There’s a torrid history of erotica in watch design. From graphic automatons on dials to hidden (or obvious) hyper-sexual imagery, the time-telling industry has toyed with sexual iconography for centuries. Last year, at Richemont‘s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH), acclaimed watchmaker Ulysse Nardin unveiled an orgiastic Jaquemart repeater—or a timepiece featuring a mechanical animation that chimes. It was NSFW to say the least. This year, at SIHH, they’ve partnered with Italian comic book artist Milo Manara and the result is 10 erotic pieces that tell a love story that’s set on the high seas.
The 10 unique pieces, each made in an edition of 10 in both rose gold and stainless steel (thus, 200 watches total), of the Classico Manara series feature dials that have been hand-painted with a brush no thicker than an eyelash. Some 50 hours of work goes into the painting of one watch—and each is signed. The miniature tale they portray is one of a woman sailor named Ulyssa and a mermaid named Nadia finding and consummating their love. When laid side-by-side, the paintings in the watch dials can be read as a narrative in many directions.
Further, each 40mm watch is accompanied by an original, numbered and signed Manara print. There’s a vibrancy to the characters, the landscape they find themselves in and the roving shark featured in some works—especially at the scale within the watch face. It’s a feat, and an erotic one at that. And, of course, there’s the Ulysse Nardin technical prowess, meaning the watches are powered by a UN-320 self-winding movement.
In the Classico Manara collection, the stainless steel pieces will sell for $26,900 and the rose gold for $34,400.
Video and images courtesy of Ulysse Nardin