Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

For 2017, Swiss Ulysse Nardin updated one of their less-known but very capable watches into something that I feel finally gives the Classic Sonata watch the attention it deserves. The two new models are the reference 672-05/92 and the 673-05/90. For many people, this is the first time they will be paying attention to the Ulysse Nardin Sonata, and here is why. Visual design is everything. There are watches out there which have incredible movements or complications that will rarely see the light of day on a wearer's wrist because of something that is perhaps amiss in the visual design. The Sonata has been part of Ulysse Nardin's collection for quite some time, with a truly compelling and distinct movement, yet it also had a design that many might warmly comment is "quirky and acquired."

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

For some people, the "original" Ulysse Nardin Sonata might be more to their liking, offering the particular eccentric flavor of the impressive watchmaker who never seems to resist doing their own thing. When the Kering Group purchased Ulysse Nardin (which was previously privately held) in 2014, I was rightly concerned that the maverick nature of the company perpetuated by its late owner Rolf Schnyder would be lost. Ulysse Nardin was and still is run by Patrik Hoffmann - a direct protege of Schnyder - who had every intention of maintaining the brand's direction. Intent alone is not always enough to stall the whims of a large corporate owner who might have very different ideas for the trajectory of their new acquisition - regardless of what made the brand great to begin with.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Now about three years after the acquisition by Ulysse Nardin by Kering, you do see a shift in the brand's direction, but also not a serious reversal of the company's truly innovative spirit. Hoffmann confided to me that it does take considerable persuasion and regular communication with Kering to allow the brand to invest and innovate as it desires, but that he was winning the campaign to keep Ulysse Nardin quirky and cool. With that said, he admitted Kering offered valuable advice and direction, helping to fill the brand's lineup with refined products and more which you might consider beautiful in a mainstream way. Thus, the Ulysse Nardin brand circa 2017 is actually (in my opinion) a success story of merging the true independent spirit of a luxury watch brand laboring to remain interesting and relevant in modern times, with a slew of products which are more traditionally beautiful for a slightly more mainstream appeal.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

A fantastic example of this effective blend of values is the updated Sonata, which I feel always had potential despite a visual design that never quite made it appealing for those seeking a more refined design. Inside the Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata is a fantastic in-house made movement known as the caliber UN-67. The movement has a range of useful technical features such as a silicon escapement and other components in the regulation system produced from silicon such as the patented hairspring. The automatic movement operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 42 hours.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

To easily explain the complications, I'll say that it offers the time, a big date indicator, dual time zone with dedicated "forward and backward" pushers, and a unique alarm system which combines a traditional alarm with the chiming sounds of a minute repeater. Note that there is also a dedicated power reserve indicator in the alarm-setting dial that allows you to know if the alarm spring has power in it. All of this is laid out rather logically and attractively on a balanced but asymmetric dial.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

I'm not a big fan of traditional mechanical alarm complications because the way they sound is not particularly attractive to me - despite that they do get your attention. I recently reviewed the updated vintage re-release Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox here. While being visually attractive and offering an authentic re-creation of a traditional alarm-equipped mechanical movement, the resulting sound from most mechanical alarm watches is a harsh vibrating buzzing sound. Yes, this noise is loud and gets your attention, but that's sort of counter-intuitive in today's age when mechanical watches are supposed to be the beautiful-looking and -sounding friends on your wrist. The majority of people who actually need to be reminded by an alarm will no doubt rely on their mobile phones or other electronic devices. Mechanical alarms will be used for other, more pleasant purposes.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

So what the Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata does is totally ditch the harsh buzzing alarm sound for the chimes produced by a hammer hitting a gong, identical to the system used to make chimes in sonnerie or minute repeater watches. Thus, Ulysse Nardin designed the Classic Sonata with an "alarm with cathedral gong" system. This demonstrates that Ulysse Nardin isn't just trying to say they too are producing a traditional complication, but that they are watch lovers like their customers seeking to refine a complication that is comparatively uncommon today.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Sonata Watch For 2017 Hands-On Hands-On

Think about it: the alarm is an actually useful complication but very rare in modern mechanical watch offerings. It is arguably more useful than a chronograph for many people, but is for the most part exotic and rare. In my opinion, the reason for that is because they just aren't pleasant to listen to - and Ulysse Nardin's solution to that problem in the UN-67 movement was to make the alarm worth listening to. I think they totally succeeded.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (44)
  • I love it! (20)
  • I want it! (18)
  • Classy (11)
  • Interesting (11)
  • Julian Chan

    That’s actually a really beautiful watch. Bit on the thicker side but otherwise really nice.

