UFO might be a table or desk clock, but it is so many other things besides. It’s a swinging mechanical depiction of the movement of the waves. The secret of the balance is its blue half-spherical aluminum base, which 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.
It isn’t just the UFO’s movement that is inspired by the ocean, the architecture is too. The bell under which this incredible creation is housed suggests floating black and yellow cardinal buoys.
For this table clock, Ulysse Nardin collaborated with the celebrated clockmaker Maison L’Epée, who has been manufacturing traditional clocks since 1839. Also, Ulysse Nardin cooperated with Verre et Quartz, a technical glass-blowing workshop located on the shores of Switzerland’s Lake Neuchâtel to manufacture each blown 3mm-thick tube.
Weighing 7.2kg, the UFO swings up to 60° from its axis – an amplitude of 120 degrees. The center of the gravity/mass/inertia ratio was accurately calculated in order to allow UFO to swing neither too fast nor too slowly and without significantly affecting the operation of the balance.
Comprising 675 components, a dead-beat second and with one year of power reserve supplied by its six extra-large barrels and a balance wheel rim that reaches the spectacular diameter of 49 mm, UFO displays the time on three trapezoidal dials, which allow the owner to display three different time zones at once, seen from three different angles.
The XXL brass balance wheel beats at 0.5 Hz and the objective is twofold: to maintain a one year power reserve never before offered and to make the movement of the object like a meditation, with one alternation (half oscillation) per second.
UFO comes in a wood treasure chest aged as if it been discovered washed up on a beach. Inside, you will also find its operating instructions, its warranty card and a special place for its winding key. It takes 40 wind-up turns with a square-end stainless steel key to wind up the mechanism for one year. Each dial has its wind-up notch, which is also used to the set the time (four notches in total, one for winding up and one for each time zone wound up using a single key).