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Ulysse Nardin  - Sparkling Blast

Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Blast

Ulysse Nardin's latest watch, high jewellery interpretation that’s head-to-toe encrusted with 211 diamonds totalling 13 carats.

A global pandemic, shops shuttered, the unstoppable rise of smartwatches – the watch industry is certainly seeing its share of disruption and chaos. But one brand that seems to be taking the upheaval in stride – indeed even banking on it – is Ulysse Nardin. Its latest watch, the high-octane and ultra-bold Blast, launched in August, is very much an ode to disruption – a watch that CEO Patrick Pruniaux says “encapsulates all the values of Ulysse Nardin - that incredible mix of destruction on one end and a lot of respect for watchmaking tradition on the other.”

Sparkling Blast

Sparkling Blast © Ulysse Nardin

That sprit of rule breaking now continues with Sparkling Blast, Ulysse Nardin’s high jewellery interpretation that’s head-to-toe encrusted with 211 diamonds totalling 13 carats. Blast was inspired, somewhat ironically, by furtive aircraft: the plane’s serrated triangular patterns, designed to deflect radio waves and radar detection, informed the watch’s daring, angular architecture, and makes for a piece that’s hardly anything but stealth. Sparkling Blast is even more dramatic and OTT, thanks to each stone being geometrically cut – in 85 unique cuts to be exact, and all which were faceted by hand and invisibly set (the latter is a 200-year old gemsetting technique where maximum brilliance is achieved by shunning prongs or bezels, and each stone is meticulously set side by side, facet to facet). Reflecting maximum light in a fractured, almost organic pattern –think volcanic rock or Antarctic ice sheets – the idea, says Jean-Christophe Sabatier, Ulysse Nardin’s chief product officer, was to recall broken mirror. “We wanted to make the most of the faceted case,” he said. “And we’re really proud of the result. It expresses the powerfulness of the Blast design.”

Sparkling Blast

Sparkling Blast © Ulysse Nardin

The Sparkling Blast’s bezel, indices and lugs are all encrusted with diamonds, as is typical for today’s gemset watches, but the stones also make their way onto the watch’s openwork design, firing up Ulysse Nardin’s signature “X” and the watch’s contrasting rectangular frame. The self-deploying buckle also has a smattering of 1.22cts of hand-faceted diamonds, and again in a shattered shard effect. What’s more, all the diamonds are conflict free, complying with the mining industry’s Kimberly Process, which has strict rules around stone provenance.

The watch, in white gold, is limited to six pieces – three with a white rubber strap, and three with a blue alligator strap. And it’s already a hit: within a week of its launch, two had already sold for $410,000 a pop.

Sparkling Blast

Sparkling Blast © Ulysse Nardin

Summa summarum, the Sparkling Blast – and indeed the Blast itself – is rakish and risqué and definitely not for the fainthearted. But that’s the point. “People either love Ulysse Nardin of they don’t,” Pruniaux said. “We know that Ulysse Nardin is not for everyone, and personally I’m happy with that.”


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