In the past few years, Ulysse Nardin have steadily been introducing more and more in-house movements into several of their collections. At Baseworld 2013, Ulysse Nardin unveiled their first-ever manufactured skeleton movement, a new territory for brand better known for their marine chronometers.  Meet the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Manufacture Tourbillon.


But before we get into the watch, let’s talk a little about skeletons. In today’s watch industry, there are two distinct categories of skeletons: First you have the more traditional skeleton watches, where a “regular” movement is taken and skeletonized; either by hand or machining. Then you have movements that are designed from the get go as skeletons, meaning the plated and bridges come out of the CNC machines in more or less the form you’ll see them in the final product.

Both categories of skeletons require entirely different processes and result in vastly different watches; equally stunning in their own rights when properly executed. But as far as room for innovation and alternative movement designs and implementations, the latter sort definitely takes the cake, and that is what Ulysse Nardin opted for with the Skeleton Manufacture Tourbillon.


The in-house caliber sort of reminds of a pocket watch movement. It’s large enough to take up almost the entire dial space, and hits the right balance of being “open” but not stark. At 6 o’clock you have the flying tourbillon cage, a testement to Ulysse Nardin’s advancement in materials research. Made with a silicium balance spring, escapement wheel and anchor, I can’t help but be in awe over the different colors the finished components take, varying from blue-green to indigo to violet. The twin barrels are stacked on top of each other at 12 o’clock and deliver an impressive power reserve of 120 hours when fully wound. The movement is finished in silver-tone sunburst satin brushing, a perfect complement to the polished platinum case.


The leaf hands are also skeleton with open tips. The two barrels’ ratchet wheels are embellished with the Ulysse Nardin name and their “Le Locle” emblem, as well as the duration of the power reserve.


Making a good-looking skeleton watch is not easy, but overall I believe Ulysse Nardin hit a homerun with this one. The movement is as beautiful as it is high-tech, and the piece has that timeless beauty that you just know will still look good years from now.

The Skeleton Manufacture Tourbillon is also available in rose gold with a darker rhodium finished movement. Both versions are limited to 99 pieces each.