Watches: Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Collection (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on March 7, 2014

At Baselworld this March, Ulysse Nardin will officially unveil the new chapter of its Manufacture collection. After the Marine Chronometer Manufacture initiated in 2012, it is time for another iconic line of this Swiss luxury brand to welcome its very first movement entirely developed, designed and manufactured in-house.

Since its creation, the Dual Time has always remained one of the easiest watches to adjust on the market, as it allows both the second time zone and the date to be adjusted indifferently forward or backward when most brands will advise you not to change the date of their delicate models between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. if you don’t want to risk damaging the mechanism.

With the second time zone indicated in a porthole at 9 o’clock on a 24-hour disc and a large date by two windows at 2 o’clock, the Dual Time also counts among the most legible models on the market. Taking all its quality into consideration, it surely represents the perfect companion for all frequent travellers.

Since not all globe-trotters have the same tastes, the Le Locle-based manufacture has introduced several interpretations of this legendary timepiece over the years. Let me just mention the classic-looking Dual Time 42 mm that I found particularly appealing in rose gold with a stunning grey dial, the off-the-wall Quadrato Dual Time, here in a rose gold interpretation with a black ceramic bezel or the professional Executive Dual Time that I particularly like in a beautiful blue version with blue ceramic bezel. Of course these are merely a personal selection of what the brand produced: each sub-collection has been interpreted in enough renditions to cater to all audiences.

All these models are equipped with the very reliable UN-24 calibre. With 42 hours of power reserve, this self-winding movement has absolutely no flaw and could have been used forever by the brand for the Dual Time collection. A few years ago, however, Ulysse Nardin embarked on a different (and much more demanding) journey: becoming a true manufacture and extending its offer of proprietary calibres.

At Baselworld, the brand will thus proudly unveil the first pieces equipped with the manufacture replacement of the UN-24 calibre. Named UN-334, this new in-house movement features the same functions as its predecessor but also boasts a silicon anchor, escape wheel and 4 hertz oscillator with a patented silicon balance spring that guarantees the highest accuracy. This self-winding movement with a 48-hour power reserve is the result of years of research and dedication to silicon, this highly contemporary material that only a few manufactures master.

To showcase this outstanding movement, the brand entirely redesigned the case of the Dual Time 42 mm to make it more contemporary while retaining a few classic touches, for “an air of casual elegance” as the brand puts it. It keeps its multipurpose 42 mm size but the crown protectors have been removed, the lugs are elongated, the strap integrated to the case, and the bezel bevelled rather than rounded. Overall, the watch looks more modern while immediately identifiable as “Ulysse Nardin”.

The new Dual Time Manufacture is available in stainless steel or in rose gold with a matching folding buckle and a choice of two dials: opaline black or silver sun-brushed. The brand fitted three versions with a black alligator strap: the rose gold timepiece with black dial and the two stainless steel models, with silver or black dial. For the rose gold model with silver dial, the Manufacture selected a brown alligator strap.

Lastly, the brand offers the two stainless steel version mounted on a stainless steel bracelet (silver dial or black dial). Since this option was also available for the rose gold renditions on the previous Dual Time 42 mm model, I suppose it is a just matter of time before a rose gold bracelet becomes available.

We had the opportunity to quickly see the Dual Time Manufacture in person during the SIHH week and I truly liked it. It is an extremely versatile model, the perfect blend of classic and contemporary, casual and formal. A watch that you will appreciate on your wrist in many occasions. Since we did not actually see all versions, I will come back on this impressive model during Baselworld with some more pictures.