Ulysse Nardin is known to the world as one of the best Swiss luxury watchmakers. In the same sentiment, that is how many audiophiles feel about Devialet, known for its high-end speakers and amplifiers. It’s rare to see luxury watch brands collaborating outside of its circle, but that is what Ulysse Nardin and Devialet did to create the Hourstriker Phantom.
It’s highly limited to only 85 worldwide, which is the result of putting the R&D departments of both brands together. However, this partnership is more than just putting its namesakes on a watch. One of Devialet’s founders, Emmanuel Nardin, happens to be a descendant of the Ulysse Nardin family.
Both Ulysse Nardin and Devialet are known for creating a specific product respectively; Ulysse Nardin has its Freak series of luxury timepieces while Devialet has The Phantom. The latter provides the perfect listening experience with more than 160 patented technologies.
Through this, Devialet has been able to replicate the perfect sound into the Hourstriker Phantom while Ulysse Nardin handles the Horlogerie aspect. It is the perfect striking watch, chiming on the hour and half-hour mark. Not only does it allow you to tell time, but you can also now hear it as well.
But what is the purpose of a striking watch? Well, before the invention of electric lighting, striking watches were created for the sole purpose of being able to tell the time in the dark. With the help of Rolf Schnyder (the man who brought back Ulysse Nardin from the Quartz Crisis), the watchmaker was one of the first to breath new life into striking watches.
The Hourstriker Phantom comes with its unique mechanism for emitting sound. Instead of requiring a hammer to hit the timbre to create sound frequencies, the heel of the timbre within the Hourstriker Phantom is fixed to a system of torsion arms that changes the direction of the action forces induced by the timbre’s vibrations.
This allows the action forces to find its way out of the watch and vigorously transferred using a transmission arm to a thin membrane. It has a large surface area and can be found at the bottom of the watch, which then allows a large amount of air to be displaced. This results in a loud pitch, telling you what time it is.
At the bottom is also where you can find the UN-610 automatic manufacture movement. Back on the front sits its 43mm polished titanium case, which assists in extending its resonance to 85db. On the face, you will find a satin-brushed anthracite dial. Its design mimics the Devialet Phantom’s protective net placed over the tweeter, which was inspired by Chladni’s figures to form the materialisation of vibratory waves.
Its hands and Arabic numeral indexes glisten in rose gold whilst tilting outwards in a single file, much like a navy compass. At the 3 o’clock marker resides a small rose gold chip, which will appear on command when you want to activate the striking mechanism. If you want it turned off, the rose gold chip marker goes away.
At only 72,500 CHF (approx. RM307,000), the Hourstriker Phantom is one of the most affordable striking watches in the market. Its also limited to just 85 pieces, which evoke the 85db it reaches with extreme ease.