THE INDEPENDENT AND INTEGRATED MANUFACTURE ULYSSE NARDIN EMBARKS ON AN ELECTRIFYING JOURNEY INTO THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON WITH A BLAST OF CREATIVE ENERGY, THRILLING CRAFTSMANSHIP AND HOROLOGICAL PROWESS.
Since its debut in 2020, the Blast Tourbillon has established itself as the symbol of Ulysse Nardin’s unconventional know-how and design. With its angular, disruptive style, high-tech movement and iconic X structure, it emblemises Ulysse Nardin’s visionary spirit. To mark the Lunar New Year, this innovative edgy creation has been entwined with the ancient magic of Chinese folklore, where the majestic Dragon meets the alluring Pearl.
According to the traditional Chinese culture, 2024 heralds the Year of the Dragon. These revered creatures symbolise strength, power and good fortune. They are frequently associated with pearls, which represent purity, wisdom and wealth. When these two symbols come together, as in countless tales, they signify a harmonious blend of power, providence and prosperity.
These traditional representations show a dragon symbolically guarding a magical pearl. So it is with the new Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon: the dazzling mythical creature, hand- sculpted in 5N rose gold, coils its way around and through the skeletonised X structure, as though slithering out from within the movement itself. Before it, protected between its five-clawed hands, the mythical pearl sits in prime position atop the cage of the flying tourbillon. The choice of five claws is not incidental: associated with Imperial dynasties, five-clawed dragons are traditionally seen as to signify the highest prestige.
In 2012, during the last Year of the Dragon, Ulysse Nardin presented the immaculate 88-piece limited edition, the Classico Enamel Champlevé Dragon, featuring a beautiful dragon artwork in enamel, a decorative art mastered by a handful of craftsmen and perpetuated by Ulysse Nardin. Fast forward to 2024, and this creature has exploded dramatically into life in three-dimensional form.
The creation of a 3D dragon appearing to slide its way beneath the watch’s hands and in between the plains of the gear train and the X structure presented significant challenges. Over a two-year development process, this has included designing this unique dial and making bespoke adjustments to the design of the Blast Tourbillon case, bezel, and glass-box crystal to accommodate this unique creation.
The rose gold dragon, engraved and micro-painted entirely by hand, is a testament to elite artistry and skill, demanding four days of craftsmanship – three days for the engraving, and one for the painstaking application of gradated shades of red, orange and yellow. Every 3D aspect is modelled and rendered with utmost precision, from the scales of its rippling tail to its gleaming whiskers and the individual details of its claws.