Ulysse Nardin unveils an even more radical take on its Skeleton Tourbillon with its latest Blast models. Today, during the Geneva Watch Days event, the brand releases four new supercharged Blast models with edgier, sharper cases meant to emulate the lines of stealth aircraft and a double X traversing the skeletonised dials. The latest arrivals – White Blast, Rose Gold Blast, Black Blast and Blue Blast – are a blast from the past and have poached design cues from the Skeleton Tourbillon and the Skeleton X, both members of UN’s Executive Collection. For the first time in its history, the Skeleton Tourbillon collection is equipped with an automatic movement and a new platinum micro-rotor.
Stealth fighter jet
The 45mm case of the Blast models might remind you of the Skeleton X Magma and the Skeleton Tourbillon models of the past, but with a meaner, badass attitude. The architecture is more aggressive with tessellated lugs and sharp lines to evoke the silhouette of stealth fighter jets. Composed of triangular shapes, each triangle has a different finish alternating between polished, brushed and sandblasted surfaces.
Contrasting high-tech materials are used in all four models and the Blue Blast model we had for our hands-on session has a titanium middle case, a blue titanium bezel and blue details on the X-shape and the raised rectangular bridge of the dial. The dull grey titanium lugs and crown guards are brushed and really highlight the sharp angles of the design.
Like the Skeleton X watches with their large X shape meeting the raised rectangular structure in the centre, Blast takes the concept one step further and takes on two Xs. However, the X pattern differs here because it is not screwed onto the rectangular window. The double Xs traverse the dial and are tucked beneath the rectangular frame; one is grey and sandblasted and meets under the hands, the second X flanks the grey X and is made from brass and painted blue. Not merely decorative features, the double Xs clamp the movement together like a sandwich.
Like sentinels guarding the fort, the Xs and rectangular frame reveal the remarkable skeletonised action below. The highlight of the piece is the 2.5Hz automatic silicium tourbillon nested in a bold, totally redesigned blue X-shaped cage at 6 o’clock. If you look closely, you can see the silicium escapement wheel in a lighter shade of blue. Don’t forget, Ulysse Nardin was the precursor in silicium (aka silicon) technology first seen on board the Freak in 2001. With so many components on view, the position of the barrel at 12 o’clock provides a tight sense of verticality and symmetry with the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
Compared to other skeletonised members of the Executive collection, Blast dispenses with the Roman numerals at III and IX o’clock and relies on short, applied markers on the flange with a thick strip of lume down their centre. The metallic grey sculpted hour and minute hands are also luminescent.
Automatic Calibre UN-172
Blast is the first member of the Skeletons to be fitted with an automatic tourbillon movement. Made from platinum, the tiny micro-rotor is positioned on top of the barrel and can be seen from the front of the watch at 12 o’clock, a star-shaped structure inside a circle. The UN-172 movement is an evolution of the hand-wound UN-171 and has a three-day power reserve. As you might have anticipated, there is another skeletonised X on the caseback picked out in the same blue featured on the bezel, frame and X on the dial. A nice detail is that the screws holding the periphery of the supporting structure in place are also blued to the same colour as the X.
Viewed from the front or the back, the sensation is one of immense transparency and lightness – a sensation that is reinforced by the lightness of the titanium elements of the case.
Straps and Price
Various strap options are available – structured rubber, alligator leather and velvet – and they are all fitted with the new, patented three-blade system with a self-deploying buckle that releases in just one click. The Ulysse Nardin Blue Blast model retails for EUR 44,000.
There are three other Blast models: White Blast with white ceramic middle case and titanium bezel, EUR 46,000; Black Blast with black ceramic middle case and bezel, EUR 46,000; Rose Gold Blast with rose gold middle case and black ceramic bezel, EUR 54,000.
For more information, please visit ulysse-nardin.com.