Watches: Ulysse Nardin Hannibal Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on February 6, 2015

Ulysse Nardin’s UN-78 calibre is an impressive piece of Haute Horlogerie. This remarkable manually-wound movement with tourbillon escapement belongs to the elite category of “Minute Repeaters” with “Westminster Carillon”. With the help of four gongs, each with a different tone (Mi-Do-Re-Sol), this complex mechanism strikes the hours and minutes in a melodious way every time the lever on the left-hand side of the dial is pushed. Minutes are then indicated by Mi notes, hours are marked by Sol notes and all four gongs are used in different sequences to count the three quarters.

If this intricate mechanism shares the superlative finish of most high-end minute repeaters on the market, it stands out from the competition by its additional function: the presence of “jacquemarts” or tiny automata on the dial that complement the sound by a sophisticated and animated ballet. Usually part of clocks or clock towers, these mechanised figurines tremendously add to the complexity of the timepiece but bring a whole new dimension when they go into action in sync with the sound of the repeater!

This sound and visual show has been a great source of inspiration for Ulysse Nardin’s watchmakers and they came up with the excellent idea of producing a series of exclusive “Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts” timepieces in tribute to History’s greatest warriors. After Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great, it is now Hannibal’s turn to be honoured by a stunning 30-piece limited edition in platinum.

Hannibal Barca was a Punic Carthaginian military commander particularly admired for being able to cross the Pyrenees and Alps during the Second Punic War with an army of soldiers and his secret weapon, namely a horde of elephants, before taking triumphant victory in Italy.

Hannibal's Elephant fights against the Roman soldiers. You can clearly see the animated parts: arms bearing swords or lances, and the elephant's trunk, which move when the minute repeater mechanism is activated

On a granite dial sourced from the very mountain chain Hannibal and his brigade crossed in the third century B.C., 18-karat white gold hand-carved figurines depict this monumental journey with breath-taking realism. When the minute repeater’s lever is activated the show becomes even more mesmerising as the figurines and elephant go into action in front of the exquisitely engraved mountainous background.

Crafted in platinum, this 44 mm Hannibal Minute Repeater comes with a black alligator strap and platinum folding buckle. It is water resistant to a depth of 30 meters despite the presence of the minute repeater’s lever and its magnificent dial leaves a large open-worked surface for the owner to admire both the one-minute tourbillon with its elegant bridge and some of the watch’s hammers. This is unarguably an outstanding piece of Haute Horlogerie but also a magnificent work of art. Completely out-of-reach for most watch enthusiasts, it will greatly enhance the collection of 30 lucky collectors…

For more information please visit the Ulysse Nardin web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: