Woaw that’s a long name for a watch! It goes back to my classic statement, the longer the name of a watch, the more the brand wishes for you to take it seriously. I supposed the reason that the name of this watch is so long is because it is a new piece in an ongoing series of tourbillon minute repeater watches with automatons by Ulysse Nardin. The last two in the Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts collection were the Circus and the Genghis Khan. Now the exploits of Alexander the Great join the family.
What is this collection all about? These are super high-end fun novelty watches. Each has a tourbillon and a minute repeater. When the minute repeater is activated, the little characters on the dial come to like and act as though they are striking the bells. So each time you hear a chime for example, one of the little character swings a sword. Lucky you I took a video so that you can see it in action – otherwise you just don’t get it.
This actually brings up the biggest question for me – what on earth is a jaquemart? Well apparently it is the name for a figure that is created next to a bell that automatically rings the bell. Historically these were very large and built on clock towers. Either they were physically able to strike the bell or just served as a iconic image of someone or something striking the bell. These were basically early animatronic beings – the early relatives of what you now see at Disneyland. Miniaturized, these jaquemarts are now on the dial of watches like this from Ulysse Nardin and are hand-engraved in gold. The details are really impressive, and you smile like a 12 year old when seeing them in action.
What the jaquemarts are going on the dial is fighting. Apparently you are seeing the depiction of one of Alexander the Great’s battles. He is the fashionable Greek dude in gold and red on the gold. The watch comes in 18k white or rose gold, and the figures on the dial match that color. On this watch the dial is actually done with diamonds. It is very sparkly and looks nice with the characters against it. This dial is man-made and involves a single continuous sheet of diamond crystals. This is also a nod to Ulysse Nardin’s newest acquisition that is a diamond producer for its Diamonsil movements (silicon covered in a diamond coating).
Under the figurines is the tourbillon – all part of the in-house made and very complex caliber UN-78 manually wound movement. There are complex movements, and there are complex movements. Seeing the operation of the watch and then looking through the sapphire caseback window shed a bit of light on this fact.
The minute repeater is activated via the slider on the left side of the case. As far as minute repeaters go it is pleasant sounding with good tone. Unlike other minute repeaters with just two gongs, this one has four of them – meaning it can produce more sounds. Having the jaquemarts on the dial “act” out the chimes is the icing on the cake. The watch itself is 44mm wide and will be made as a limited edition. The Alexander the Great Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts watch will be available as a set of 50 pieces in 18k white gold and 50 pieces in 18k rose gold. Not sure about the specific price but I would say over $100,000.
Technical Data from Ulysse Nardin:
Reference: 780-90 18 ct white gold
Reference: 786-90 18 ct rose gold
Movement: Caliber UN-78, 36 jewels
Power-Reserve: Approx. 70 h
Winding: Manual winding
Functions: Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater Striking of hours, quarters and minutes Four different chimes (Mi-Do-Re-Sol)
Case: 18 ct rose gold or 18 ct white gold
Diameter: 44 mm
Water-resistance: 30 m
Dial: Man-made diamond dial
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case-back: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Band: Alligator leather strap, with folding buckle
Limited Edition: 50 pieces in white gold and 50 pieces in rose gold