The Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Limited Edition
About twenty years ago or even more, to be honest I can't remember exactly, my father used to bore me to death with a brand of watches that, to my eyes, seemed quite strange and eccentric, I did not like them at all, probably because I've always been on the minimalist and less “in your face” side of things and I have always focused on technology and innovative materials. In a nutshell, when it comes to style and design I am definitely more German oriented. That brand my father still praises is called Ulysse Nardin and the timepieces I was talking about before are the Marine chronometers, a bit overstyled but, nevertheless, quite original.
Over time the brand has evolved immensely and today it is a manufacturer with a clear brand identity, a good collection of watches (with the Marine one representing the brand's legacy) and a lot of time and money invested in the high end watchmaking sector. Lately Ulysse Nardin has generously expanded its offering and has been the very first brand to feature not just a silicon balance spring but an anchor, an escapement and a rotor made of silicium (even though, for the sake of clarity, I'm not aware whether they're using or not a silicon balance spring too.)
Life is pretty strange sometimes because last weekend I somehow got my hands on the Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Limited Edition and, believe me, when I told my father that I was going to review an Ulysse Nardin timepiece on my blog and that I had actually liked it, he started laughing! The Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Limited Edition comes in four versions. One of these is the stainless steel version with a blue dial and strap and it is, perhaps, the most interesting one because it brings back the legacy of Ulysse Nardin's marine chronometers.
The dial has a vertical pattern that reminds us of a marine rope and the timepiece is a dual-time-wristwatch, meaning that you can check the hour of two different timezones separately, it is thus the perfect watch for frequent travellers. Ulysse Nardin has not gone for two separate counters but, instead, it has placed a small cyclope glass at 9 o' clock, through which the home time is presented, while the central hour hand can be easily adjusted back and forth to set the correct hour whether you're traveling eastwards or westwards. A nice design featuring two central hands only that makes this watch look neat and sleek.
Adjusting the hour hand back and forth is a useful and interesting feature and Ulysse Nardin smartly equipped the left hand side of the case with two push-buttons: the upper one is used to adjust the hour hand when you're moving eastwards and it is the other way round when you're travelling westwards. The result of such delicate and sophisticated design is that you don't need to extract the crown when you need to change timezone and you, therefore, don't need to take the watch off your wrist (unless you are left handed). At 2 o' clock there's a double window for the visualization of the Big Date, while, on the oversized counter placed at 6 o' clock, you are displayed the running seconds.
The Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Limited Edition, as its names suggests it, adopts the UN-334 manufactured caliber, the last in a row of a long series of in-house-built-calibers that the brand has started to massively develop since Mr Rolf Schnyder took over at Ulysse Nardin in 1983. According to the brand's official technical sheet the timepiece is identified as an “Ulysse Nardin certified chronometer”, something that I promise I will look into at my earliest convenience: is this an internal certified test that the manufacturer run and how does it compare to a COSC certification?
On your wrist this is a very comfortable and extremely classy watch. The lugs and the leather strap are curved to perfectly fit your wrist and the style looks perfect with nice details all around, the case, the dial and the detailing are very nice and they only present a couple of small flaws: the push-button at 8 o' clock is a bit harder to operate than the other one, something that could probably be improved and so could the vibration that comes from the bi-directional winding rotor, which is a bit too noisy (at least on my sample.)
The movement, which is visible through the sapphire case back, is nicely finished and detailed too and its size is comparable to that of the case, that is 42mm wide. The icing on the cake is given by the glossy blue UN logo applied on the winding crown too: a nice and warm touch. Every single detail on this watch is thoroughly thought out and it seems like as if nothing had been left to chance, from the numbered plaque on the side of the case to the triple folding buckle everything is “premium style” and this reflects on this timepiece's retail price too: 9,500€, not exactly cheap in a sector where there is a lot of competition.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®