It is a tiny town Le Locle in the Swiss canton of Neufchâtel. There is only one train that got to Le Locle where the most frequent sound is that of the bells of churches or the bleating of sheep that cross the village’s roads. But one of the most highly technological companies in the world has been operating out of Le Locle fore the past 175 years now. The eminent Swiss watchmaker Ulysses Nardin has just brought out two miraculous timepieces: the Sparkling Free Wheel and its world of diamonds, diamonds and diamonds, the birth stone of the month of April and the Skeleton X Sparkling in two versions.
The Sparkling Free Wheel is driven by the houses mechanical UN-176 movement, is outfitted with a flying tourbillon and it is literally paved with diamonds. The Snow-Setting technique was used to set the diamonds into the watch. This technique juxtaposes diamonds of different sizes into a seemingly random pattern that leaves as little metal as possible visible. For the Sparkling Free Wheel watch, which has been brought out in a limited edition of just eight pieces, some 2,251 stones weighing in at 5.9 carats and the setting of the diamondsalone, undertaken by the Geneva-based house of Art Setting, took over 120 hours. The watch is outfitted with a black crocodile strap setting off the bright whiteness of the diamonds.
The house has also brought out two takes on its Skeleton X Sparkling which is beautifully outfitted with no less than 149 diamonds. One version is white in titanium with mother-of-pearl outfitted with a white alligator strap while the other version is a black affair in pink gold and outfitted with a black alligator strap. Animated by the in-house UN-171 movement, the watch enjoys a power reserve of 96 hours. The house, which is committed to sustainable development, sources its diamonds according to the Kimberley Process. « At Ulysse Nardin, we abide by the Kimberley Process so as to guarantee that all of our diamonds emanate from ethical sources, » explains Patrick Pruniaux, the CEO of the house.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette