Watches: Ulysse Nardin GMT Perpetual

By Thierry Ané on November 28, 2013

In 1996 Ulysse Nardin made horological history thanks to the extremely talented Ludwig Oechslin. Indeed, the brand introduced the most functional perpetual calendar movement to date. Unlike other competing watches that must be returned to the manufacturer in case of setting mistakes, the “Perpetual Ludwig” watch allowed for forward and backward adjustments of all the calendar displays. Also featuring a second time zone, the in-house automatic UN-32 calibre remains unparalleled today.

Lately, it has been used by the brand in the successful “El Toro” collection. This year, Ulysse Nardin presented the El Toro Black, while last year saw the release of the El Toro Blue also with a rose gold case. A brown version has also been produced with the rose gold case and a silver dial model was made with a platinum case.

Despite featuring such a refined complication, the El Toro Perpetual Calendars are quite laidback in style. With the use of rubber straps on most models, the choice of strong contrasting colours for the “Côtes de Genève” on the dial and the presence of a shiny ceramic bezel, one might even say that these timepieces look sporty.

This year the brand has decided to offer a more classical and understated case to this haute horology movement. Simply christened “GMT Perpetual”, this new watch is unveiled in two limited series of 250 pieces each.

The first version showcases a 43 mm red gold case fitted with a brown alligator strap, while the second model mixes a platinum case and a black alligator strap. The straps are secured by folding buckles made of the same material as the case. Both versions present a white dial with hands and hour markers in the same colour as the case.

I recently saw the red gold version at Salon QP in London and I must admit that the watch looks really good. Personally, I prefer any version of the “El Toro” over this “GMT Perpetual” but this is only because my preferences go to more relaxed watches. Many watch aficionados prefer a classical design, especially with such a sophisticated movement. They won’t be disappointed with these two new watches and we should congratulate Ulysse Nardin’s idea to create these elegant and timeless but also contemporary timepieces.

For a technical description of the timepieces and additional pictures: