Much like wristwatches, mechanical clocks are rather obsolete thanks to smartphones, smartwatches, battery-powered clocks, and ubiquitous digital clocks seen everywhere from microwaves to computers.
Regardless, time-telling innovations, such as quartz and smartwatches, have not stopped watchmakers from creating mechanical watches, and consumers from buying them. Mechanical clocks, however, have far less demand than wristwatches, meaning that most watchmaking companies invest very little resources in clockmaking. So when a cool new mechanical clock is released, it’s rare.
Introducing the Ulysse Nardin UFO Table Clock. The UFO Table Clock displays three time zones via three dedicated independent trapezoidal dials that show hours and minutes. Plus, situated just below the massive 49 mm brass balance wheel, there’s a central deadbeat seconds display (that ticks like a quartz watch despite being mechanical), that can be viewed by looking down from the top of the clock.
Functionally, three-time zones and a deadbeat seconds display, are quite remarkable. Perhaps the best feature, though, is that after winding the clock 40-times, with the included steel winding key, the clock will have enough power to run unattended for an entire year. This is incredible and unprecedented. The massive power reserve requires mainspring power barrels to store it all. There’s even a horizontal mounted power reserve indicator in the middle of the clock to keep you aware of how much power is remaining.
Interestingly, the entire 263 mm x 159 mm, 675 component, 15.87-pound clock gently swings, as the oversized balance wheel oscillates to and fro at a very slow rate of 0.5Hz. The rate is a crucial element to achieving a one-year power reserve, plus it makes watching the balance wheel very mesmerizing. To balance the clock, and prevent damage to the mechanics and the hand-blown aluminum and glass case, the blue half-spherical base contains a tungsten mass. The base and glass bell are joined by a bayonet mounting system, which looks similar to the old systems of marine chronometers from which the glass could be unscrewed.
According to Ulysse Nardin, “Whereas marine chronometers were housed in wooden boxes and set on gimbals to counteract the effect of the ship’s constant sway, Ulysse Nardin reverses this. Here it is the object itself that makes waves when it is nudged gently. Weighing 7.2kg, the UFO swings up to 60° from its axis – an amplitude of 120 degrees – and the engineers have accurately calculated the center of the gravity/mass/inertia ratio, which allows UFO to swing neither too fast nor too slowly and without significantly affecting the operation of the balance.”
Ulysse Nardin’s UFO Table Clock comes in a wood treasure chest aged as if it has been out at sea for years. In addition to the key to wind the clock, each dial has its wind-up notch, which is also used to set the time (four notches in total, one for winding up and one for each time zone wound up using a single key).
The UFO Table Clock (Ref. 9023-900LE-3A-BLUE) is limited to 75 pieces and the retail price will be $41,100.