In China, the Year of the Tiger is greeted with joy and celebration. Ulysse Nardin is delighted to join in the revelry. Passionate, daring, confident and determined, people born in the year of the tiger are considered to be brave and respected for their courage by both friends and foes. They can go from being fiery and fearless to calm and emotional in a blink of an eye. They always impress people with an image of power and authority. The third in a 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs, this important occasion is being marked by Ulysse Nardin in an original way.
The Classico “Tiger” in rose gold – produced in a limited-edition series of 88 pieces to mark the 2022 event – is vibrant yet elegant. Using two-centuries-old methods of enamelling (champlevé and paillonné enamelling), the artist’s sketch is brought to life.
A decorative technique forgotten and mastered only by a handful of craftsmen; enamel is only used on exceptional watches. A rare art form mastered by only a few, the champlevé technique involves carving directly onto the dial, creating individual “cells” that are then filled with enamel. The colours come from a careful blending of different metallic oxides. The dial is fired until the enamel melts before being smoothed and polished when cooled down. The final step – which is also the most delicate – involves enriching the motif by chiselling metal elements onto the surface.
What sets this Ulysse Nardin Classico Tiger watch apart is the art of “paillonné enamelling”, an age-old decorative technique. Motifs cut from a thin gold or silver leaf, the paillons (or strips), are placed by hand one by one at the right place. Once the design is done, the figures are also covered with another layer of enamel and fired in the same oven. This translucent coat will protect the paillonné motif for centuries to come, as if freezing it in place for all eternity. Here, the moon is made with silver strips and the stars are made of 3 distinctive gold strips. The tridimensional effect on the watch is breathtaking.
The process of creating enamelled faces is delicate and difficult to master, an artisanal competence that requires that over 90% of the process is done by hand. There is no available modern technology that can enhance the process. A leader in this field, Donzé Cadrans workshops from Le Locle, Switzerland, were integrated to the Ulysse Nardin Manufacture in 2011. Although all enamel processes are alike, each of them is different, requiring exceptional precision and skills. Complexity, fine details, realistic decorations and a magical ensemble effect explain in particular the intense and ancestral desire of collectors to own enamelled watches. Donzé Cadrans, despite the changing times, helps to maintain the techniques of enamel in the purest of traditions. The enamel fabrication process could never be industrialized: instinct and humility cannot be programmed, and this is what defines the craftsmen’s talent of Donzé Cadrans.
Powered by the self-winding movement with 42 hours power reserve, the 40 mm Ulysse Nardin Classico “Tiger” has a black alligator strap with a rose-gold buckle and an open sapphire case-back. Water-resistant to 50m, the rose-gold polished case sets off the gold Tiger motif to perfection.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Tiger Technical Specifications
Reference 8152-111LE-9E-TIGER/1A – Limited edition 88 timepieces
- Calibre UN-815
- Self-winding movement
- Features: Hours, minutes, seconds
- 21 rubies
- 4 Hz / 28’800 V/H
- Power reserve 42 hours
- COSC Certification
- Rose Gold
- Sapphire glass
- Case back: Rose gold and open sapphire case-back
- Diameter 40 mm
- Water-resistance 50 meters
- Champlevé and Paillonné Enamel
- Produced by Donzé Cadrans and @lozerongravure
- Black alligator strap with a rose gold buckle
- 40’600 CHF / EUR 40.600,-
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