“It’s all music,” once described the legendary Duke Ellington about Jazz. And so it is, spanning more than a rhythmic century in existence with many names along the way, from ragtime to swing, bebop to Dixieland, blues to ska. Brought to the stage by African Americans in the early 1900s, fusing African-based music with European harmony and form elements, Jazz is a vivacious and complex type of music that is not clearly defined, and certainly not constrained. It beats strong across continents and cultures with versatility and change, connecting with its listeners’ for a truly visceral experience.
Demonstrating its spirited essence is the workmanship of the Jaquemarts, or animated figures that move in sync with the activated minute repeater. An art form that is consistently refined, hand-engraved Jaquemarts remain a rarity in watch making today. In fact, Ulysse Nardin is among the rare manufacture in the world to incorporate Jaquemarts on the dial of its minute repeaters.
For the Jazz Minute Repeater, the artist applied 18-carat gold “musicians” to a genuine black onyx dial. From their performance space, they play with enthusiasm to their audience. When the minute repeater lever is activated, the hours, quarters and minutes, or a combination of these units, chime, and the band begins its show, playing along with the time.
As much a chiming instrument as it is a timekeeper, the minute repeater is universally considered one of the most difficult watches to create. Ulysse Nardin was one of the first haute horology brands to fuel its rebirth. A labor of love and remarkable skill, the real challenge in the creation of the minute repeater lies in the ability to harness and project superior sound quality. Despite modern technology, the song of a repeater – or the melodic magic within – is dependent on the human ear and must be individually tuned, and often re-cased, by a master watch maker. For the connoisseur, a minute repeater is a dream come true, for time is not only seen, but it is also heard.
Pairing classic and niche elements in watch making with the aesthetic interpretation of an iconic music form, the new Jazz Minute Repeater by Ulysse Nardin is a symbol of excellence and originality in perfect harmony.