To many collectors, the Perpetual Calendar / Quantième Perpetuel is the complete timepiece; yes of course there are a few more complex mechanisms, but in terms of the practical, day-to-day functionality of a time and date watch, the perpetual calendar covers all bases. In simplistic terms, it is a watch which, if kept wound, will never need manual intervention and will record time, day, date, month and the year. Ulysse Nardin comes with a new version of its Perpetual Calendar GMT Manufacture, a platinum watch with blue dial made for its boutiques only.
So what? Well, considering the varying number of days in the months, it’s a pretty sophisticated feat of micro-engineering to translate that challenge into a mechanical solution so that the date is always corrected without changing it yourself. Then consider that oddity which is the leap year, when once in four years the month of February gets an extra day to balance out the books, so to speak. So we’re talking about a function which only comes into effect to make sure February goes to 29 one year in four.
Ulysse Nardin have recently announced the arrival of a new Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Boutique Edition, which will be available exclusively in their own mono-brand boutiques around the world, and it stands apart from its stablemates thanks to the blue dial which currently will only be offered on this model.
The Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Calendar Manufacture first broke cover at Baselworld earlier in 2014, and as its name suggests, it boasted a fully in-house produced automatic self-winding movement, tested to COSC Official Chronometer standards. Laying claim to the princely title ‘the most advanced perpetual calendar in the history of watchmaking’, the UN-32 which powers the watch is indeed a new benchmark in this sophisticated complication. Unlike the majority of perpetual calendar movements, where human error can often result in a costly trip to the manufacturer to reset or repair an uncalibrated or even damaged calendar mechanism, UN-32 packs a beautifully simple solution which allows the date to be set not only forwards as is the norm, but backwards too, via the crown.
Externally the Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Calendar Manufacture is designed neither in a classic gentleman’s style, nor is it sporty. The 43mm platinum case is, as one would expect, immaculately appointed with flowing lines and softened edges, but it is a substantial solid looking piece too, and there’s a lot of metal in that case.
Looking down onto the dial, with its repeated ripply pattern and applied curved baton indices with luminous dot accents, the displays are nicely spaced and at-a-glance legibility is excellent. Hands are skeletonised with lume filled end segments. The large date windows near the 1 o’clock position reflect the pecking order of priority after hours and minutes, with the weekday and month displayed in smaller apertures either side of centre, and the abbreviated year digits just above the 6. The small constant seconds occupy the subdial at 9.
Of course there is also the matter of the GMT/second timezone too, as the eagle-eyed will have noticed the silver/blue shaded day/night 24-hour numerals around the inwardly sloping rehaut, or flange of the dial and the red arrow tipped pointer on the third hand which will serve as a home time reference. When traveling, the rather obvious pushers at the 4 and 8 can be employed to advance or retrace in one hour increments the hour hand, meaning that passing backwards or forwards across time zones is push-button easy, and the time back at home always present too.
The Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Calendar Manufacture Boutique Edition with +/- GMT will have a worldwide release of 250 pieces. It is presented on a dark blue leather strap with folding platinum clasp.
For more details, please visit UlysseNardin.