Ulysse Nardin presents its new Hourstriker Classic Samurai, a strong symbolic tribute to Japanese culture.
“Samurai” comes from the word “saburai,” which means to serve or stand by an important person. Since the 8th century, this word has referred to “warriors in the service of the nobility.” But rather than soldiers or mercenaries, the samurai were fighters who dedicated their heart and soul to both their master and to the art of sword fighting, in which they excelled.
On the dial of the Classic Samurai, Ulysse Nardin’s craftsmen have used Japanese prints to recreate a famous sword duel between two legendary samurai, Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. Equipped with a rare automatic movement – one of the most sophisticated in mechanical watchmaking – the Hourstriker Classic Samurai rings on the hour on request but can also be programmed to ring on the hour and half-hour. Each time the hammer hits the gong, the jaquemarts samurai simultaneously perform the spectacular duel between Musashi and Kojiro.
On the left-hand side of the dial, recognizable by his two swords – one short and the other long – is Miyamoto Musashi, the most famous Japanese warrior of the 17th century, who fought more than 60 times in his life. The author of Gorin No Sho, a text on strategy featuring reflections on combat and the art of swordsmanship, he and his life were made popular through a famous novel and numerous films.
On the right is Sasaki Kojiro, his long-standing rival, considered the best opponent that Musashi had ever faced and who died during the duel of 1612, portrayed here, on the island of Ganryu. Legend says that Musashi, a great strategist, arrived late and by sea in order to throw off his adversary and thus make sure he had the sun at his back and not in his face.
At the time, sword fights between followers of different schools meant, in most cases, death. The decision to initiate or accept a challenge required extreme prudence. True martial arts must not be confused with simple combat sports. Today, they are considered the pathway to authentic savoir-faire, a school of life based on self-mastery and assertion, the fulfillment of one’s destiny, and wisdom.
Each release from this 18-piece collection in rose gold or platinum is embellished with hand-sculpted jaquemarts in rose gold or gray gold. Ulysse Nardin remains one of the few manufacturers to master the use of jaquemarts, and one of the first to have contributed to the revival of the striking mechanism.