Ulysse Nardin explores daring materials for its new Executive Free Wheel Limited Editions - Osmium, Aventurine, Straw Marquetry & Carbonium
September 9, 2019: Bold watchmaker Ulysse Nardin’s Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel has been known to be a mechanical mastery, a symphony of aesthetic artistry and a highly functional work of art. A tour de force in mechanical watchmaking, the Free Wheel has a fantastically futuristic movement that makes it the Swiss watch manufacture’s most refined and audacious timepiece to date.
Supplementing the perfect mechanism, Ulysse Nardin gives a new shine to its Executive Free Wheel by using four daring materials on its dial and barrel cover, making it a visual feast. It is manufactured in a limited edition of just 18 timepieces for each design.
The Osmium version has a dial made from osmium - which is not only the world’s heaviest metal but also the rarest, densest, most stable element. This version of the Free Wheel has a white gold case which frames the diamond-like osmium crystals. Osmium is a trace element found in alloys mostly in the platinum group and used by manufacturers when extreme hardness is required. Offering a textured, sparkling look, the watch is an engineering and esthetical marvel.
The next one, displaying a deep blue aventurine dial, is reminiscent of the starry night sky. A form of translucent quartz, the name “aventurine” derives from the Italian a ventura, which can mean “by chance” or simply “let the adventure begin”. Used before in the Ulysse Nardin men’s Blue Aventurine Genghis Khan 789-80, this mineral’s aventurescence provides a shimmering effect, much similar to what you would witness on the ocean’s surface in the dark of night.
Our particular favorite, the third style of the Free Wheel is made using a rare, 17th-century technique, once practiced by nuns in convents. Straw marquetry has been revived and used by Ulysse Nardin to adorn the face of one of its Free Wheel models. Lightweight straw means there is no issue of pressure on the dial and barrel cover. The face design uses shiny, black-dyed straw – every stalk cut and prepared painstakingly by specialized artisans – adding a sleek, masculine veneer to the dial.
The fourth version is composed of an aeronautical-grade carbon fibers, Carbonium, which is approximately twice as light as aluminum. The carbon and pre-pregnated resin composite is made with ecologically-sourced components, making a markedly smaller impact on the environment than any conventional carbon composite. Aesthetically stunning, Carbonium Gold is a product of the intimate fusion of carbon filaments and gold particles within a thermosetting matrix. The resulting gold-veined effect is bold and elegant.