While historically perhaps best known for their nautical chronometers, Ulysse Nardin is in modern times a comprehensive manufacturer of watches and movements, including some very high-end and complicated movements. Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is the latter. With an in-house flying tourbillon movement, minimal skeletonization and ultra-modern looks, the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon Blue represents a side of Ulysse Nardin that might be worth revisiting.
Ulysse Nardin has a lot of strong collectibles and fascinating, technically interesting watches for us to talk about. From their innovative Freak collection to intricate striking watches, artistic dials and more, their Executive collection might go unnoticed. In fact, the last time we covered the Ulysse Nardin Executive Collection was the Executive Dual Time Zone watch reviewed here in 2012. The Executive features a very modern and even slightly sporty case with three-prong lugs (requires a proprietary strap), oversized Roman numerals for the compass points on the dial and a horizontal rectangle in the middle. The name—and perhaps Roman numerals—seems to suggest a conservative and commercial theme.
However, if the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon was worn by some sort of executive or CEO, I’d imagine it would be of the Richard Branson variety. Introduced in 2016 by the fake Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon, this version increases the size of the case and is available in blue – as it is clearly still the current couleur du jour of the watch industry. The 2016 Grande Skeleton Tourbillon has a 43mm titanium case with black highlights, while the new Ulysse Nardin Grande Skeleton Tourbillon Blue is 45mm wide, from a ceramic bezel and a carbon fiber patterned leather strap Elements to the dial and movement, all with plenty of blue.
Visually, the design of the Executive Skeleton Tourbillon dial is striking. UN stripped the dial and movement to create a 3D look of negative space and architectural depth. Some cleverly designed dial elements support the movement, while others do not. The Roman numerals and central square are separate components, and while we’re only looking at the brand’s pictures and renderings for now, we can trust that the finishing will be professionally executed.
At the heart of the fake Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon is the hand-wound UN 171 calibre with an impressive 170 hours (7 days) power reserve at a frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour). The bridges and bridges of the movement are minimal. This allows the movement and tourbillon, as well as the silicon escapement and hairspring for which the brand is famous, to be fully visible from the front and back of the watch.
The view on the back of the case mirrors the dial, with rectangular frame-like bridges supporting the movement. From the front, some parts of the movement seem to be suspended in the air, and the tiny gears are exposed and delicate. Plates and bridges do add significant structural stability to the movement, so tourbillons and skeletonized movements like this are really delicate, and needless to say, best left for “mission” rather than rock climbing or off-road BMX. That being said, the water resistance is 30m.
All things considered—that is, in the context of the high-end watch industry—the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon Blue doesn’t come at a premium. The Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon, for example, is comparable in several respects, but costs more than twice as much. For Roger Dubuis’ “entry-level” Excalibur Automatic Skeleton with the same bold, modern openwork style and wearing experience, at a much higher price, it’s tourbillon-less. Review fake watches