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Ulysse Nardin - The two extremes of classic

Ulysse Nardin The two extremes of classic

Ulysse Nardin introduces two lines featuring the word “classic” in their name for 2018; they are as far removed from each other as is possible in terms of design, function and price.

Whether you like your watches classic and understated or audacious, Ulysse Nardin has something for you this year. Two new collections both incorporate the word classic in their names and both undeniably exhibit elements of classic design and watchmaking themes. But there the difference ends, with complications, metals and craftsmanship differing wildly between the two.

At the genuinely classic end of the spectrum is a series of five new Classico Jade models. The epitome of an elegant, accessible classic ladies’ timepiece, these models follow on from the Classico models with enamel dials launched for men at the SIHH last year. They are also on trend for the SIHH 2018 in as much as they have a refined and timeless design, with just three hands, a perfectly sized 37mm stainless-steel case and an affordable price, starting at just 6,900 Swiss francs.

The feminine touch comes with the obligatory mother-of-pearl dial and diamonds, either with a discreet ten-diamond swoop between 6 and 9 or a diamond-set bezel with a further 76 diamonds (for a total weight of 1.072 carats) that takes the price up to 9,900 Swiss francs. This is still under the psychological barrier of 10,000 Swiss francs for a watch with an in-house movement (UN calibre 815) which has a 42-hour power reserve. The Arabic numerals, available in grey, blue or red, add an original touch to the dial due to their colour and their irregular size, which increases towards the 6 to draw your eye to the diamonds.

Aux deux extrêmes du classique

Classico Jade © Ulysse Nardin

At the other end of the scale is the new Classic Voyeur, which combines Ulysse Nardin’s expertise in minute repeaters, jacquemarts and erotic watches. According to the Berner watchmaking dictionary the “jacquemart” (or “jack” in English) refers to a metal automaton representing a man with a hammer striking the hours on a bell. On the Classic Voyeur, the scene is a bit different and comes straight from a Louis XIV boudoir and the raunchy goings on within. No additional description is required for the intensely erotic scene that is brought to life by the four intricately engraved gold figures on the dial, each of which is moved by an independent automaton (here too, we can safely leave the arc of movement to your imagination).

The Classic Voyeur is a model that appeals to collectors, whether of minute repeaters, automata or erotic watches. It comes in a 42mm case diameter, of which only 18 will be made in rose gold and 18 in platinum (with an optional choice of a bezel set with 80 baguette diamonds for a total weight of 3.5 carats). It is powered by the UN-73 manually-wound calibre, which offers a power reserve of 36 hours and can chime the hours, quarter hours and minutes, as well as activate the delightful scene on demand. And if this scene fails to make your eyes water, then the price will: 295,000 Swiss francs for the rose-gold version and 325,000 for the platinum version – the one without the baguette diamonds.

The two extremes of classic

Classic Voyeur © Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin also has something for the technologically minded and the diver’s watch fan this year. See our separate articles on the Freak Vision and the limited-edition Diver Deep Dive  for more details.

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