THE ULYSSE NARDIN EXECUTIVE SKELETON TOURBILLON EXHIBITS BOTH AN AESTHETIC AND A PHYSICAL LIGHTNESS COMBINED WITH THE TECHNICAL INSIGHT OF A MAISON BENEFITTING FROM 170 YEARS OF WATCHMAKING EXCELLENCE. ANGUS DAVIES GETS ‘HANDS-ON’ WITH THIS ‘FEATHERLIGHT HOROLOGICAL HEAVYWEIGHT’.
This detailed review of the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon includes live images, specification details and pricing.
A high percentage of the adult population are desirous of a svelte physique. There is a profusion of ‘diet’ products and thousands of unused gym memberships. Quite simply, mass matters to a huge sector of society, even if they are somewhat remiss in seeing through their best intentions.
Ulysse Nardin has tapped into the desire for featherlight qualities but, surprisingly, has paired lightweight properties with an impressive specification, typically found on plump, middle aged watches.
The Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon blends the generous proportions of a 45mm ceramic and titanium case with the minuscule mass of a prima ballerina. Surprisingly, despite tipping the scales with the merest suggestion of matter, Ulysse Nardin has not specified the precise weight of this watch in its press materials. However, believe me when I say that once affixed to the wrist its waif-like mass is barely noticeable and its presence could easily be forgotten if it were not for its prepossessing looks.
Despite Ulysse Nardin being a long-established horological grandee with a rich pedigree of excellence and creativity dating back 170 years, this watch eschews convention, adopting bold, neoteric aesthetics. Moreover, the design language is not merely contemporary but exhibits a degree of creativity and originality worthy of column-inches. Indeed without further ado, I present a star performer, deserving of your attention, ‘Ladies and Gentleman, the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon’.
There is something immediately honest about this watch. It openly declares its inner thoughts and discloses its mechanical motives without the merest hint of stealth. Centre stage, a rectangular bridge, adorned with the brand’s nomenclature, spans the dialscape. Bold sword-shaped hour and minute hands float above a vacuum of airy nothingness. The symbolism is clear, lightness is both implied and a physical attribute.
The hours are indicated with a combination of oversized Roman numerals and elongated hour markers. They appear to levitate over a sea of thin air and, again, their design conveys a sense of lightness.
At noon, a beautifully adorned barrel, harnessing sufficient energy to accord a colossal 170 hours of autonomy, charms onlookers with its decorated cover.
Watching the wheels go round and round
From the winding stem, crown gear and castle gear, via the spring barrel to the gear train, escapement and motion works, everything is freely shown. This horlogical vista is a treat for mechanically inquisitive eyes. The pièce de résistance has to be the sight of the tourbillon. The tourbillon escapement wheel and balance spring are made of silicium, mitigating friction, reducing energy consumption and conferring lightness. Moreover, the silicium beguiles with its distinctive pale blue hue which, together with the rubies, add a smattering of colour to the otherwise ubiquitously monochrome colour scheme.
Despite the modernity of this watch, Ulysse Nardin has not abandoned traditional, fine craftsmanship with circular grained wheels and black polishing in evidence. The centre wheel and third wheel feature double-spokes, reminiscent of the wheels found on some high performance cars, and look very attractive.
The Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is a fascinating watch. While its scale would suggest it should be heavy, it is not. The open-worked nature of the dial should prove complicated and inhibit ease of read-off, but surprisingly everything is magnificently clear. And lastly, with 170 years of experience, the styling could have been conventional and traditional, but instead it is breathtakingly contemporary, original and exciting.
There is no escaping this watch is incredibly light, it grants an unobtrusive union with the wrist while being technically superb and harnessing much watchmaking know-how. There may be an abundance of light airy space within the case of the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon, but don’t be fooled, it is packed with an array of features which clearly define this featherlight timepiece as a horological heavyweight in the world of watchmaking.