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Taming the tourbillon at Ulysse Nardin
History & Masterpieces

Taming the tourbillon at Ulysse Nardin

Friday, 07 September 2018
By The FHH Journal editors
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The FHH Journal editors

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2 min read

Since the late 1800s, Ulysse Nardin has made tourbillon movements a part of its tradition, and continues to master this complication in timepieces that range from classical to the most avant-garde.

In 1846, Ulysse Nardin took up the challenge of designing, drawing, and producing the absolute best of time-measuring instruments. The Manufacture has carried on that vision for 172 years, creating watches with the same unbroken passion and garnering more than 4,500 prizes and 18 gold medals in timekeeping—accolades which earned the Manufacture a place amongst the world’s top watchmakers. While the Ulysse Nardin Manufacture claims an illustrious position in the history of on-board watches and marine chronometers, the brand has also made waves with its tourbillons. At Ulysse Nardin, tourbillon chronometers are derived from an art that traces back to the end of the 19th century. The tourbillon contributed to the quest for ultimate precision with its primary function being to compensate for errors due to the effects of Earth’s gravity on a movement in vertical position.

Marine Tourbillon © Ulysse Nardin
Marine Tourbillon © Ulysse Nardin

Since 1983, with Rolf Schnyder serving at the head of the company for over 30 years, Ulysse Nardin today carries on the tradition of its legacy. The watchmaker endlessly develops new rotating cages and adds to the long list of accomplishments, whether it be a flying tourbillon that resembles a “mysterious mechanism” in the Royal Blue Tourbillon in 2013 or the extremely impressive Imperial Blue released the following year featuring flying tourbillon, minute repeater, and grande sonnerie. The Freak Phantom, also released in 2013, brings together state-of-the-art technology with a one-minute tourbillon atop a one-hour carousel tourbillon. In 2015, Ulysse Nardin presented the Constant Ulysse Anchor Escapement, a breathtaking mechanism housed inside a 60-second tourbillon, an innovation that was awarded by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève of Geneva. In 2016, the Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon shined as a true feat of technical prowess, with its patented device complemented by a majestic… flying tourbillon!

Freak Vision © Ulysse Nardin
Freak Vision © Ulysse Nardin

More recently, other examples of Ulysse Nardin’s mastery have been brought to life, such as the Marine Tourbillon equipped with the Manufacture Caliber UN-128 and a flying tourbillon which completes one rotation per minute. The Freak Vision debuted at SIHH 2018, featuring an iconic carousel-style tourbillon that completes one rotation per hour. Now, Ulysse Nardin once more pays homage to its rich history by launching the Executive Skeleton Tourbillon a flying tourbillon on a skeleton base boasting an aesthetic that’s both spidery and poetic, in a pink gold version. This timepiece is the essence of grand complications, reminding us that a sober facade does not rule out great complexity within…

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