You really don’t encounter timepieces such as this very often. It is a watch that in one fell swoop can entirely epitomize the luxury watch industry. Holding nothing back, this timepiece unapologetically exhibits the absolute maximum level of high-end lifestyle poise and exclusivity a timepiece can contain before verging on the outer realms of good taste.
The Royal Blue Tourbillon watch by Ulysse Nardin is a statement as much as it is a watch. The message is clear and direct to both watch lovers and fellow brands. Ulysse Nardin here asserts its power as a brand when it comes to beauty, haute joaillerie, and status. If Ulysse Nardin were a city, this watch would be its proudest monument.
Ulysse Nardin chose to play with the colors blue and white in the watch. Deeming blue to be a royal tone (and I always thought it was purple), the color is mixed with white (the color of platinum and diamonds). It is no coincidence then that platinum and diamonds make up most of the construction of the watch. The case is 43mm wide in solid 950 platinum. The eyes however see only small amounts of platinum due to the invigorating quantity of precious stones that include diamonds and sapphires.
Attempting to describe the amount of Top Wesselton baguette cut diamonds all over the watch is like trying to count stars. The Royal Blue Tourbillon has hundreds of large carat stones all over dial, case, and bracelet. Ulysse Nardin reports the timepiece to have 568 diamonds (total of 33.8 carats) and 236 royal blue sapphires (total of 16.79 carats). Each stone needed to be specially selected and cut to fill in the many precious stone filled nooks and crannies all over the Royal Blue Tourbillon’s surfaces.
This is not diamond decoration without design though. The stone work has been specially designed to create a distinct shape and series of textures all over the watch. The arrangement of both the diamonds and sapphires create a look that is much more than a mere amalgamation of precious jewels. The sapphire crystals on the side of the case for example are cut with curves, in order to give the side of watch case an angled shape. Sapphire crystals around the dial operate as hour indicators when mixed with diamonds, and play nicely with the blue toned synthetic sapphire bridges in the movement.
In addition to being a flagship of diamonds and platinum, the Royal Blue Tourbillon has an impressively complex (and attractive) Calibre UN-79 movement. The manually wound movement features a flying tourbillon and very unique winding style. Ulysse Nardin wanted the wearer to feel special when winding the watch, so they developed a “circular rack” mechanism that spins around the dial and moves a series of gears while the watch is being wound. The system adds a sense of fun of intrigue when performing the simple task of winding the movement. The dial mixes both transparent and blue colored sapphire crystals with blued steel screwed to create the very impressive skeletonized dial. Under 12 o’clock, you can see the skeletonized mainspring barrel which can also act as a visual power reserve indicator.
Ulysse Nardin has ultimately defined its position in the luxury watch world with a piece such as the Royal Blue Tourbillon. Let no one be confused as to what the brand is capable of. The Royal Blue Tourbillon watch will be limited to just 30 pieces, and will also come with an optional alligator strap if you don’t see yourself going “full bling ahead” on “Royal Blue” days. Price for the Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon is $1,000,000. www.ulysse-nardin.com.
1. 43mm wide 950 platinum case decorated with precious stones
2. Flying Tourbillon over sapphire crystal bridge
3. “Circular Rack” movement winding style around entire dial
4. Platinum bracelet covered with over 35 carats of diamond and blue sapphires
5. Side of platinum case lined with blue sapphires
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.