Before we wore time, we heard it. Clocks chimed in the heart of every medieval city. Clocks made by brilliant craftsmen who would, through miniaturisation , create domestic clocks, and then hand held timepieces, capable, despite their small size, to strike the passing hours. Inspired by watchmaking’s past and the possibility of moving musical timekeeping into the future, Ulysse Nardin wants you to hear time again, not read it.
It has been several years in the making but Ulysse Nardin has found a new way to make sound Introducing the Blast Hourstriker an innovative new striking watch that breaks barriers in sound technology This art of marking the time with music has always been a part of Ulysse Nardin’s technical arsenal It was revived in the 1980 s, under the impetus of Rolf Schnyder and given a new lease of life in 2019 when the Swiss Manufacture collaborated with French audio technology company Devialet on the next level of watchmaking acoustics, which was launched in the Classico Hourstriker Phantom This year Patrick Pruniaux Ulysse Nardin’s CEO, has again made the choice to make sound central to the brand’s drive for more futuristic ways to reinterpret traditional
Ordinarily, to generate the sound needed to mark the passing hours, the hammer strikes a wire gong wrapped around the movement to which it is attached The acoustic wave spreads into the middle of the mechanism and is partly absorbed by it In these conditions, the sound heard lacks power and its harmonics are partially muffled by the material of the timepiece
For the Blast Hourstriker Ulysse Nardin’s team of engineers decided to set themselves two challenges
• Make the chiming mechanism visible on the dial side
• Further improve the quality/power output ratio A challenge that was already started with the Classico Hourstriker Phantom watch To achieve these goals, Ulysse Nardin’s engineers and watchmakers developed the UN 621 caliber In order to guarantee optimal precision of Ulysse Nardin’s first in house automatic striking manufacture movement, it is powered by a flying tourbillon one that is equipped with a variable inertia balance wheel, a silicon hairspring, anchor and escape wheel Its contemporary lines have also been made sleeker and stamped with the now iconic X associated with the brand’s latest generation of timepieces The most complex phase of the Blast Hourstriker’s development involved redesigning the entire kinematics of this 330 component striking caliber to allow this highly sophisticated mechanism, which is usually hidden from view, to be seen dial side When the striker is on, the mechanical ballet that makes the watch’s sound is visible on the hour and half hour, but even its occasional activation is just as beautiful By pressing the button located at 10 o’clock, the mechanism, driven by a specially dedicated barrel, is triggered The hour rack and the inertia regulator start to turn the hammers, visible in an opening made at 12 o’clock, hit the gong whose shape has been subtly worked to bypass the cage of the flying tourbillon
An exceptional mechanism requires an exceptional case So Ulysse Nardin decided to encase a movement inspired by the power of nature in a design inspired by a powerful man made machine the stealth airplane To truly allow the sound of the Blast Hourstriker to resonate, the distinctive 45 mm Blast case was given a black DLC titanium middle, capped with 5 N 18 kt rose gold, for improved acoustics To silence this imposing timepiece with the button located at 8 o’clock on the middle must be pressed and then the ‘ or ‘ position at the tip of the function selector hand located at 8 o’clock checked The three straps that come with the Blast Hourstriker allow its different personalities to be explored The black high tech, waterproof velvet option emphasizes its aerodynamism, while the alligator brings its more sophisticated side to the fore In addition, a rubber strap is also available for this model Whatever you choose, remember the Blast Hourstriker is made to be heard not seen.