This has been a great summer for seeing very interesting movements, especially ones that were designed to be looked at an marveled upon (we have another example for you right here). Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at a Ulysse Nardin that features a skeleton movement.

Now, the skeleton movements you and I are more familiar with (and likely have in our watch box) are those movements that start life as a “regular” one, and then find their bits shaved down and hollowed out to create the skeleton. This is most definitely not the case with the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture Tourbillon, first introduced at Baselworld earlier this year. Here, they designed this movement from the get-go to be a skeleton, and it’s a thing of art.

In looking at it, it almost seems like the watch should barely be able to run, given how little there is that you see through the crystal. That visual simplicity belies some rather complex work going on, though. For starters, you’ve got the tourbillon spinning away merrily at 6 o’clock. Of course, even this (now more common) complication isn’t without its tweaks – the balance spring is made of silicium, and there are a variety of colors present within the components that you don’t see at first.


Up at 12 o’clock you’ve got another bit of ingenuity hiding away. You can just make out the words Power Reserve on that disc. Turns out, that’s actually two barrels stacked on top of one another, allowing for the watch to have a mightily impressive 120 hour power reserve once fully wound. That’s right – wind it up Sunday night, and then don’t worry about it again until you’re thinking about the weekend on Friday.

The remainder of the movement carries a silver-tone brushed finish, which acts as a counterbalance to the highly polished platinum case; spinning on top of the movement you have blued leaf-style hands, which should make things reasonably readable. Should this version not suit your fancy, you could also opt for one that has a rose gold case and a rhodium-finished movement. Both examples are limited to 99 pieces.

Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture platinum front

While I don’t foresee owning one of these anytime soon, I love seeing movements (and watches) like this come out. Ulysse Nardin stepped out of their comfort zone, and created a movement that they heretofore have not had in their lineup. And it’s not just any old movement, either. They’ve really come up with a smart-looking skeleton that looks simplistic, all the while hiding some very high-tech stuff (tourbillon materials, 120-hour power reserve) more or less in plain sight. I don’t know about you, but these are the sort of things that make me excited to be involved with watches.  ulysse-nardin.ch

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Last Update: August 19, 2013

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