Friday, April 25, 2014

Ulysse Nardin - The New Anchor Escapement

Ulysse Nardin is a name in innovation and creativity - The Freak proved it many years ago and now they have moved ahead and there is more to come. Today, we got to see the new Anchor Escapement amongst other new innovations.

Ulysse Nardin opened their largest boutique in Asia in Singapore in partnership with The Hour Glass at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. As part of their official opening, we were invited to witness a few new works. Presenting the new innovation was UN CEO Patrik Hoffmann and Datin Chai Schnyder, President of the Board of Directors. First off, the most innovative new escapement developed in-house by UN - the Anchor Escapement.
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The new escapement is made from silicium and the pallet arms are suspended unlike in normal pallet arms. In the prototype above, the tourbillon is off centre.
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According to Patrik, this is a prototype featuring the escapement on a tourbillon and so the focus was not of the rest of the watch. Notice how simple the dial is? Raw dial that is simple and uncluttered. Takes your attention straight to the tourbillon with the anchor escapement.
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Pardon the poor pictures - taken in restaurant setting. The timepiece is so simple that I am so tempted to just take it home… if I only could! Patrik mentioned that the new escapement works with the tourbillon as well as with normal balance wheel. But it is likely the first iteration will come in the form of a flying tourbillon. For more information on the Anchor Escapement and a video presentation, please visit the UN Page.

The event also revealed that UN has developed 6 new in-house movements and within the next 3-4 years, more than 80% of their movements will be totally manufactured in-house. One of the in-house movement is featured in the Perpetual Manufacture.
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Unlike the older version, this new Manufactured movement comes in a 43mm case in both rose gold and platinum. Seen here is the platinum version. Both will be limited to 250 examples each.
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The movement is an automatic in-house UN-32 caliber that is chronometer certified. The feature of this perpetual calendar is the ability to adjust using the crown instead of the normal pushers. Windows make it more visible instead of some complicated sub-dials.
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The big date is placed at the one o'clock while the two digit year is located at the six. Another signature of the UN Perpetual is the ability to forward or move backwards the hour hand by depressing the "+" and "-" push pieces at 4 and 8 o'clock. And the GMT hand in red can be used to indicate home time or a second time zone. The dial comes in a fish-scale motif. Very wearable at 43mm.

More to come on the new UN timepieces but I like to leave you with another look at the prototype watch featuring the new anchor escapement.
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Patrik, please don't take apart the prototype. I like it just the way it is. Thanks to The Hour Glass for hosting the event.