Sometimes during Baselworld, the luxury watch industry’s annual fair, manufacturers show brand new designs and sometimes they will upgrade an already successful collection. This is what Ulysse Nardin did during the 2009 Baselworld.
Ceramic is one of the hottest new materials to work with for producing luxury watches. It is strong, sleek and requires the same type of craftsmanship that installing precious gems and stones does.
Ulysse Nardin took its popular Dual Time collection and upgraded it with ceramic, giving it a new, and more modern and exclusive look. Ceramic is now the main focus of the large 43mm Executive Dual Time watch. Both the dial and the bezel are made from black ceramic which looks great against either the stainless steel or 18K rose gold oversized Roman numeral hands, crown and case. Ceramic also comes into play on the two push pieces on the side of the case that can adjust the hour hand to a different time zone while the 24 hour indicator continues rotating in a window at the 9 o’clock position.
This watch also features an oversized 60-seconds counter at 6 o’clock and the two-window date display at 2 o’clock, plus the U.N. name and logo (an anchor) both available in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold. Both watches come with either leather or rubber straps.
The Executive Dual Time is a perfect example of how to take a good thing and make it better. It’s also a smart move for watch companies because by upgrading an already popular watch, they invest less time and money into developing new designs and technologies.
Auctions seem to be the one slice of the luxury watch market where watches are still selling for high prices. These are select watches, which are usually rare collectibles and that helps set the high price tag, but it’s another thing when they are actually purchased.
At recent auction in Las Vegas hosted by a rare 18K gold Ulysse Nardin minute repeater watch sold for a whopping $45,750, selling for over $10,000 than was expected and for more than any other men’s watch or women’s watch went for. This UN watch comes from the Clavius collection and is a special minute repeater that also features an automaton complication, which works like this: once the minute repeater lever is released, the small figurine’s arm with hammer strikes the bell as the watch gives off sound from the internal hammer that read out the time.
The dial of this 18K gold Ulysse Nardin watch is a beautiful blue lapis color watch and includes Arabic numeral hour indicators which are made from gold. This watch also features rare automatic winding minute repeater movements made by UN which alone can sell for around $100,000. There is also a power reserve indicator located on the dial.
At other recent auctions in New York City three rare Patek Philippe men’s watches sold for double what the Ulysse Nardin did. One of the Patek Philippe watches was a yellow gold model that went for $204,000, while two other gold watches sold for $162,000 and $156,000 respectively.
Stay tuned for an auction set to take place in October of this year where a very, very rare Patek Philippe watch, known as the 18K gold Sky Moon, is expected to go for between $1.1 million and $1.3 million dollars.
Ulysse Nardin founded his watch company in 1846 and became well known for manufacturing marine chronometers which merchant and military ships relied upon for accuracy when navigating the seas. Over time the company also began to produce complicated mechanical watches and set a world record in 1986 for making the world’s most complicated wristwatch. Called the Astrolabium, this watch was named after the device used by astronomer Galileo. The watch displays both local and solar time, the orbits and eclipses of the sun and the moon as well as the positions of certain stars.
Since then Ulysse Nardin has produced many watches that feature astrology, hence its new Moonstruck model. This limited edition Moonstruck watch imitates the rotation of the moon around the earth by using two discs to revolve around the map of the earth that is located in the center of the watch. The moon itself also makes revolutions that present the different phases of the moon.
Following suit with large watches being all the rage, the Moonstruck model weighs in at 46mm and 16.3mm thick, allowing ample space for the complexity of the movement. This watch also features a GMT hand, which allows the wearer to track a second time zone. Even though it’s made from either gold or platinum, it’s not fragile and is water resistant up to 100 meters. The 18k red gold edition comes in 500 pieces as does the platinum version.
Other outrageous Ulysse Nardin watch designs include the Genghis Khan Haute Joaillerie model and the San Marco Cloisonné watch. While most Ulysse Nardin watches are men’s watches, there is a substantial collection of women’s watches as well which include the Lady Diver Starry Night, the Golden Dream, the Michelangelo Lady and the Dual Time Ladies among many other gorgeous and unique selections.
Recession? What recession? The promise of 2009 as a financially challenging year didn’t daunt premium watch brand Ulysse Nardin from releasing the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium. This newest addition to the Maxi Marine Diver collection looks like it’s the most luxurious one of the lot. Just looking at it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a stock market boom.
That Luxe Appeal
From the first time you look at it, the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium draws you in with its alluring combination of enigmatic black and pink gold reminiscent of old world luxury. Standing out against both is the brilliant platinum that makes up much of the watch’s case, which is a shade larger than other watches from the same collection.
As if the typical price range from Ulysse Nardin wasn’t enough, many elements in this watch’s design contribute towards what’s sure to be an astronomical price tag. The 45-mm diameter case is crafted primarily from polished titanium of the highest grade. Its bezel is made of 18K rose gold with guilloched black material that matches the pattern on the dial. The indices on the dial are made of the same precious metal.
Power Hidden in The Depths
Don’t be fooled by all the luxurious touches on the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium. The rubber strap (which has pink gold accents too) clues you in that the watch is made of tough – albeit glittery – stuff.
Under that wave-patterned black dial beats a self-winding UN-26 caliber heart, each one accredited as a chronometer by the Controle Officiel Suisse de Chronometres (COSC) itself. On the dial, it features subdials for small seconds, an easily adjustable date display and an indicator for its 42-hour power reserve. And although it’s unlikely that you’ll ever try it on such a valuable watch (remember, each one is individually numbered), it’s water-resistant to a 200m depth.
Expect to be drool over this watch at the upcoming BASELWORLD 2009, where Ulysse Nardin is expected to officially launch it. But considering that it’s going to be more expensive than the next best thing (the Maxi Marine Diver Chronograph at over $30,000), it might be better to wait for a sale event than the actual release.