Along with distinctive watch designs, the high-end Swiss watch manufacture, Ulysse Nardin, is recognized for producing some of the world’s most revolutionary mechanical complications and movements. A perfect example of this focus on technical innovation is the Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual, which despite being over two decades old, is still one of the most brilliantly built and user-friendly timepiece complications out there. Today we shine the spotlight on a watch that pairs the innovative mechanical movement with the noblest of materials, platinum. If you haven’t yet, meet the platinum Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual ref. 329-80.
A Practical Perpetual Calendar and a User-Friendly Dual Time
In 1996 on the 150th anniversary of the brand, Ulysse Nardin introduced Perpetual Ludwig. The model was named after Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, the master watchmaker that created the cutting-edge movement that powers the perpetual calendar watch. Unlike other cumbersome-to-adjust perpetual calendars, the Ludwig perpetual mechanism stands out for its ability to adjust the time and date forwards and backward—a first for a perpetual calendar and a feature that makes the watch exceedingly convenient. Not only does this mean that the wearer can easily turn the time/date backward if traveling west but also, in 2100 (when the Gregorian calendar skips over the leap year) while most other perpetual calendar watches will have to be sent back to their respective factories for resetting, the Ulysse Nardin watch can be easily adjusted by the wearer.
Three years later in 1999, Ulysse Nardin combined its perpetual calendar movement with another Dr. Ludwig Oechslin complication—a GMT (dual time) complication that uses a pair of pushers to move the 12-hour hand in one-hour jumps in either direction. This was the debut of the Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual collection where the +/- takes its name from the two pushers where the “+” pusher moves the hour hand forward and the “-“ pusher moves it backward.
The combination of the practical perpetual calendar complication and the user-friendly dual time complication makes the Ulysse Nardin GMT + – Perpetual one of the greatest travel-ready mechanical luxury watches ever made.
Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual Ref. 329-80
Limited to only 500 pieces, the Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual Ref. 329-80 is an exceptionally luxurious iteration of the model, crafted almost entirely in platinum. The watch features a 40mm platinum case furnished with a winding crown and the duo of GMT pushers. Furthermore, the hefty link bracelet is also fashioned from platinum.
Another Dr. Ludwig Oechslin philosophy that permeates the Ulysse Nardin GMT + – Perpetual model is the dial layout, which replaces traditional subsidiary dials for all the calendar indications with easier-to-read windows. There’s the oversized date double window at 1 o’clock, followed by the month, year, and day apertures in clockwise order. At the center sits the traditional 12-hour hand for local time, along with the arrow-tipped 24-hour hand that points to a 24-hour scale on the periphery of the dial to indicate the second time zone. Interestingly, if you look closely at the 24-hour scale, you’ll note that noon is at the top while midnight is at the bottom. According to Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, he picked this unconventional layout because at noon the sun is at its highest point, therefore the 24-hour hand points upwards to reflect this. The silver-colored dial is subtly decorated with the famed Ulysse Nardin guilloché wave pattern. This particular example is numbered 180 out of the 500 total pieces, and its unique number is displayed on the dial.
The caseback of the watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal to allow a view of the automatic Caliber UN-32 movement inside with a solid gold rotor and 34 jewels. The movement supplies the watch with 48 hours of power reserve and the calibers destined for the limited edition Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual references (such as this one) were further certified by COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) as official chronometers.
A spectacular mechanical movement encased in platinum and matched up with a highly legible dial, the Ulysse Nardin GMT +/- Perpetual Ref. 329-80 is a brilliant timepiece both inside and out. For frequent travelers, there are few watches out there that can offer the practicality of the GMT +/- Perpetual and for those who appreciate high horology, Ulysse Nardin is one of the most respected names in the field.