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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
Ulysse Nardin - Executive Skeleton Tourbillon

Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon

A closer look at the Executive Skeleton Tourbillon by Ulysse Nardin, which has been preselected in the Tourbillon category at the GPHG 2016.

Ulysse Nardin has four watches pre-selected as finalists for this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the annual watch awards that are presented on 10th November (bookmark this link to watch our live feed of the ceremony). Two of these finalists are skeleton tourbillon models, one is in the Ladies High-Mech category and the other, the one we consider here, is in the Tourbillon category.

The Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is up against the Ottantasei Flying Tourbillon by Bovet 1822, the De Bethune DB28 Kind of Blue Tourbillon (a watch that has to be seen in reality to appreciate the striking blue colour of its case), La Esmeralda Tourbillon by Girard-Perregaux, with its signature three golden bridges, the Sideralis Evo double tourbillon by Louis Moinet and the RS 16 Harmonious Oscillator by Rudis Sylva.

The Ulysse Nardin model, however, is the only one with an architectural skeleton design, in which the components have been reduced to the bare minimum: mainspring barrel, gear train, tourbillon escapement (with its blue silicium standing out against an otherwise metallic grey and black background) and manual winding mechanism connecting the crown. The only bridge takes the unusual shape of an open rectangle, with a gap around the tourbillon, which almost acts like a window on to the movement. The individual elements of the movement are in fact fixed to a ring around the circumference of the case, with the oversized Roman numerals at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock attached in a similar way above the components and below the rectangular bridge.


Everything about this watch exudes lightness. The entire mechanism seems to float in space and the titanium case ensures that the 45mm case is barely felt on the wrist. The grey sheen of the titanium, and the black ceramic of the bezel, match perfectly the darkened finish of the movement components and the rectangular bridge, creating a look that could be qualified more as “stealth” than the executive in the watch’s name.

The UN-171 manually-wound calibre powering the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is an in-house calibre with an escape wheel and balance spring in silicium, the material that Ulysse Nardin first introduced to the world of watchmaking. It has  an impressive seven-day power reserve from a single mainspring barrels and beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour.

Scratch-resistant sapphire crystals on the front and back offer an unhindered view of the movement and the watch is water resistant to 30 metres. A black leather strap with a carbon structure and a matching black ceramic buckle complete the look. At just 38,000 Swiss francs the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is priced very competitively compared with its peers in the manufacture skeleton tourbillon segment.


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