  • IanE

    Quirky, if relatively restrained, Ulysse-Nardinery! Love it – though I think I prefer the first generation with its really mad dial and hands!

    • Mark1884

      I concur, prefer the first gen dial & hands.

  • ??????

    Must be fun to play with 🙂

  • I can’t see how you can set the alarm within a 24 hour period (since the alarm register hands at 1 are 12 hour). Hope I’m wrong though – an alarm for 3 PM that goes off at 3 AM would be pretty irritating. I suppose the +/- adjusters affect the 24 hour “dual time” display – which is a shame as for a traveler’s watch, adjusting the primary time display is more useful when changing timezones. These gripes aside, this is a lot of watch tech for an all things considered reasonable price.

    • IanE

      Yes – I was wondering that: the older models (or at least those I have seen) had a 24-hr countdown sub-dial as well as the 12-hour setting sub-dial, so that one could use the former to get the right setting on the latter. [On reflection, you will probably know that, given your watch erudition!]

    • IG

      You sleep until 3pm? Hawaiian lifestyle…

      • No, I try to get up by noon so I can get that afternoon nap going without delay. Good to wake up at 3 PM to check email before starting that pre-dinner nap.

  • It’s like a fashion model, but with a mole… on both cheeks, her forehead, and one eyelid. Not wholly unattractive, but enough detractors to spoil it.

    Like many watches, the movement dictates the feature layout. Here the way everything seems too close for comfort or intruding on the other, drives me to distraction. The big date all smashed into the dual time sundial looks terrible. The random looking asymmetry, and how details spill into the chapter ring make the whole face appear tossed together wherever things could be crammed.

    It’s more sedate looking now, but certainly not beautifully designed.

  • SuperStrapper

    Are UN the kings of excellence in asymmetry? Quite possibly. Kudos for having the sand to release a chiming watch in steel, as everyone who makes a chiming watch should.

    • Mr. Snrub

      Quite possibly indeed. I also think Graham has a certain flair for it.

  • BrJean

    Too much is going on on the dial and around the dial… but I’m feeling relaxed looking at these amazingly decorated rotors.

  • Tony NW

    One thing articles like this seem to be missing is a relative comparison of the most important complication or feature. For example, just drawing from my own set of personally-owned watches, Ariel could have included…

    * The Seiko BellMatics, which were quite a bit more musical. They set with a rotating bezel, not a fourth hand, also, and have the crown at the normal position, with a pusher around 2.
    * That most alarm complications, including the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox he referenced, are essentially mild updates of the original A.Shild movement. You can recognize these by the crowns at roughly 2 and 4, and by that hard buzzy sound… but you can FEEL it which is important.
    * That affordable clones were done by Poljot (Russian) and Seagull (Chinese.) You can still find them on eBay.
    * For a Quartz analog alarm, the Traser Big Date Alarm combines that and Tritium, using an Ronda Startech (yes, swiss) movement.

    If this is too broad for a single-model review, perhaps this type of thing would make a good article/post?

    • Sevenmack

      There’s also Citizen’s Calibre 9000, which offered two alarms (including one for when you were in a second time zone) as well as is a dual time and minute repeater. The alarms are nice and loud, and the minute repeater chime is a delight. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c80ddf53089c17c904fdc061c9dd4d55c83c1d3b9a216ea3d814302c714968d4.jpg

      • IG

        The problem is that it’s a quartz turd, so the “minute repeater” and the “chime” are a computer chip and piezo speaker just like in any other quartz turds LOL

        • Sevenmack

          Indulging your scatophilia again, I see. There are some Japanese pornos you can watch for those purposes.

          • IG

            No, thanks, just keep it to yourself like the “minute repeater” and other Japanese paraphernalias.

          • Sevenmack

            Well, you are the one who keeps talking about feces.

            On the other hand, I prefer beautiful clean watches. Quartz and mechanical. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c2c77ba3792265aa0d8cd28196dfb2d12b2c02ea4fb8e0d679b5bbfa8dd82529.jpg

          • joe Shmoe

            someone obviously doesn’t know their porn genres. scat porn from Japan is virtually nonexistent. i think the country of origin you’re looking for is Germany, or maybe Russia. odds are it’s German. 🙂

      • Tony NW

        I’ve missed this, perhaps due to the Citizen penchant towards complicated complexity in complications and their displays, in Quartz. Kind-of like bragging about the horsepower of a Honda. (If that doesn’t mean much to you, Hondas are over-squared engines… they can rev high and thus put out horsepower, which is sort of torque*rpm/5250, without actually having much useful power, unlike, say, an Audi.) And that even though one of my favorite personal watches was a grey-market Citizen quartz circa 1988 or so, utterly fantastic piece.

        Cool. Thank you for bringing it up.

  • Mark1884

    I always liked UN and the Sonata is another winner. While it may not be my choice as a next watch, I appreciate the complications and atypical design. Not too many mechanical alarms out there.
    Did I miss something…. what is the case size and price??
    Wish that the fingerprints and grime were wiped off watch for photo’s. Especially pic #12

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Wonderfull. Much, much nicer than the other UN alarm clock, which was in my humble opinion a massive design fail. This one is a beauty.

  • Yojimbo

    the black/brass (apparently rose gold) look does it no justice. Visually the other is off the charts.

    • Wait, is that a purchase option now?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        It’s the latest executive order.Keep up they are coming thick and fast 🙂

        • Who do I have to take out to get an ALS?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Anyone on the FBI most wanted list.

          • Sounds difficult. How about a Janis Trading?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Most folks go for the easy option : )

          • Yojimbo

            if we can kill a Janis Trading rep and get a watch, surely we get double if we take out some of the other sponsored posts

    • Levon

      “but if they want me to kill a few Syrian refugees I’m in”

      That is an offensive post.

      Disappointing to find this here.

      • Yojimbo

        grow the fuck up, it was a backhanded remark on classist society

        • Ariel Adams

          Let’s keep the profanity to face to face interactions. There are plenty of other ways of responding to this without having to get so hostile.

          • Levon

            Really Ariel, that’s the best you can say? I’ve been viewing your watch report videos and visiting the site for years. Very sorry to see you tacitly approve this sort of language/expression. The original post is offensive, never mind the childish response.

            What about “backhanded remarks” like “.. but if they want me to rape a few blond girls from LA I’m in” .. or “.. but if they want me to kill a few blacks from Tulsa” .. , how about targeting jews or handicapped? Would you be ok with that? If not, why?

            Don’t want to interject race/politics into this site? But it’s ok to vilify middle-eastern people in the disguise of “backhanded remarks”.

            Unacceptable.

            There’s a reason my moniker is a deliberately bland name that doesn’t reflect my race or ethnicity. There’s enough hostility directed at it without inviting it. Clearly, on some sites it’s more acceptable than others.

          • Yojimbo

            you realize that “jews” are a people and that “Syrians” are just citizens of a nationstate right?

            Despite what you think of my supposedly horrible crack, I’m sponsoring a few refugees staying in Canada. So are you putting money where your mouth is or just being a sanctimonious twat?

          • Levon

            the black/brass (apparently rose gold) look does it no justice. Visually the other is off the charts, I’d never drop that money on a watch, but if they want me to kill a few Jews I’m in

            “not offensive, a backhanded remark on fascist society” .. to paraphrase user Yojimbo

          • Yojimbo

            I don’t appreciate being called a racist, I’ll try to contain the profanities

          • joe Shmoe

            if you don’t like being called a racist, it really helps to not say things that sound really racist.

          • Yojimbo

            That wasn’t me being chastened by anything you wrote you sweet virgin SJW you, that was me promising Ariel to try not to swear so much. “Syrian” is not a race you numb arsehole and I would say that roughly half the people I grew up with are Arab, Jewish or Chaldean, so if I was going to make an anti-arab remark it would have been quite a bit more colorful. So I will invite you to wrap that big mouth of yours around your asshole and felch yourself silent.

          • joe Shmoe

            the fact that Syrian is not a race, does not make your statement sound any less racist. like i said, if being accused of being a racist bothers you so much, and at this point it’s quite obvious that it does, you would be best served not saying things that sound really racist. and the more you type here, the clearer it gets that you are the one that needs to grow up.

          • Yojimbo

            Dude, you’re a clown. I made one direct statement that I resented your baseless allegation MONTHS AGO>

            I sure wasn’t crying about it or building up a libel case against you.

            Because months after the fact you felt you needed to slide a last word in, I now responded in more particular detail. That is because you’re clearly one of those shit for brains who loves to throw allegations around without knowing one fucking lick of what it is that they are talking about.

            I’m now in my second decade as a lawyer and I have several human rights tribunal appearances under my belt. I think I have a more informed opinion on this matter and a right to call you a shit for brains. If you called me a racist to my face I would punch the living shit out of you, because that’s the kind of guy I am, not because your words particularly resonate. I’d take it as a mark of personal fucking pride to beat the charges that I’m sure would stem from that episode.

            Again, wrap that useless set of lips of yours around your ass and have a nice long soothing sip on the same thing that comes out of your mouth.

          • joe Shmoe

            i never called you a racist, i just recommended a course of action to help you from coming off as one. fact is, nobody called you a racist, it was just pointed out that you made an offensive post. it’s right up there for all to see, and it’s pretty offensive by almost any standards, except perhaps the standards of a racist. “I don’t appreciate being called a racist, I’ll try to contain the profanities” that’s your post, the first mention of racist in this thread. and you are most surely crying about it, this is one of the saddest, whiniest, most pathetic attempts to justify a deplorable post i’ve ever seen. surely you make better arguments in court. perhaps your over the top response to this issue is because you feel threatened by the ramifications of your actions. i would imagine that your original post wouldn’t sit well for the employer or clients of a lawyer working on human rights cases. using a fake name and avatar is pretty effective insulation from the consequences of being a douche on the internet. you might want to refrain from giving out too many personal details when you go on these unhinged rants, sooner or later someone you know will connect the dots.

          • Yojimbo

            You’re hilarious. Am I to presume the name on your driver’s license is Joe Shmoe?

            And honestly, asshole I am the master of all I survey, employer of some, not an employee and not worried about clients because I am none of what you allege.

            you however are very much this —>

            https://youtu.be/gtQLIU4ze0g

          • joe Shmoe

            you: ” I am none of what you allege.”
            me: ” i would imagine that your original post wouldn’t sit well for the employer or clients of a lawyer working on human rights cases.”
            you: ” I’m now in my second decade as a lawyer and I have several human rights tribunal appearances under my belt.”
            congratulations, you have clearly and firmly established yourself as being 1-full of shit.
            2-nuttier than squirrel poop
            3-a world class asshole
            it’s like you are so jacked up on something you just type in a blind rage, oblivious of what you typed previously and oblivious of the fact that it’s all still here for everyone to see. mix in the threats of violence and mindless profanity and my guess is copious amounts of cocaine maybe a little meth when you’re running low on supply or cash. get help dude, before that shrivelled raisin you call a heart, pops from the abuse.

          • Yojimbo

            You’re right it’s all there, you didn’t like a crack I made months ago and for some bizarre reason came back months later to just ‘one up’ the whole thing. I told you that I think you’re a twat and you come back with “brah brah brah brah eeeeeeee ooooooh” stupid donkey

            I’m jacked up on nothing but carrot juice, my heart like the rest of me runs like a fine watch and I am exactly what I said I am d’bag.

            The level of fucks I give on whether you believe me or not is rating a zero on all the gauges.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/efc1ebdf726079e339b4140aed14697e7ee81ed1422c24cbe8afd073e9d39e36.jpg

          • joe Shmoe

            someone who didn’t give a fuck would have stopped responding to my trolling long ago, lol.

          • Yojimbo

            oh poor sweet little titmouse

            you do realize that these show up in my inbox on my computer and phone and I just go “tick” and type a response right?

            I’m doing that consistently

            not months later

            but keep on smelling your own farts and complimenting the terroir of your own shit

          • joe Shmoe

            when i first responded to your ill conceived post it was, in fact, the first time i had seen it. the internet is funny like this; things that are posted, whether articles or wildly inappropriate comments, are pretty much there forever. so even years later, someone may click on an article that looks interesting and stumble upon a truly disgusting and irresponsible comment and the op’s pathetic attempt to justify it and themselves, rather than just apologizing. even years later still, anyone reading this article will witness the downward spiral of this op, as he goes through all the stages of impotent internet rage. denial. self incriminating excuses. profanity. scatalogical profanity and insults. resume padding. denial of resume padding. threats of violence. claims of not caring. this thread will serve as a tutorial for generations to come for how not to engage in an internet fight.or how to not behave in general. looks like you’ve fulfilled your life’s purpose. *slow clap…

          • Yojimbo

            oh lord you still post and post and post and post with the blah blah blah. As was said zero fucks are given, how many posts like this do you have going on the internet tard boy? My day was great, nice long jog, time with my dog, blew off some court appointments and sent a student so I could have some patio time and then I come back and see you the bleeding edge representation of what is wrong with the world doing your level best to pretend you aren’t a sad pustule.

            I’m not reading anymore donkey, no idea what this post was about, don’t think I read the last one either; but please do keep nattering and I’ll keep telling you you’re a stupid numbfuck each and every time.

            Sorry, would love to write more but I have actual productive uses for my time at the moment. Hey look, someone made a comic about you and your ilk!

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e46c0922a867c18e3604db00715ac014cb5d7d350297a983055df90f1e50b98.png

          • joe Shmoe

            your actions speak louder than your words. evidently you are too stupid to realize it. for someone who is “the master of all I survey” it sure is easy to make you jump through hoops on command.

          • Yojimbo

            oh more barking, that’s great you’re simply smurfy. I’m absolutely certain none of your relatives have unkind words to voice every time you leave the room.

            https://youtu.be/C5P5eQiKNQs?t=43s

          • joe Shmoe

            jump! jump! good boy!

          • Yojimbo

            yes, please keep approving of your decisions like anyone else is monitoring them besides the auto-notifications I get to click a button so I can remind you that

            you’re a dumb donkey

          • Levon

            What are you, 12 years old? You posted a stupid thing and got called out on it. Grow up.

          • Yojimbo

            I’m old enough to know what the pernicious result of PC do-gooders who throw allegations about wrongfully is.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    There are certain features on this piece that don’t excite me too much ( it’s a bit pointy ) but i’m niggling. This is really beautiful.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i like UN, but this one is jumbled.

  • Mischa

    The alarm has always been my favourite complication, and UN have really made a wonderful piece here. Very interesting, amazing finish, very reasonable price (a lot of money, but not expensive for what it offers). It’s just that logo… it gives it a snob look that I could never really wear on my wrist.

  • Sevenmack

    The movement finishing is gorgeous. The dial, though simple in finish, is lovely, especially the dual time and alarm subdials. The hands are exquisite. A fine effort by UN.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Lovely watch, I think UN make some great watches, and an alarm is one of my most favourite complications, probably after the seconds hand.

    I am curious though there is almost a $20K difference in price and the two watches have different movements.

    The gold one is the UN067 with 109 jewels, and the steel one is the UN153 with 53 jewels. Are they both gong alarms, or just the gold one? What is the difference? I need to spend my Monopoly money and don’t want to make the wrong choice.

    • Pete L

      I think a couple of the steel case back photos are in there in error – from a chronograph UN rather than the Sonata.

  • Pete L

    Classic looking piece and something a bit different.

  • Larry Holmack

    If I ever win the lottery, UN is going to get a substantial order from me!!! I love the rose gold and black version!!! I think right now I have 5 of their watches on my lottery dream list!!!

  • otaking241

    UN is another brand that I’m not sure knows what it wants to be. Near as I can tell the only unifying design element between its watches is the big placard bolted to the side of the case with the production number–not exactly exemplary of a cohesive design language.

    Looking at the dial on this watch I see way too much JLC DNA in the subdial layout, fonts and overall presentation. JLC would have done a better job with the lugs, crown and other buttons, though.

  • Chris MoJo

    Very nice piece with interesting and practical complications. If I had the budget I would certainly be tempted to pick one up!

  • Bert Kanne

    Why is the watch face supposed to look correct with the overlap of the lower left corner of the date window and the on/off hand going over the circular line?