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Ulysse NardinA new era in high-end watchmaking.

After eight years perfecting their new mechanism, the Le Locle-based company has finally presented its latest model: the Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon.

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Silicon for an escapement wheel? Diamond balance springs and escapement system? Sounds like parts and pieces from a Formula 1, when we are actually talking about high-end watchmaking; the Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin, one of the few companies that has remained in continuous production for over 169 years, is back with its latest masterpiece.

When Rolf Schnyder and Ludwig Oechslin acquired the company in 1983, they decided to combine both science and innovation to give flight to a new pursuit: to produce complicated, ground breaking timepieces using modern materials and manufacturing techniques, combining science and innovation while maintaining the traditional essence of a Swiss watch. Here are some quick examples of the Ulysse Nardin R&D department; in 2001 the Swiss watchmaker was the first to develop an escapement made of silicon; a year later it was the first to test a diamond balance spring; the first to use silicon for its Dual Ulysse escapement, the first to fit a watch with a diamond escapement…

After eight years perfecting their new mechanism, the Le Locle-based company has finally presented its latest model: the Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon, a piece that will change the approach to mechanical watchmaking. This device represents the height of timekeeping sophistication: for starters the mechanism is no longer constrained by a pivoting staff, the pallet fork moves entirely without friction; second, the geometrical improvements made to the pallet fork, the escape wheel and the flat springs have resulted in a constant-force escapement; and on top of all of this, this new coinage in watchmaking is brought aboard in a 60-seconds tourbillon cage, comprised of 35 components weighing no more than 0.4 grams in total.

One may wonder, why use silicon for the new escapement when this material has been traditionally perceived as an enemy, an outsider that didn’t belong to the world of luxury watches? Well, the answer is simple; it is hard, light, anti-magnetic, doesn’t require any lubrication, and it can be produced with extreme precision and in every shape, making it very eligible for the escapement components.

Available in two limited editions of 18 white or rose gold pieces each, the Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon will be in the retailers’ display windows from May.

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