What a long name for a Tourbillon watch!BASELWORLD 2015: The Hannibal Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts
Feared and revered by the Romans, the great Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca knew how to outthink the competition. Considered one of the world’s greatest military commanders, Hannibal was the ultimate strategist who knew how to predict his enemies’ every move, devising innovative tactics to use to his advantage.
In his quest to take Rome during the Second Punic War, Hannibal achieved a remarkable feat: He crossed the Pyrenees and Alps with an army of soldiers and his secret weapon – elephants, taking triumphant victory in Italy.
Ulysse Nardin depicts this monumental journey in the Hannibal Minute Repeater. Presented worldwide as a limited edition of 30, the timepiece is crafted from platinum and genuine granite from the Alps.
Of rare and exceptional artistry, the watch demonstrates Ulysse Nardin’s ability to push the envelope, yet again, in innovation in haute horology. From its use of original materials to precise engineering, the recent addition to this premier collection is as ingenious as its inspiration.
The first – and most unforgettable – impression of this work of art is made when viewing its dial, set within a platinum case. Hannibal, straddling his horse, appears to be in swift action with one of his loyal elephants and regiment of warriors by his side. These main figures called Jaquemarts, as well as the mountainous backdrop and surrounding terrain, are all hand-carved from 18 carat white gold and are mounted on granite sourced from the very mountain chain Hannibal and his brigade crossed in the third century B.C. By making this material the foundational element of the watch’s design, Ulysse Nardin further illustrates its spirit of invention.
Demonstrating an unparalleled level of skill and creativity in the piece, Ulysse Nardin delves deeper into its storyline by ensuring the detail is so realistic, wearers of the series will be transported back in history every time they, well, check the time. Hues of black, gold, bronze and silver shimmer with each cut, accentuating power and bold masculinity.
Water-resistant to 30 meters, its movement is a caliber UN-78 one-minute tourbillon, integrated and visible on the dial. Its bridge is created in the same shape as those used on the tourbillons James Pellaton produced for Ulysse Nardin at the beginning of the 20th century. Each part of the movement is decorated, angled and hand-finished.
With its specialized movement comes very special sound. A connoisseur’s treasure, minute repeaters perfectly pair a watch’s ability to have time not only seen, but also heard.
English clockmaker Daniel Quare patented the minute-repeating mechanism in the late 17th century before the invention of electricity. With his minute repeater, Quare discovered a way that his clock could tell the time even after sunset. The first minute-repeating wristwatch was produced in the late 19th century, and Ulysse Nardin was one of the earliest manufacturers to fuel its rebirth, making its creations finite and superb, its sound quality sublime.
The formation of the pure sound is an arduous process, with each minute repeater having to be individually tuned by a master watchmaker. Tone is often adjusted by removing a small amount of metal from the gongs, but each time this is done the movement must be re-cased since the sound can only be properly tested when the watch is complete. There is no way around this. Each completed and flawlessly tuned minute repeater that leaves Ulysse Nardin is reflective of a truly massive investment in human endeavor – and one that is assumed with vigor.
The Hannibal Minute Repeater has four gongs, each with a different tone (Mi-Do-Re-Sol), sounding off on the hour when the repeater is activated. The hour sound is Sol and the minute sound is Mi.
All four gongs sound in three different sequences for the quarters:
1st quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol
2nd quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol/Sol-Re-Mi-Do
3rd quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol/Sol-Re-Mi-Do/Mi-Do-Re-Sol
Further complementing the beautiful sound are the Jaquemarts on the dial. Uniquely, they are synchronized with the sound of the gongs and move to the minutes, quarters and hours, or to a combination of these units of time. In life-like form, the four Jaquemarts – Hannibal on his horse, scenes of Hannibal in fighting stance, and Hannibal’s elephant and army – tell the narrative of Hannibal and his eminent achievement. Ulysse Nardin remains among the rare manufacturers in the world to use Jaquemarts on the dial of its wristwatch repeaters.
As Hannibal Barca was innovative in how he strategized to conquer Italy and other areas of southern Europe, Ulysse Nardin is pioneering in how it approaches haute horology. Determined and courageous, the manufacturer marches forward in revolutionizing the industry. It’s only fitting that Ulysse Nardin chose to commemorate such a progressive historical force.