To serve as the light in these dark and trying times, Ulysse Nardin has awakened its latest creation in the Executive Collection: the Sparkling Free Wheel. Paying tribute to the beauty and bucolic atmosphere of Le Locle, the home of the Ulysse Nardin manufacture, keep reading to find out how the watchmaker created this glittering timepiece.
The diamond-setting technique used on this chef d’oeuvre is called “snow setting”, a complex process that’s performed only by the most gifted and diligent craftsmen, where diamonds of various sizes are placed side-by-side to completely cover the surface, like a fresh blanket of Swiss snow. In an effort to practice and promote sustainability, Ulysse Nardin also strictly adheres to the Kimberly Process to ensure that every diamond is ethically sourced.
“For over 30 years, Art Setting has worked tirelessly to preserve the ancestral techniques of gem setting pioneered by our forebearers,” said Claude Leblanc, Director of Art Setting in a statement. “We take pride in putting all our knowledge and experience at the service of constant innovation.”
Comprised of 2,251 pavé stones, each diamond on the Sparkling Free Wheel was rigorously selected, amounting up to a total of 5.90 carats. The diamond setting alone takes about 120 hours of meticulous work to complete, in order to dress the watch from the face of the gray-gold dial to the horns, and even the barrel cover. Even the carbon soft-touch, black alligator strap features a clasp set with diamonds using the snow setting technique.
Moving on to the more technical aspects of the Sparkling Free Wheel, it features the dial’s tourbillon bridges and the 7-day power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, which are shaped like boomerangs soaring through the air. Other components such as the hour and minute indicators, as well as the gear trains also sport a weightless effect, housed within the 41mm sapphire glass case.
Powering the timepiece is the mechanical movement UN-176, which is entirely developed in-house at the Ulysse Nardin manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Its flying tourbillon is the “Ulysse Anchor Escapement”, a pioneering technology that replaces the traditional Swiss lever escapement system, which uses the marque’s signature low friction silicium instead of metal or synthetic rubies.
Limited to only 8 pieces, the Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Free Wheel retails for 225,000 CHF (approximately RM998,861). For more information, visit the official website here.
Photos: Ulysse Nardin