Ulysse Nardin Unveils The Blast Free Wheel Marquetry at Geneva Watch Days

With the back of the movement decorated with a silicon wafer for the first time.

Watches
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Ulysse Nardin has unveiled the Blast Free Wheel Marquetry, a timepiece that showcases the artistic appeal of silicon combined with the rigors of advanced watchmaking.

Evoking memories of the iconic Freak, which first showcased silicon in 2001, the Blast Free Wheel Marquetry’s UN-176 Manufacture calibre displays its technical prowess upfront. The watch reveals its wheels, tourbillon with the Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement, barrel and a 7-day power reserve display — all of which floats over a hand-laid mosaic.

Encased in a 45mm white gold, the Blast case is crafted through an intricate laser method, the watch underscores Ulysse Nardin’s commitment to avant-garde design. The case’s geometric lines, reminiscent of the marquetry motif, house an ultra-glass box that grants a panoramic view of the mysterious movement, also visible from the sides.

The Blast Free Wheel Marquetry’s flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, is composed of 45 components and boasts a groundbreaking constant escapement. This design notably defies the traditional anchor escapement and introduces a concept where the pallet fork is centrally anchored and supported by two blade springs. Through this concept, the timepiece achieves consistent impulse on the balance wheel, regardless of power reserves — a feature that earned it the Tourbillon Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2015.

Other notable elements include a silicon dial and the flying barrel at 12 o’clock that grants the illusion of levitation. Aesthetically, 103 blue marquetry slivers transform the dial into a mesmerizing artwork, with their varying thicknesses and reflective properties providing a three-dimensional feel.

While the watchmaker has not yet announced production limits, the timepiece is set to retail for 130,000 CHF or $147,422 USD, presumably by inquiry only, with more information on Ulysse Nardin’s official site.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the craftsmanship involved in making the timepiece in the video below.

Elsewhere in watches, Czapek debuts the Place Vendôme Complicité at Geneva Watch Days.

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