At the time of the company’s resurgence, Ulysse Nardin decided to combine the production of great mechanical timepieces with restoration of the lost art of enamelling. This refined decorative technique lends a very unique appearance to the dials. The process of enamelling can be traced back to Gallo-Roman times. Enamel is a glass comprising silica, red lead and potash. In the glazing process, stabilizing elements [lime or magnesium] are combined with the main ingredient silica, to which fluxes [potassium, sodium] are added to lower the melting point. Different colors are created by using different metallic oxides.
A variety of colors and tones [opaque, transparent or translucent] are derived from the proportions in which the elements are mixed in order to get amalgams, the composition of which is often a secret. Through the ages this technique has been well-used in watch making (primarily for high-end watches) thus enhancing their desirability by collectors. The art was practiced by a highly restricted circle of skilled craftsmen.
Today, the special blue dial of the Classico represents Ulysse Nardin’s unique signature (often referred to as Ulysse Nardin Blue). The beauty of these dials is by no means a chance happening – the mastery of enamelling depends upon both the personal sensitivity and daily practice of the artist. The technique of enamelling and the resulting unique dials represent wearable art.