Baselworld Update: Ulysse Nardin Christens the Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon

March 22, 2016

Welcome aboard! Cutting edge technology and innovative mechanisms are all aboard this high-precision craft decked out in a nautical-inspired design. On the dial, handcrafted wood marquetry evokes a ship’s deck, while the time display is original and creative: a boom pulled by super-strong nanowires indicates the minutes, while the hours are displayed on two concentric disks. The patented device, which is regulated by a second barrel, also incorporates a majestic tourbillon. Undeniably exclusive, this timepiece from the Marine Chronometer collection is produced in 18 white gold pieces.

Ulysse Nardin is in its element when venturing on the high seas, as evidenced by this latest creation. In the innovative Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon model, the retrograde minutes display takes the form of a boom.

The technology is visually fascinating, and as complex as it is accomplished. Linked to a 60-second flying tourbillon, this patented system is drawn by a super-strong hi-tech fiber that is thinner than a human hair. Impressive all round, the timepiece showcases breakthrough technology in the unmistakable nautical-themed design of the Marine Chronometer family, of which it displays the legendary traits. The manufacture, as a pioneer in marine chronometers, has a long and distinguished history of producing high-precision seafaring instruments that have helped conquer the oceans since the 19th century. This collection reinvents these tried-and-tested attributes for the modern era. Centuries of expertise and a tireless spirit of innovation have produced the Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon model, a watch worthy of the high seas.

Full Sails

In a proud nod to its maritime roots, the Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon model incorporates the elements of a ship’s deck to display the time in a creative and original manner. The minutes hand is replaced by a boom ñ the horizontal spar used to angle the head sail. Working like the halyard cord that is used to hoist the sails of a ship, a wire pulls the boom across a graduated arc. The boom jumps back once an hour, its speed regulated by a purpose-designed retrograde mechanism. The mesmerizing leap takes 3 to 4 seconds and can be viewed through the case back.

The boom is pulled by a nanowire that measures a mere 0.0357mm in diameter and is capable of withstanding traction of 1.41 kg without stretching. The nanowire is made of polyethylene DyneemaÆ fiber, a material that is used in ship’s rigging and is many times stronger than steel. In a first for watchmaking, the transmission system loops the wires through a rigging screw: two strands are visible, and a third strand fastens the turnbuckle. The patented system, which is visible on the dial, is exclusive to Ulysse Nardin. Working like the winches that hoist the sails on deck, four pulleys’ use a drive gear, a spiral tensioning spring and two lock pins. The jumping hour is driven by two large concentric disks that turn in real time, and is displayed through a double aperture. A corrector positioned at 2 oíclock can be used to set the time quickly.

Wind In Its Sails

The manufacture’s Caliber UN-630, a 60-second flying tourbillon with manual-winding movement, contains 469 components and oscillates at a frequency of 3 Hz. Despite the considerable power requirements of the boom display, the movement offers optimal precision and a generous power reserve of over 48 hours. A first barrel is devoted to the time-telling mechanism; a second barrel supplies power to the complication, i.e. to the display of hours and minutes. The latter device is regulated by a specific escapement that collects information from the time-telling mechanism. The double-barrel design (one for the movement and another for the display) prevents the complication from interfering with the workings of the watch. To the rear of the movement, the leading and unloading of the balance spring can be viewed through the skeletonized barrels, a feature that is both functional and fascinating. When the watch is wound, the spring winds up into the center of the barrel. Conversely, when the spring is spent it unwinds out towards the edge of the barrel.

All Aboard!

This compact example of mechanical ingenuity is housed in a white-gold case measuring 44 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 100 meters. The dial of the Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon conjures a shipís aesthetic and technical finesse. The fluted bezel is complimented by a screw-down crown with blue rubber molding. Handcrafted marquetry evokes the sun-soaked teak of a ship’s bridge. The blued-aluminum boom sweeps across a translucent arc of blue spinel that extends from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock. The boom is drawn by a wire connected to four pulleys secured with blued star-shaped screws, which are echoed by the tourbillon decorated with the Ulysse Nardin anchor. In a final flourish, border detailing and ornamental wires that adorn the top of the dial offer further subtle references to nautical design. In the signature of the Marine Chronometer collection, the Ulysse Nardin logo, placed between two floating maritime symbols that correspond to the letters U and N, echoes the design of the ship’s chronometers that were historically produced by the manufacture.

This timepiece is exclusive by nature, available in a limited edition of 18 pieces on an alligator strap with a white-gold folding buckle.

Grand Deck Marine TourbillonTechnical Specifications

Movement: Caliber UN-630

21,600 v/h

Tourbillon with an exclusive boom display

Power-Reserve: Approximately 48 hours

Winding: Manual-winding

Functions: Jumping hour in a double aperture

Minutes on a graduated arc

60 seconds flying tourbillon

Forward and backward hour corrector

Case: 18-karat white gold, fluted bezel

Crown: Screw-down security crown covered with rubber

Diameter: 44mm

Water-Resistance: 100m

Dial: Hand-crafted wood marquetry

Minutes arc of blue spinel in the center of the dial

Blued aluminum boom indicates minutes

Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal

Caseback: Sapphire crystal

Bracelet: Leather with a folding buckle

Ref. 6300-300/GD 18-karat white gold