Ulysse Nardin. A yellow gold "Astrolabium" wristwatch.
Lot 159
Ulysse Nardin. A fine gold automatic wrist watch incorporating a planispheric astrolabe Galileo Galilei, Astrolabium, Ref:991-22, No. 050
Sold for US$ 27,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
Ulysse Nardin. A fine gold automatic wrist watch incorporating a planispheric astrolabe
Galileo Galilei, Astrolabium, Ref:991-22, No. 050
33-jewel finely engraved Cal. UN 97 self winding movement with a rotor pierced and engraved with anchor logo, shock resistant suspension to monometallic balance, the two plate dial consisting of a silvered three tone fixed planisphere of celestial coordinates, beneath a rotating transparent rete labeled with the position of numerous bright stars with the ecliptic shown in gold all within a gold annual calendar ring, together representing the annual path of the Sun (Zodiac)against the background stars, gilt Solar hand marking the annual change of meridian height of the Sun, silvered Lunar hand indicating age and aspect of the Moon, blued Dragon hand predicting eclipses, luminous hour and minute hands, within a gold case with glazed back secured by four screws, convex bezel engraved with roman I – XII numerals and arabic 13-24 numerals, molded lugs, maker's leather strap and gold buckle, together with a brass bound mahogany winding box within a leather belted mahogany deck box, case, dial and movement signed. 40mm

Footnotes

  • The origin of the astrolabe is lost in antiquity, but it was possibly a Greek invention of the 2nd century BC. It was developed by Persian and Arabic astronomers and was widely used by the 9th century AD. The oldest surviving instruments date from the Middle Ages and were made throughout the Renaissance in Europe. The astrolabe remained an important tool of Islamic astronomy well into the 19th century.

    In simplest terms, the astrolabe is a map of the Heavens projected on a flat surface. It consists of a fixed plate engraved with a set of coordinates specific for a given latitude. Over this is a pierced rotating plate known as the rete which marks the position of prominent stars as well as the annual progress of the sun through the signs of the Zodiac. By moving the rete, the positions of the stars for any given date can be set.

    German clockmakers had placed astrolabes on the dials of clock by the mid 16th century so that a continuously changing view of the night sky could be reproduced. The concept of a "Clockwork Universe" began with these early attempts to animate celestial phenomena. The present watch continues this tradition by employing modern technology to reproduce the masterpieces of Renaissance clock making.
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