Ulysse Nardin Makes Beautiful Music with Its New Jazz Minute Repeater Watch

  • John Lyon

The freewheeling, improvisational nature of jazz music may seem at odds with the precisely arranged mechanisms used in watchmaking, but Ulysse Nardin has managed to bring both worlds together with its Jazz Minute Repeater. The new timepiece features a round onyx dial decorated with a scene of four jazz musicians performing on stage in front of a crowd. The musicians—hand carved in relief from 18-karat white gold—are called jacquemarts, a watchmaking term for figures that are animated upon the activation of the minute repeater or other functions. When the slide on the side of the platinum case is engaged, the watch begins to chime out the current time while the musicians move their arms in synchronization with the strikes, creating the illusion of playing their instruments.

To ensure that the sound of the minute repeater’s gong strikes meet Ulysse Nardin’s exacting standards, each example is tuned by hand—often requiring that the watch be fitted with an entirely new case to produce the most pleasing chime. Depending on how often the power-hungry minute repeater is engaged, the watch can store enough energy to run for up to 36 hours between windings. The Ulysse Nardin Jazz Minute Repeater will be limited to just 18 pieces worldwide and is priced at $455,000. (www.ulysse-nardin.com)

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