The plummeting price of oil didn’t deter Ulysse Nardin from launching a very special timepiece that honours the petroleum industry. The the enamel dial of the Hourstriker Oil Pump is adorned and delicately hand-engraved in gold.
The timekeepers appear even more lifelike, for the arms of the oil pumps are Jaquemarts. A Jaquemart is an automaton, an animated, mechanized figure of a person, which strikes the hours on a bell with a hammer. They are usually seen on clocks or clocktowers. While the origin of the word is disputed, in English it also known as Jack of the clock or Jack o’Clock.
On the Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Oil Pump, these animated figures move up and down in concert with the sound of a gong striking the hours – on the hour and on request. The oil pumps move in sync with the hammer hitting the gong. Although a very complex mechanism, the Hourstriker is simple for its wearers to function. The striking mechanism can be activated or deactivated by simply pressing pusher one. When the striking indicator is pointing towards the hour glass (on the left), the striking is deactivated; if aimed towards the point, the striking mechanism is activated. One of the earliest manufacturers to lead the rebirth of the striking mechanism, Ulysse Nardin also remains among the rare watchmakers to use Jaquemarts.
Equally exclusive is Ulysse Nardin’s masterful hand in the art of enameling, a discipline deeply valued by the manufacturer and its collectors. For this piece, Ulysse Nardin went even further, adding the challenging technique of hand engraving.
As a first step, the highly specialized engraver handcrafts the form of the gold plate, defining the thickness of the cells and shaping the lifelike pictures. Then, the master enameler fulfills the enameling process using genuine black enamel. In this method, cavities in a thick metal surface are formed, filled with moist powdered enamel and fired until it melts. When the surface cools, it is sanded by hand to remove excess enamel and polished to allow its true brilliance to break through. The plate is then returned to the engraver for their expert finishing touch. At the end of this laborious practice, oil pumps, pipes, buildings and landscapes appear to come to life.
Power-Reserve: approximately 42 hours
Functions: Hourstriker, Striking of hours and half hours, Automatic chime activation system, Animated Jaquemart in 18ct gold
18ct rose gold or platinum
Diameter: 42 mm
Water-resistance: 30 m
Dial: Black enamel
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case-back: Screwed case-back with sapphire crystal
Leather strap, with folding buckle