For their latest high-rope act the Ulysse Nardin brand has released a seven-day manually wound timepiece for their “Executive collection” with several flying components, besides the tourbillon. In order to do so they have relied extensively on silicon made parts, in order to provide their required low friction and flexible qualities. Let’s take a closer look at the “Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel”.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

The “Free Wheel” movement is more than just an aesthetically engaging feature, it is a technically advanced in-house mechanical achievement! It is based on technology developed by Ulysse Nardin in which the balance wheel, escape wheel, hairspring and pallet fork have been crafted by an innovative material developed in-house, which explains the peculiar purple-bluish hue of these elements. Remember that UN was the first brand to commercialize a watch with a silicium escapement, in their “Freak” watch released back in 2001.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

Besides the novel materials, UN has based this movement on the principle of flexible mechanisms, taking full advantage of the elasticity provided by the springs. So, the pallet fork here manages to move entirely without friction, since it’s not constrained by a pivoting staff. This recent development manages to challenge the principle of the traditional Swiss anchor escapement, by implementing a circular frame with a pallet fork fixed in the center, which is supported by two ultra-thin blade springs.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

They have been mounted perpendicular to each other, resulting in a bending force that curves them, while also keeping them in a bi-stable state. This positioning also allows the tourbillon regulator to remain undisturbed by the strong barrel movements. Since there is no friction, the pallet fork manages to return to its original position, by relying on its own stored energy, with a constant force present over almost the full duration of the power reserve.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

The 44mm case is available in either 18k rose or white gold with a sapphire exhibition crystal case back, but the movement is practically all covered by a disc, except for 5 visible jewels! Most of the case back is the mainplate with some scattered about rubies, placed inside gold chatons and the axis of some of the wheels. This mainplate has an anthracite grey coating with a grained fade.


The reason is that most of this watches intricate movement is already made visible on the dial side, as we describe in further detail in the following paragraph. It also comes equipped with a screw-down security crown, while all topped by a sapphire crystal that in conjunction, assist in providing a water-resistant of up to 30 meters (96 feet).


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

Time is exhibited either a dark black slate colored dial (for the 18k rose gold version) or a black honeycomb designed dial (for the 18k white gold version); both of which have multiple gears and moving parts, “flying” over these dials.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

So, reading time on this watch requires a more intuitive approach of recognizing the spatial dimensions. Just like pilots that communicate with terms such as “incoming at 4 o’clock”, you will also have to rely on your senses and the directions in which the central hands are currently pointing to tell time!


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

The flying components and central hands have been made to match each cases base material. So, they are either 18k rose gold over the slate stone-style dial, or 18k white gold over the perforated honeycomb-style dial. Among these various hovering pieces is the flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position.


Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel

This “Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel” (References below) is powered by a hand-wound in-house mechanical movement, caliber UN-176 with 23 jewels and 2.5Hz (18,000 Vph).

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Image courtesy of: Ulysse Nardin

It comes equipped with the aforementioned Ulysse Nardin’s signature low-friction silicium technology, instead of metal or synthetic rubies. Power reserve on these watches can last up to 168 hours (7 days), when fully wound.


It comes mounted to a “carbon leather” black matte alligator strap with exposed matching stitching, while secured to the wrist by a folding clasp, which matching the metal of each versions casing material. For more up to date information, visit the official Ulysse Nardin website here.


(Ref#: 1766-176) – 18k Rose gold – MSRP: $96,000.00 USD


(Ref#: 1760-176) – 18k White goldMSRP: $99,000.00 USD

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Ulysse Nardin, Executive, Tourbillon, Free Wheel, Luxury Watches

Written by Mauro Az