I remember the first time I saw the Executive Dual Time watch. I visited Ulysse Nardin at a watch trade show and saw some models that I was not yet familiar with. Obviously they are UN watches, but they don’t have the typical UN look that many associate with the brand. The “Executive” in the name seems to imply that the UN wants these watches to be aimed at business people looking for reliable everyday wear. The construction is impressive and I can’t get over that super clear dial – but do I love this watch?
After using the Ulysse Nardin Executive Dual Time watch for a while, I can easily say that I really like this watch. I wasn’t sure at first, but this piece really took me seriously – thanks in large part to a combination of factors including movement, legibility and quality. I still don’t know how it fits into the overall DNA of the Ulysse Nardin line, and frankly, I don’t even care. Ulysse Nardin is an independent watch maker – they can design and release whatever they like without having to make sure it fits some prescribed mold.
This particular Executive Dual Time watch is numbered # 243-00/42. Look online and you’ll find a wide variety of styles in the collection. The stainless steel (also 18k rose gold) case is 43mm wide with a very wide lug construction and strap. This makes it feel larger on the wrist while not looking like a big watch. 43mm wide isn’t too big today, and the mostly round case with thick bezels makes it look less bulky on the wrist. The bezel reminds you it’s black ceramic. Here, materials are used appropriately to add color, gloss, and of course the high level of scratch resistance of ceramics.
Ulysse Nardin does a great job of making this case interesting, but not too weird. Fully polished, the finish is well done, and the little details on the case keep it from getting boring. The proprietary strap connection on the lugs forces you to only buy the Ulysse Nardin strap, but you might argue that it deserves the unique look. Even the details on the crown guard and the crown with the UN logo can be easily appreciated. On the other side of the case are two ceramic buttons and a serial number plate. While this is not a limited edition watch, Ulysse Nardin likes to personalize each piece with a nameplate bearing its unique serial number.
What impresses me is that the Executive Dual Time is water resistant to 100 meters. It’s not terribly high or anything, but it exceeds my expectations for this type of watch. Above the dial is a sapphire crystal with just the right amount of AR coating to prevent glare as much as possible. Another sapphire crystal sits above the case back to reveal the movement.
As I said, dial legibility is excellent. I think one of the main advantages of the series. On this model, the dial is a smooth black with a mix of applied and printed hour markers. UN appropriately uses diamond-cut and polished indexes and hands to create a high level of contrast, while retaining the desire for polished metal.
Design-wise, the dial has a large rectangular minute indicator and circular secondary seconds dial, among other elements that don’t seem to come together on paper. This combination of seemingly random design cues from brands like Cartier and Roger Dubuis actually makes sense — but probably not at first. Like I said, I wasn’t drawn to the watch’s dial design until I lived with it for a while. Now I really appreciate the combination of elegance and functionality. The dial does have lumens, but not a lot. Quality SuperLumiNova parts are used for the hands and some hour markers on the inner scale. Having said that, the high-contrast dial itself is easy to read in the dark without Luminous.
What about the dual time function? Ulysse Nardin fake apparently released this system back in 1996, and it’s still a powerful module made by the brand. Inside this watch is the caliber UN-24 automatic movement. This is composed of a modified Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. Above it is a special Athens module that adds a large date indicator and second time zone. What struck me about UN-24 was two things. First, the movement runs very smoothly. You’ll feel that all the kinks have been worked out from the movement long ago, and making adjustments feels safe and controllable. Sometimes the movements feel as if they have little work and development is rushed – but not here.
The date adjustment feature you’ll love is the ability to adjust dates back and forth. Trust me – it’s a good thing. The dual time function is displayed through a window that displays the time in 24-hour format. This is the same function as GMT, but it uses a disc with a GMT hand to indicate a second time zone. Both times change when you adjust the time via the crown. The trick lies in the two buttons on the left side of the case – these are used to change the local time (main dial) forwards and backwards. The result is an easy-to-read, easy-to-adjust GMT watch for travel. There are even handy plus and minus signs on the putter. The ability to move the date and time zone in both directions shows a dedication to user experience, which is actually a bit of a rarity in this industry.
Compared to many watches, the Executive Dial Time replica watch gets quite a few compliments on my wrist. I guess it does have a nice “execution” look. The strap is available in textured rubber and alligator leather. The bi-fold button expander is made of smooth polished metal in a style I’ve never seen before. Even that element has a lot of attention. Overall, it’s the many little details that make this great watch. I warmly compliment it to anyone who might benefit from its functionality and see this beautiful watch on their wrist.