Introduced in 2020, the Blast Tourbillon quickly became a hallmark of Ulysse Nardin’s expertise and design approach. Known for its bold, avant-garde appearance, advanced mechanism, and configuration, it embodies the forward-thinking ethos of Ulysse Nardin. Celebrating the Lunar New Year, this groundbreaking design merges with the enchanting world of Chinese mythology, bringing together the dragon’s grandeur and the pearl’s charm.
In the context of traditional Chinese culture, 2024 is celebrated as the Year of the Dragon. Dragons are esteemed as symbols of might, authority, and auspiciousness. Often, they are linked with pearls, symbolic of innocence, insight, and affluence. As depicted in numerous stories, the convergence of these two symbols represents a balanced fusion of strength, fate, and wealth.
These classic depictions portray a dragon as symbolically protecting a mystical pearl. This imagery is reflected in the new Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon. Here, the magnificent, mythical creature is intricately crafted in 5N rose gold, wrapping around and interweaving with the skeletonized structure as if emerging from the movement itself. Held securely in its five-clawed grasp, the legendary pearl is positioned atop the flying tourbillon’s cage. Using five claws is purposeful, signifying supreme status, as dragons with five claws were historically associated with Imperial dynasties and represented the epitome of honour.
In the previous Dragon Year of 2012, Ulysse Nardin unveiled the exquisite 88-piece limited edition Classico Enamel Champlevé Dragon, adorned with stunning dragon imagery in enamel, a refined art form mastered by only a select few artisans and continued by Ulysse Nardin. Advancing to 2024, this mythical creature has been vividly transformed into a three-dimensional figure. Creating a 3D dragon that appears to weave beneath the watch’s hands and through the layers of the gear train and structure posed considerable technical challenges. Over a two-year period, this involved the intricate design of this distinctive dial and specific modifications to the Blast Tourbillon’s case, bezel, and glass-box crystal to integrate this extraordinary feature.
The rose gold dragon, meticulously hand-engraved and micro-painted, stands as a testament to exceptional craftsmanship and expertise, requiring four days to complete – three for the engraving and one for the careful application of graduated hues of red, orange, and yellow. Every three-dimensional detail has been crafted with extreme accuracy, from the scales on its undulating tail to the shimmer of its whiskers and the delicate nuances of its claws.
In a striking fusion, the mythical dragon entwines itself around the pinnacle of contemporary, cutting-edge watchmaking: the Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon. Boldly positioned behind the dragon and its skeletonized dial, the Blast Tourbillon’s in-house movement, Calibre UN-172, is as unconventional as it is innovative. Launched in 2020 as Ulysse Nardin’s inaugural skeletonized tourbillon calibre with automatic winding, it boasts a platinum micro-rotor located at 12 o’clock. This compact yet remarkable mechanism provides a power reserve of up to three days.
Consistent with Ulysse Nardin’s commitment to advanced horology, the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock showcases the brand’s trailblazing work in silicon technology. First introduced in 2001 with the groundbreaking Freak, silicon in the escapement wheel, pallet fork, and balance spring enhances performance and increases durability.
In the Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon, the movement and case merge seamlessly in design and structure, showcasing a distinctly architectural and thoroughly modernist style. This design is a testament to the manufacturer’s continuous commitment to redefining and revolutionizing high-end watchmaking.
The upper case, crafted in rose gold, features sharp angular lines and a rich mix of satin-brushed and polished finishes. This is complemented by a bezel and case middle fashioned from DLC-blackened titanium, all set upon an integrated black alligator strap that includes a clasp made from 5N rose gold and black PVD titanium.
For those who appreciate the unique and boldness, the Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon stands as a symbol of in-house innovation, mastery of art, and the enchantment of the Year of the Dragon. This timepiece blends ancient legend with the forefront of horological technology, offering an invitation to celebrate the strength and prosperity symbolized by this iconic creature.