Recently, Ulysse Nardin, the Swiss watch brand known for its pioneering spirit and marine heritage for more than 170 years, announced a new brand ambassador – a woman. Elina Svitolina, professional tennis player, joined the brand last month and has already visited the Manufacture and selected an Ulysse Nardin Lady Marine Chronometer as her watch of choice.
While the Lady Marine Chronometer is a great choice — as it underscores the brand’s DNA and commitment to design — it must have been a difficult one for her, as Ulysse Nardin has really stepped up its game in the world of women’s watches.
This year alone, Ulysse Nardin unveiled several important Métiers d’ Arts watches and Grand Feu enamel pieces to the Jade collection, and released stunning new Grand Feu Classico watches for women. Some of which we may see this week on celebrities at the Cannes Film Festival, going on now.
The Jade collection by Ulysse Nardin is an innovative design created especially for women. Powered by an in-house-made UN caliber 310, the oval shaped Jade watch enables setting of the time and date without pulling (or pushing) the crown – a saver for many women’s nails. Instead the time and date are set via a simple turn. The collection was first unveiled in 2013 and continues to evolve.
Ulysse Nardin Jade Grand Feu
The new Jade Grande Feu and Jade Cloisonné watches feature handcrafted enamel dials – a specialty of the brand. This year there are three new Jade Grand Feu watches and two new Jade Cloisonné pieces — where the enamel work takes center stage. Grand Feu is decorative enamel that is difficult to accomplish and is made only by the finest brands. The dials of the Ulysse Nardin watches are made in the brand’s Donzé Cadrans workshops where enamel specialists spend dozens of hours hand painting each dial.
As part of the introduction, there is a ruby red dial Jade Grand Feu watch, as well as a gray dial version – both with matching colored leather straps. There is also a turquoise colored enamel dial with white strap. As if the alluring rich hues of the dials were not enough, Ulysse Nardin goes a step further and enhances the Jade Grand Feu with a swirl of diamonds across the dial, and finishes with a diamond-set bezel. The indexes are highly stylized and a small date window appears at 6:00 and is surrounded by that curve of diamonds. As mentioned, the stainless steel Jade Grand Feu watches are powered by the UN-310 caliber with silicium escapement and 48 hours of power reserve. They retail for $14,900.
Ulysse Nardin Cloisonné Jade Lionfish and Jellyfish
In addition to the Grand Feu Jade watches, Ulysse Nardin has created two unique “Cloisonné” enamel Jade pieces: Jade Lionfish in rose gold and Jade Jellyfish in white gold. With dials also hand made at Donze Cadrans, these watches blend hand-painted enamel and gold cloisonné (wherein thin gold pieces form the outline of the design with the enamel painted between the gold strips) to form two marine-inspired motifs.
The mechanical Caliber UN-310 also powers these watches, which feature anti-reflective sapphire crystals and are water resistant to 30 meters. The Jade Jellyfish is painted on a turquoise background to reflect the sea, while the jellyfish is presented n pink and shades of muted rose for a beautiful pastel rendition. The cloisonné work is done in 18-karat white gold but the watchcase – with diamond-set bezel—is crafted in stainless steel. The Jade Jellyfish retails for $45,500.
In contrast to the pastel Jade Jellyfish, the Jade Lionfish is a work of bold, rich colors. The ocean is a dark blue; white the Lionfish is created in hues of red, orange, yellows and golden brown. The cloisonné work is in 18-karat rose gold and the case and diamond-set bezel are in 18-karat rose gold, as well. It retails for $44,000.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Lady Grand Feu
Ulysse Nardin did not forget its iconic round-shaped Classico Lady watch when it came to dazzling dials and superb hand craftsmanship. In fact, the brand unveils four Classico Lady Grande Feu watches with alluring translucent enamel dials in a stunning array of colors.
Powered by the UN-815 self-winding movement with 42 hours of power reserve, these three-hand watches boast hand guilloche’ silver dials with translucent enamel in shades of pewter gray, blue, lavender and seafoam green. Here again the Donze Cadrans experts meticulously fuse the enamel to the dial by heating it time and again in a kiln as high as 900 degrees Centigrade. Hence the name Grand Feu, which translates in French as Grand Fire. Because the colors such as these are difficult to attain, they are being made in limited editions in 37mm 18-karat white gold cases. Each watch is set with 76 diamonds. These translucent pieces retail for $24,900.