Nothing smacks of summer like a harbor packed with sailboats, freshly stripped of their winter protection, bobbing eagerly like bulls at the gate. For sailing enthusiasts equally thirsty for a nautical adventure, there may be no better companion than Ulysse Nardin's 2016 Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon: an innovative design that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the brand’s Marine collection.
A pioneering watch on the cutting edge of new materials and technical advances, the approximately $300,000 watch offers an all-new, patented way to display time that revels in maritime references: The watch’s dial is made of wood marquetry reminiscent of a fine deck; a “boom,” which reaches from 12:00, takes the place of a minute hand; the minutes are shown horizontally across the dial in a format that resembles a latitude line; and a rigging screw (never before used in watchmaking) connected to wires that recall the ropes of a ship’s mast help operate the boom. But these elements are more than just for show, they’re part and parcel of the timepiece’s unique functions: In short, the boom operates via high-tech made of polyethylene, a material used in ship riggings. As time passes, the rigging screw pulls the retrograde boom across the minute arc. When the boom reaches 60 minutes, the hour—displayed via an aperture—jumps, and the boom automatically returns to “0” to start the count again. Observing this activity on the watch’s face is like witnessing invisible crew members working undetectably on deck in perfectly timed precision.
Adding to the beauty of the watch is a 60-second flying escapement (meant to compensate for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity when the watch is in certain positions on the wrist) with the iconic Ulysse Nardin anchor at its center. In all, the ultra-complicated manual wind movement of the 18-karat white gold watch consists of 469 parts. Just 18 pieces will be made. From $280,000; ulysse-nardin.com.
For more nautically inspired watches, see our reviews of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary 57111p and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe.