In the vein of the lion, the tiger is considered a symbol of power and energy, and is featured prominently across continents and cultures. In Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it is often associated with the mightiness of kings.
The leader of Venice, Doge Agostino Barbarigo, commissioned the iconic St. Mark’s Clock Tower on the Piazza San Marco in the 15th Century. With its winged lion of St. Mark and its legendary bronze figures striking the bell hourly, the Clock Tower has been a monument to marvel since it first struck 12.
For Ulysse Nardin, the idea to incorporate Jaquemarts, or animated figures, into its timepieces was ignited by the Clock Tower’s mythical hour strikers. The Clock Tower, alongside the shimmering City of Canals, became the inspiration behind the Ulysse Nardin San Marco Collection and its Hourstriker timepiece.
Drawing from the roots of the original Hourstriker, the Hourstriker Tiger features a completely new case design. Forty three millimeters in diameter, it features a genuine black onyx dial accented by 18-karat rose gold. It is reflective of the trend towards classic watch design while remaining modern; its Jaquemarts illustrate this juxtaposition.
Classically royal in feeling, the timepiece’s focal point is its two beautifully hand-carved 18-karat gold tiger figurines that move with the sound of a gong. A sonnerie en passant with a rare automatic movement, the Hourstriker Tiger plays on the hour on demand or can be set to “gong” the time in passing. As it gongs, the tiger Jaquemarts move the precise number of times the hammer hits the gong.
Depending on preference, the striking mechanism can be activated or deactivated by simply pressing pusher one. When the striking indicator is pointing towards the hour glass (on the left), the striking is deactivated; if aimed towards the point, the striking mechanism is activated. Its complex yet fascinating inner workings are well protected and visible through its sapphire crystal case back. As well, it is water resistant to 30 meters.
Producing mechanisms with a gong is a monumental part of the Ulysse Nardin history. At the end of the 1980s, the gong was combined with the Jaquemart feature, and Ulysse Nardin became one of the earliest manufacturers to fuel the rebirth of the striking mechanism. To this day, Ulysse Nardin is among the rare manufacture in the world to use Jaquemarts on the dial. Its minute and hour repeaters cannot be industrialized, making them exceptional examples of high horology.
The new Hourstriker Tiger presents a classic design of regal power and optimal performance for the future. It is a watchmaking masterpiece in the purest – and most original – form.