Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Manufacture
Ulysse Nardin sailing independent ways - unites Art and Precision with Enamel and UN-118 Caliber.
Since the spark of international trade in the late 19th
century, Ulysse Nardin has been crafting marine chronometers, keeping captains and their valued cargo precisely on course. Advanced since its first introduction in 2011, the UN-118 caliber is powering the artfully designed 2012 Marine Chronometer Manufacture.
An expanded 45 mm diameter case and a new crown design for easy handling, complete with a rubber notch for comfortable winding, are not the only progressions made to the coveted Marine Chronometer. Gracing the collection’s latest addition is its beautifully handcrafted enamel dial produced by Donzé Cadrans, the world-recognized enamel-dial specialist and the latest member of the Ulysse Nardin group of companies.
A refined and complex decorative technique, the mastery of enamelling depends upon both the personal sensitivity and daily practice of the artist. It is a centuries-old craft that continues to make its stunning mark on Ulysse Nardin timepieces. For the Marine Chronometer dial, the aesthetic is a bright, snow white offset by black Roman numerals and bold accents of cherry red, presenting a style that is simultaneously straight-forward and interesting. Its 18-karat rose-gold bevelled case enhances the timepiece’s sophistication.
Further illustrating Ulysse Nardin’s imagination in watch making is the UN-118 caliber, the manufacture’s self-winding base caliber conceived and executed entirely in-house, and now offered in the Marine Chronometer Manufacture. This caliber continues the advancement of Ulysse Nardin’s use of new materials and techniques.
The anchor escapement in Caliber UN-118 is produced using DiamonSil, Ulysse Nardin’s revolutionary alliance of diamond and silicon, and a furthering of its pioneering collaboration with Sigatec. Caliber UN-118 demonstrates the synergies between technologies of the engraving of silicon and Diamond Coated Silicon (DCS) and is the first member of a new family of movements that will house this anchor escapement in DiamonSil, with Ulysse Nardin’s own oscillator and its patented hairspring.
The movement features a stellar 60-hour power reserve indicator, oversized small seconds register and a date display at 6 o’clock. It boasts Ulysse Nardin’s "quick setting" allowing forward and backward date adjustments.
The Marine Chronometer Manufacture will be available in a limited edition of 350 pieces in 18-karat rose gold, and an unlimited edition of two-tone titanium case with gold bezel and gold crown, as well as an all stainless-steel/titanium case.
From the art of enamelling to the precision of engineering and technology, Ulysse Nardin reveals through the Marine Chronometer that art and innovation go hand in hand in leading the company in the most independent of ways.
Last September 2011, Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin SA announced that it had acquired Donzé Cadrans SA, the specialist luxury watch Manufacture dial enameller.
Since its creation in 1846, Ulysse Nardin has been one of the most distinguished names in watch design. The first to utilize novel materials and bring forth fresh design sensibility, enamel has been featured prominently in its collections over the past 25 years.
The acquisition provides Ulysse Nardin with additional cloisonné and grand-feu enamel expertise, while cultivating its passion for uniquely beautiful watches.
Enamel is a vitreous material composed of silica, feldspar, kaolin and metal oxides, in the form of crystals. These metal oxides are either naturally occurring or added by master artisan, and they are what give enamels their infinite variety of colors. The mixture is then vitrified at very high temperature.
There are two main techniques: Champlevé
is an enamelling technique in which cells are carved with a chisel on the metal plate (dial), and filled with vitreous enamel. The piece is then fired until the enamel melts, and when cooled the surface of the object is polished.
is an enamelling technique in which the outline of the dial designs is produced either on the dial itself, or on paper. Extremely fine strips of gold wire measuring only 0.07 mm wide (no larger than a human hair) are hand bent and applied to the outline using two pliers. The individual cells that give the image detail, dimension and nuance are also formed by gold wire and placed within the outline. Colors are then picked out for each cell in order to create the cloister effect. Five layers of enamel are applied to the cloisonné dial. This meant that a cloisonné dial has all colored cells filled in and baked (800-1200 degrees celsius) in the kiln for a total of five times before it is ready to be polished. Theses multiple levels of color create the sense of depth and three dimensions that make the enamel dials come to life.