Ulysse Nardin has employed the gem-setting talents of a Genevan specialist to snow-set its Free Wheel in more than 2,200 diamonds.
The Free Wheel is Ulysse Nardin’s showcase watch, one that shows off its mechanism under a giant sapphire crystal glassbox by dispensing with the traditional Lépine-style of watch movement design (wheels sandwiched in place between two plates) and instead mounting its major components on the dial where they can be appreciated.
This style of watchmaking presents an expansive, flat plateau ripe for gem-setting, but to realise their concept Ulysse Nardin turned to Genevan atelier Art Setting to cover the dial, case, lugs, clasp and even the mainspring barrel with a full pavé diamond snow-setting, which involves setting stones of different sizes side-by-side.
In total 2,251 diamonds of VVS or VS quality and F/G purity, with a total weight of 5.9 carats, were set in each of the eight 44mm watches being made in the series. The meticulous gem-setting process alone takes two weeks for each watch.
A flying tourbillon (Ulysse Nardin refers to all of the dial-side components as ‘flying’ as they are only secured on a single side) rotates at the six o’clock position, enveloping the brand’s silicon Ulysse Anchor Escapement while a seven-day power reserve indicator sits at the four o’clock position.
Available now, the Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Free Wheel is priced 225,000 CHF ($248,000 USD).
Elsewhere in watches, Australian lifestyle brand Deus Ex Machina has designed Breitling’s latest Top Time.