Most youngsters are enamored by the ocean and by the mythical mermaid. Now, Ulysse Nardin brings the mermaid out of the water and onto the wrist in its newest Erotic Classico watches. Recently, I wrote about these watches on my Perfect Timing column on Forbes.com. Now, I bring the story here.
“With a new tag line that reads “We Xplore. we Xcite. we Xist. We are Ulysse.” Swiss watch brand Ulysse Nardin goes out of its way this year to truly excite people. With a long-standing tradition of creating exceptional erotic watches, typically minute repeaters with moving jaquemarts on the dial, this year the brand tones it down a notch—unveiling 10 erotic watches with hand-painted dials designed by Italian erotic comic book artist Milo Manara. Interestingly enough, the theme of these erotic watches is one that has mystified man for centuries: mermaids.
The inspiration comes from Manara’s concepts and illustrations of underwater adventures between a mythical mermaid and a beautiful young woman who meet and discover love. Each of the 10 watches in the series features the enchanting mermaid and the young woman in different scenes of embrace and frolic. While the mermaid seduces the woman, a shark watches them, sometimes from a distance and sometimes up close, depending on the dial design. The theme is consistent for the 10 watches, but each can stand alone without needing the others to tell the story.
Ulysse Nardin turned to the Italian illustrator of eroticism to create an underwater world of crisp, clean blue and mystical allure. Ulysse Nardin has had a long history in marine watches, and so the daring theme seems to carry through the brand’s heritage in a unique and daring way.
According to Valpolicella-based Manara, who has been illustrating for more than 50 years, “The clock lends itself particularly precisely to this theme because in eroticism there is eternity. This is not a linear story, but there is a common thread based on … a timeless girl and … a mermaid.“
Manara created 10 illustrations that Ulysse Nardin’s master artisans – in the brand’s LeLocle workshops — then miniaturized and micro-painted onto watch dials. Each dial takes approximately 50 hours to complete. Despite the fact that the watch dial as canvas is about 10 times smaller than Manera’s drawings, each dial is a study in detail and an explosion of colors underscores the sensual theme. Depending on the dial, there are deep blue seas, coral reefs, tiny waves on the surface of the ocean, sand, and more. Every tiny detail is painted with a brush with hairs that are the width of an eyelash.
Each and every color in the acrylic painting is meticulously mixed to achieve depth and dimension and, once painted, the master artisans apply a coat of lacquer to seal in the beauty. There are 20 watches created per illustration: 10 each in stainless steel and in 18-karat 5N rose gold. This equates to 200 pieces in total, with each and every one being unique thanks to the hand painting.
The 40 mm watches are powered by the UN-320 self-winding movement with high-tech silicium technology. Each displays the hours and minutes and offers 48 hours of power reserve. The case back features a sapphire crystal for viewing to the meticulously finished movement. Every watch is finished with a dark blue alligator strap. Each watch will also be accompanied with an original numbered Milo Manara print, signed by the artist. The stainless steel watches are expected to retail for about $26,900 and the 18-karat rose gold version should sell for $34,400.”