Blinded by the light: Luxury Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin comes to blind you with its newest creation the Sparkling Free Wheel. The sleeping giant in the Executive collection is a true masterpiece reflecting a 175-years old savoir-faire.
The “snow-setting” art of the new Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Free Wheel. It takes approximately 120 hours of meticulous work to place the 2’251 diamonds side by side and completely cover the surface.
Ulysse Nardin Sparkling FreeWheel is a dazzling beauty of only eight pieces.
Diamonds, diamonds, and more diamonds adorn a watchmaking marvel raised to the level of visual brilliance. Like the drifts of snow that glisten in the morning sun, Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Free Wheel timepiece incites dreams, encourages imagination and paves the way to fearlessly follow your passion to the ends of the earth.
The diamond setting technique used on this timepiece, known as “snow setting”, is a complex process performed only by highly trained craftsmen. In a snow setting, the diamonds of different sizes are placed side by side to completely cover the surface, like a fresh blanket of Swiss snow. The craftsmen of Art Setting, a Geneva-based workshop, have been perfecting this process for over three decades. Ulysse Nardin and its parent company, Kering, are dedicated to sustainability, endeavoring with each innovation to leave Earth a better place for future generations.
“At Ulysse Nardin, we adhere to the Kimberly Process to ensure that all of our diamonds are ethically sourced.”- Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin.
The 2’251 pavé stones on the Sparkling Free Wheel are rigorously selected and comprise a total of 5.90carats.The
diamond setting alone takes approximately 120 hours of meticulous work to complete. The stellar quality – all VVS or VS with an F/G rating for purity and color – is visible to the naked eye. Diamonds are everywhere on this model, from the face of the gray gold dial to the horns and even the barrel cover. The carbon soft-touch, black alligator band features a clasp also set with diamonds using the snow setting technique.
The Free Wheel’s most astonishing features are the dial’s tourbillon bridges and the 7-day power reserve indicator at four o’clock, which are shaped like boomerangs and look like they are miraculously floating in the air. So too do the other components, the hour and minute indicators and the gorgeous gear trains.The sapphire glass box housing these ‘flying’elements is another standout achievement. The structure’s complexity and finish – especially the polishing of the box angles – were extremely difficult to achieve, requiring lengthy and painstaking experimentation.
The case back is also sapphire, except there’s less to see inside, as, in a complete reversal of watchmaking convention, all the exquisite components are visible on the dial side. The mechanical movement powering all this beauty is the UN176, entirely developed in-house at the Ulysse Nardin manufacture in La Chaux-de Fonds.
Its flying tourbillon is the“Ulysse Anchor Escapement”, a pioneering technology that replaces the traditional Swiss lever escapement system and uses Ulysse Nardin’s signature low friction silicium instead of metal or synthetic rubies.The eight pieces in this Sparkling Free Wheel limited edition are available for 225’000 CHF each (240 813 USD).