Cigar Aficionado

Ulysse Nardin Executive Dual Time

This traditional watch company hailing from the heart of the Swiss Jura has the exceptional and enviable position of being known for two different characteristics. One is its penchant for groundbreaking technology, which the company tends to show off at least once a year in the form of an exotic, exceptional, forward-thinking timepiece. The other is its propensity for ultra-traditional watchmaking—which is a no-brainer since this company, founded in 1846, is rooted in the marine chronometers Ulysse Nardin made his name with—ultra-precise instruments used by sailors for navigation.

In 1994, Ulysse Nardin again proved its technical prowess with the first automatic dual-time-zone movement that could be easily set both forward and backward. To those unfamiliar with watch technology this mightn't seem such a big deal, but mechanical movements can be delicate, particularly when ultra-sensitive gears are turned the wrong way. Until then, such ease in setting a second time zone had not been the order of the day. Additionally, the watch's second time zone-located in a little window positioned at 9 o'clock- could be set simply by pushing a button. Ulysse Nardin dual-time-zone watches operate with unobtrusive pushers located on the left side of the case to control the setting function. The upper one moves the second time zone forward in one-hour increments (pushing the button once makes the hand jump ahead by one hour), while the lower one moves the second time zone back in one-hour increments.

This function graces a number of the brand's watches, including the contemporarily designed Executive Dual Time, with its man-sized case (43 millimeters in diameter) available in two versions-stainless steel ($8,400) and 18-karat rose gold ($21,300)-each with a ceramic bezel. Its refreshing dial is dominated by oversized Roman numerals available in three color schemes. In addition to the time and second time zone, the Executive displays a large double-digit date at 2 o'clock and small seconds at 6 o'clock.

These displays are powered by an automatic Swiss movement. This watch is fully water-resistant to 100 meters, which means it can be immersed in water for extended periods (like swimming or bathing, but not diving). It comes on a choice of black alligator skin or a trendy rubber strap.