Ulysse Nardin prepared for the Only Watch Charity Auction a special version of the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X. Since there is a piece unique and the chances to get it for a review are low, I thought it is the best opportunity to review the Skeleton X launched at SIHH 2019. This one is available on the market. As usual, the end of the article will host a large gallery.
Review Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X
The pieces presented in today’s review were launched during SIHH 2019. The collection featured four timepieces: satin finished titanium, a black DLC titanium, a rose gold version and a piece in the innovative Carbonium®. Today, I will present the last three versions. It seems I missed the opportunity to photograph the satin titanium piece.
Before going further with the wrist roll videos, I would like to present you the official launch video. I like it.
What strikes from the first look is the interesting construction of the Skeleton X. The watch is designed and built from the start as a super light structure. The result is part of painstaking handwork of cutting and hand finishing.
The wrist roll videos:
- Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Carbonium Ref. 3715-260/CARB – Executive collection
- Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Rose Gold Ref. 3716-260/03 – Executive collection
- Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Titanium Black DLC Ref. 3713-260-3/BLACK – Executive collection
All watches have the same construction, with one small exception. The case of the Carbonium® is 43mm, instead of 42 as the metal versions.
A complex case
The Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X has a complex case. The design imposes difficulties in production: an increased amount of steps and longer machining time. The brand not only reveals all the details in and outside the watch, but it also reveals the strong manufacturing capabilities. Indeed, the brand uses ultra-modern technologies and materials.
All the variants of the Skeleton X have particular design elements. Instead of going to a single version of the dial and changing just the case material, the brand harmonised the front view with the case look.
The Carbonium® case is spectacular due to its appearance. The main role is played by the 7µm diameter carbon fibres. The production of this material requires high pressures and temperatures, still being 40% less harmful to the environment as the classic processes. This high-performance material is used in aeronautics. Due to technological and production reasons, the Carbonium® case is larger than the metal counterparts.
The crown bears the same attention to details as the case: a complex shape and construction and nice decoration. The grip is fantastic and the movement’s response to crown manipulations is great.
The open-worked dial
The dial of the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X is beautiful visually and technically. The idea to use the movement components as dial and dial’s decoration is not new. But Ulysse Nardin does here a magical work.
I am impressed by the usage of the hour indexes as supporting bridges. The balanced construction integrates quite well the dial’s elements with the movement’s elements. The design makes the dial part of the movement and vice-versa.
The dial uses just two Roman numerals as indexes: the III and the IX. The rest of the three-dimensional indexes have luminescent material treatment. The one, five, seven and eleven o’clock indexes double as support bridges. A nice technical solution and a good-looking implementation.
The hands are skeletonized and partly filled with SuperLuminova. The legibility is OK. You can read the time easily but does not excel. Except in low light where the legibility is enhanced by the SuperLuminova.
Skeleton X has no hidden side or component. All is revealed in a multi-depth construction. The movement is nicely integrated as the dial decoration.
The Skeleton X is powered by the Calibre UN-371. The movement is based on the Ulysse Nardin Calibre 171. The hand-wound 3Hz calibre offers an impressive 96 hours of power reserve.
The movement is nicely designed, quite symmetrically. The rectangular shape from the front of the watch can be found again on the back. It is unusual to find so many 90degrees angles in a watch movement.
The UN-371 uses a silicium balance wheel and escapement that brings a fresh touch to the gilded look. Note the skeletonisation and decoration of the barrel that can double as power reserve indication.
Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X is a spectacular watch. Initially launched in 2016 as the Skeleton Tourbillon, the watch was given more earthly dimensions (42, respectively 43 mm, from 45mm on the original tourbillon piece). The new design fits well on the wrist and the light materials make the wearing a bliss.
I also find the price pretty competitive, the titanium versions having half of the 2016 piece price. Some were not happy to see Ulysse Nardin getting rid of the tourbillon. I see it as an evolution. Creating new pieces, more affordable and still the same as complex technically (making abstraction of the tourbillon) is a technical evolution and a good marketing move.
If I could reduce my conclusion to only a few words I would say: “high-tech horological delight”. I find the titanium version practical, the rose gold version beautiful and the Carbonium piece spectacular. My choice of all three will be the black DLC titanium.
Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Technical Specifications and Price
Calibre UN-371, manual winding movement
Manufacture Skeleton Movement
3 Hz Silicium balance wheel
Silicium minuterie gear train
Titanium black DLC
Rose gold 4N
Carbonium ® GOLD
Titanium & Rose gold: 42 mm
Carbonium ®: 43 mm
Titanium & Rose Gold available in rubber or alligator strap
Carbonium ® gold available in rubber or grained calf-leather strap
Skeleton X Titanium Ref 3713-260-3/03: 17’500USD, 17’500EUR
Skeleton X Titanium Ref 3713-260-3/BLACK: 17’500USD, 17’500EUR
Skeleton X Carbonium ® gold Ref 3715-260/CARB: 21’000USD, 21’000EUR
Skeleton X Rose gold Ref 3716-260/03: 29’000USD, 29’000EUR