Even when on a personal level you perhaps don’t like their style, you must love a brand like Ulysse Nardin. The brand continues to innovate and is one of the brands that continue to fuel the Renaissance of contemporary mechanical watchmaking. They do this by keeping their current collection fresh with watches like the Hourstriker Tiger but also by adding completely new watch concepts to their line-up, watches like the Ulysse Nardin Stranger!
The name of this watch may sounds strange (no pun intended) yet is actually exactly on the mark. It actually refers to the song ” Strangers in the Night”, which reached immortality when Frank Sinatra made it a hit in 1966. No, this Ulysse Nardin is not a remake of a watch Frank Sinatra wore when he sang the song, but it rather sings the song itself!
This is accomplished by a rotating disc set with pins. As the disk rotates the pins pull back cams that resonate a tone when released, together making up the melody of the famous song. Unique about the Ulysse Nardin stranger is that it not only does this on demand, but also has a “sonnerie-mode” in which the melody is played every full hour. It took Ulysse Nardin five years to develop this mechanism, its development first initiated by long-time Ulysse Nardin CEO Rolf W. Schnyder, who passed away in 2011. Although somewhat common in music boxes, this is the very first time the disc and cam system has been miniaturized to such an extend that it can actually be fitted into a wrist watch. But Ulysse Nardin wouldn’t be Ulysse Nardin if they stopped there.
The Stranger is fitted with two mainbarrels, one powering the time-keeping part of the watch and one dedicated solely to the musical complication. Although fitted with an automatic movement, the Stranger can also be manually wound. Turning the crown clockwise will wind up the mainspring for the time-keeping part of the watch, while turning the crown anti-clockwise will do the same for the musical complication. By pushing the crown you can enter the setting mode for time and date, making the watch very easy to operate. Two pushers on the other side of the watch allow you to turn on or off the “sonnerie” function, or let it play on demand. As is almost a staple with Ulysse Nardin, the Stranger fitted with silicon parts which include the anchor and hairspring.
With a diameter of 45mm is the Stranger by no means a small watch, but it is a well proportioned one. Ulysse Nardin uses the space with flair and offers a balanced dial where both the unique complication, as well as the regular time indications get plenty of space to perform their function with visual vigor. The stranger is limited to 99 pieces and available in both white gold as well as red gold, but the best news about the Ulysse Nardin Stranger is perhaps that it is the first of a series of musical watches, so there is more to come.
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics