We have been witnessing Ulysse Nardin making pioneering strides in watchmaking for decades — always surprising and delighting watch lovers. A key example of this is the concept timepiece it unveiled earlier this year that we are certain has inventions in it that will be making their way to Ulysse Nardin watches very soon. The l InnoVision 2 timepiece is chocked with 10 innovations, holds several patents, and has half a dozen more patents pending.
Among the 10 dynamic innovations that are incredibly complex and predominantly of interest only to the most die-hard collectors:
Dual Constant Escapement (patent pending). As we published in an article earlier in the year in Haute Time: “In any mechanical watch, the escapement is responsible for preventing unrestricted unloading of the spring mechanism and for transferring regular pulses to the oscillating system. The Dual Direct escapement in this watch is a sophisticated double constant force silicium structure that transmits the pulses to the balance wheel and hairspring wit equal force. This is made possible via flexible pre-tensioned silicium blades designed to absorb energy and release it accurately until the power of the watch is drained.”
Direct silicium bonding (patent pending). A system that uses DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) to produce the escapement element from monocrystalline silicium via a process that begins with two parts that are bonded using a compression bond and ultra-high temperatures to join the surface together in to one solid piece.
Silicium balance wheel with gold mass elements and stabilizing micro paddles (patent pending). Nonmagnetic Silicium, which has a density 3.6 times lower than Glucydur, is used for the balance wheel and balance spring, making them both shock resistant but also flexible.
Grinder (one patent issued, one patent pending). “The new Grinder self-winding mechanism system offers increased efficiency and transforms tiny amounts of kinetic energy into potential energy so there is virtually no idling.”
Sapphire-coated Silicium Bridge (patented). Collaborating with EPFL High School of Lausanne and Sigatec, Ulysse Nardin developed a method for coating silicium with a thin film of sapphire to enhance the hardness of the elongated center wheel bridge.
Glass components ( patent-pending). Ulysse Nardin also makes the balance cock and the integrated shock protection system from glass to eliminate friction. The glass is also milled to form channels and Super-LumiNova fills the channels for more light. Even the design of the watch is bold and unusual with a laser-cut glass-sculpted minute hand. The brand has a patent pending, as well, for an hour indication disk system that changes the morning and afternoon times. In an aperture on the dial, one disk displays the hours 1 to 11 and a second inner ring shows the hours 13 to 23. A large barrel moves the rings — a process that takes 15 minutes.
We anticipate seeing certain of these innovations, especially the Grinder, the use of glass, the disk system indication for the hours, and the Dual Constant escapement, make their way to the forefront in watches unveiled by the brand early next year and the following year.