Xplore. We Xcite. We Xist.
It’s never a dull moment once you step foot into the booth of Ulysse Nardin at SIHH. This year’s booth was decorated with the deep-sea diving theme/swimming with the sharks. The immersive experience is one of the unique trademarks of the brand and this year included a giant diving cage suspended in mid-air and screens from both ceiling and floor submerged into deep water with the occasional sharks swimming above and below you.
Playing along with the letter ‘X’, Ulysse Nardin timepieces always stands out from the rest of the pack, always daring and pushing their own limits. They are the ‘X factor’ in modern watchmaking, and it is the letter ‘X’ which also defines their own DNA including Xploration, Xtraordinary, Xcess, Xperience, Xcitement, Xtreme and compleX and these are just some of the key words for 2019.
The latest Freak X is the latest line from its Freak predecessors. The sizing is tighter – 43mm instead of 45mm – but it is easier to read and operate. It has a crown for time correction, which breaks with one of the most iconic aspects of the crown-less FREAK VISION or FREAK OUT models, which correct time by the bezel. The “baguette” movement is still a carousel, turning once on itself every hour to indicate the time. It is simpler, bolder, and has fewer wheels. It has no dial and no hands – the central bridge acts as a minute hand and one of the wheels indicates the hours. The four new models come in Titanium Blue, Titanium Black, Rose Gold and Carbonium.
The Skeleton X, introducing an X-Ray vision of next generation The SKELETON X case, reshaped and very small, a mere 42mm, is perfectly on-trend: more angular, more masculine, less round. Its shape-within-shape-within-shape geometry – an X formed by four of the indexes is framed in a rectangle, in turn inside a circle. Inside and clearly visible beats one of the star innovations of the watch’s antecedent, the FREAK VISION: a super-light balance wheel in silicium, extra-wide, with nickel flyweights and stabilizing micro-blades. The new Manufacture movement, the UN-371 caliber, is based on the UN-171 movement, but completely redesigned. The 96-hour power reserve can be read through the back by means of windows, like those in the barrel. The SKELETON X eXists in four different satin-finish versions: satin-finish titanium blue, satin-finish titanium black, satin-finish rose gold or matte-finish carbonium gold.
Both of the above watches have a Carbonium model, the Carbonium is a high-performance composite grade carbon fiber used to make vital structural parts of modern aircraft. It is roughly twice as light as aluminum and twice as environmentally friendly as conventional carbon composite. This is because, unlike most composites, it is not made of virgin materials; 95% of it is eco-sourced from carbon by-products in the aeronautical cycle.
Besides making extraordinary watches, Ulysse Nardin has also been known as the pioneer of making erotic watches for private collectors. This year in their Erotic Red Room, Ulysse Nardin showcased the work of one of the most celebrated Italian erotic comic artists, Milo Manara. The 10 pieces of limited-edition watch dials have been created by Manara in watercolors, taking us on a voyage into the depths of a mythical sea of desire where ‘Ulyssa’ a mermaid, and Nadia, a woman, meet and discover the love for each other from the coral reef barrier and into the deep blue. Highly skilled artisans at the Ulysse Nardin Headquarters in Le Locle have been working around the clock to miniaturize each of Manara’s drawings on the dials, a surface which is roughly ten times smaller than the original water color paintings. The art of miniature painting shows that perfection and is all been painted by hand using a brush the width of a single eyelash. These 40mm case collectable watches come in Stainless Steel or Rose Gold all equipped with dark blue alligator strap.