It’s a Close Encounter of the Horological Kind with the New UFO Clocks from Ulysse Nardin

Eagle-eyed watch and horology enthusiasts are experiencing a close encounter of the third kind as Ulysse Nardin has dropped three new versions of its avant-garde UFO (Unidentified Floating Object) marine chronometer table clock. Based on the original UFO from 2021, the trio of new colors celebrates Ulysse Nardin’s special relationship with three famed retailers: Swiss-based Bucherer (Ice Blue), Japanese retailer Yoshida (Green), and The Hour Glass (Champagne) in Southeast Asia. The clocks are limited to 30 in each color and are available exclusively through these retailers.


Ulysse Nardin commemorated its 175th anniversary back in the spring of 2021 by introducing the first series of UFOs in a batch of 75 examples in dark blue. All sold out quickly. In the fall of that year, at Only Watch, a unique one-off in orange hammered for an eye-watering CHF 380,000. Clearly, there was interest in this unapologetically futuristic take on the marine chronometer – once a crucial tool in navigation at sea and the pinnacle of precision timekeeping. Ulysse Nardin claims this is the fruit of two years of research and development in partnership with L’Épée, whom you may recognize as past collaborators with MB&F. A closer look at the UFO reveals a product that builds on UN’s history as masters of the marine chronometer while pushing the boundaries of design and engineering.

Aesthetically, the UFO is like a JLC Atmos clock that decided to let loose: the half-sphere base houses a tungsten weight calibrated to allow the entire body to wobble and yet remain upright, while the glass dome is meticulously hand-blown to exacting proportions. Mechanically, the UFO is wound by a key and has a power reserve of one year thanks to six extra large barrels and a conservative frequency of 0.5hz (1 oscillation per second). The deadbeat seconds feature is most easily observed via the balance wheel, which sits atop the central axis. And in case you doubted the UFO’s practicality, the three trapezoidal dials can be independently set.

Philosophically, the Ulysse Nardin Unidentified Floating Object is exactly what makes UN unique as a watchmaker today. As a major force in manufacturing marine chronometers in the 20th century, Ulysse Nardin is infusing this somewhat archaic product with its playful, contemporary design and modernizing it for today’s audience. Much like how chronometers of yesteryear were gimballed to keep them level to the horizon (thereby countering the effects of a ship’s rocking), these perform their own balancing act in a fun way. What’s most charming about these new clocks is that they aren’t designed merely to be admired or observed; they invite and encourage interaction and bring a sense of whimsy to their lucky owners. While obviously a niche product with a limited run, these UFOs remind us that in creative timekeeping, the sky – or is it space? – is the limit. Ulysse Nardin

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