2020 has been a busy year for Ulysse Nardin, with new releases spanning from redesigned dive chronographs to the new tourbillon-equipped Blast collection, but as Watches and Wonders Shanghai 2020 gets underway, the brand has one more surprise for enthusiasts. The Ulysse Nardin Dual Time series has long been a unique world-time option thanks to its patented instant time zone adjustment, and now the brand has brought this long-running line in step with its new company aesthetic. The new Ulysse Nardin Dual Time series offers users a distinctive option in the competitive travel watch segment, offering a unique take, both mechanically and stylistically.
The new 42mm case of the Ulysse Nardin Dual Time shares its design with the brand’s aggressive Skeleton X series. While the overall style of the Dual Time is far more traditional and conservative, the sharp semi-integrated lugs and stepped case sides go a long way toward establishing common brand DNA across Ulysse Nardin’s entire range. Available in both stainless steel and rose gold, the mix of broad-brushed surfaces with narrow mirror-polished chamfers offers just a touch of visual flash to complement the futuristic angular form. The real visual centerpiece of this case, however, is the contrasting smooth bezel in either deep midnight blue or black. By adding a second color or surface to the case design and tying in elements of both the dial and strap, the whole feels far more cohesive and streamlined as a result. Ulysse Nardin finishes this case with a sapphire display caseback and a 50-meter water resistance.
Where the case takes Ulysse Nardin’s aggressive avant-garde style to heart, the dial design of the Dual Time softens it into something still asymmetrical but far more classical in its execution. Even as a dressier, relatively simpler design from the brand, there’s still a lot going on here, from the slightly undersized 6 o’clock small seconds to the big date display in an unorthodox 2 o’clock position. The hour markers are a mix of elongated applied stick indices and similarly stretched thin-printed Roman numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, paired with a set of skeletonized alpha hands. The real visual focal points, however, are the wide applied rectangle dominating the middle third of the dial and the deep second display window at 9 o’clock. This 9 o’clock display window is the Ulysse Nardin Dual Time’s party trick, as the second time zone hours displayed within advance instantly, and can be adjusted in both directions via the pushers on the 9 o’clock side of the case. While a quirky and character-filled design in any finish, the two dial color options drastically affect the overall feel of the watch. The sunburst black dial is undoubtedly the more serious and sportier of the pair, with a clean uniform look that helps to simplify some of the Dual Time’s visual complexity. The navy blue dial, on the other hand, feels more in line with the spirit of Ulysse Nardin. Especially with rose gold hardware, this deep sunburst feels audacious and luxe, with an emphasized visual break for that inner rectangle.
The ETA 2892-A2 based Caliber UN-24 automatic movement inside the Ulysse Nardin Dual Time may be carried over from previous generations of the line, but the movement still offers some truly unique mechanical solutions. The dual time module with its push-button instant adjustment second time zone is a patented exclusive for Ulysse Nardin, while the overall movement still offers solid performance including a 42-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
Ulysse Nardin offers the Dual Time with a pair of strap options. The first of these is a tapering sporty rubber strap in either black or deep navy blue. At first glance, this is a streamlined and clean option with raised ridges to flow into the Dual Time’s complicated lug architecture, but a closer inspection reveals a pattern of small, sporty perforations. For those looking for a more luxurious feel, the Dual Time is also paired with a contrasting midnight blue alligator leather strap for a dramatic and refined look on the wrist.
With the release of the new Dual Time, Ulysse Nardin has brought one of its most innovative lines in step with the current brand aesthetic, although opinions may split on how successful the translation of that aesthetic is. The Ulysse Nardin Dual Time series is available now through authorized dealers, with a starting MSRP of $8,300. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.