Ulysse Nardin’s high-tech perpetual calendar complication is legendary in watch making circles around the world and has featured in many of their timepieces. This latest model, to be formally announced at Basel World this year, comes equipped with a dual time function and in-house developed and manufactured self-winding movement. Yes, the El Toro seems to have it all when it comes to technical competence, however, sadly it leaves a lot to be desired in the aesthetics department.
Poor Design but…
Described by Ulysse Nardin as “a powerful timepiece for everyday use”, it is certainly undeniable that the El Toro is fully of useful functions. These include; a perpetual calendar which is adjustable via just the one crown; 2nd time zone indication on the main dial with a patented quick setting mechanism; permanent home time indicated by 3rd hand and of course the big date in a double window at 3 o’clock.
Whilst on the one hand this information may be considered useful for day to day wear, it also has the unfortunate side effect of making the dial appear very cluttered. There are hands, and numbers and windows everywhere! Add to that a poor choice of color schemes and you have yourself what is really quite an unattractive piece.
Certainly this is not the worst looking piece we’ve seen but it is surprising to see something like this coming from Ulysse Nardin, a brand that typically produces more refined pieces which still incorporate strong technical credentials.
Perhaps the brand is trying a little too hard to stand out?
…Strong Technical Qualifications
Aesthetics aside, however, it is difficult to fault this piece’s mechanical aptitude. The COSC certified movement incorporates the only perpetual calendar that is capable of adjusting forwards and backward in seconds using the quick corrector position of the single crown. As an added feature the date, the day, the month and the year change instantly forward or backward when the hour hand is moved to a new local time which crosses the dateline.
What’s even more cool is that the hour hand can be adjusted instantly to the new local time by using the pushers located at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock respectively. This means you don’t even need to take the watch of your wrist when you enter a new time zone!
The 43mm case is available in a choice of either 18 ct red gold or platinum, with a ceramic bezel and is presented on your choice of a rubber strap with titanium/ceramic deployant clasp or a leather strap with folding buckle.
The Final Word
Technically this piece is exceptional. It incorporates a number of useful indications, including Ulysse Nardin’s highly regarded perpetual calendar complication not to the mention the ability to change the 2nd timezone with ease. Unfortunately, however, it has not come together very well in the design department and to be honest really leaves a lot to be desired from a watch that has been created to wear everyday.
Yes, the indications are useful, but they would be even more useful if you could bear looking at the dial long enough to decipher them.