http://www.thewatchbox.com The new-for-2007 Ulysse Nardin Macho Palladium 950 was a departure even by the outré standards of Ulysse Nardin. Composed entirely of 95% pure palladium, an exotic precious metal, the “Macho” represented the first watch to be serially manufactured in this extravagant material. A member of the platinum group of metals, palladium retains the blinding white sheen, immunity to tarnish, and hypoallergenic qualities of the famed “king of precious metals.” Unlike most white gold used in the luxury watch industry, palladium does not require periodic rhodium re-plating; most white gold is a milky yellow substance coated with rhodium. Tech aside, how does the Macho Palladium 950‘s high-class mass feel on the wrist? Like money. Lots of it. Eyes closed, this Ulysse Nardin wears like a hardcore precious metal “power watch.” More than a palladium case, the Macho Palladium 950 is a solid ring of its namesake metal: case, bracelet, and clasp. The watchmaker’s treatment of the material is more than a novelty; UN positively glorifies the palladium with a complex contrasting pattern of finishes. A mass of white metal this epic might become monolithic and overbearing in the hands of a less nuanced sensibility than Ulysse Nardin‘s. But the company that somehow pulled off the otherworldly 2001 Freak is an old hand at managing excess. Consider the Macho’s bracelet as “exhibit A.” From flank to flank, the three-link design alternates between brushed shoulders, polished outer link, brushed inner link, polished outer, and brushed flank; the entire interior facet of the bracelet is brushed. A double-deployant clasp of matching material completes the Macho Palladium‘s aesthetically and ergonomically stellar binding. Macho Palladium 950 dark dials are the ultimate option for visual impact. The original UN 160 featured a delicate blue metallic arrangement with Geneva waves, but the Macho packs a punch worthy of its name. The polished palladium bezel envelops a black lacquered outer dial with applied indexes; a step in the dial descends to an inner metallic blue plate with soleil burst radiating from the center. A charmingly quirky “railroad” minute track acts as a partition between the inner and outer steps of this multi-layer arrangement. Macho‘s magnified date window and silver small seconds dial at six o’clock provide the lower anchor of a vertical axis capped by the power reserve dial at 12 o’clock. The use of these vertically stacked elements provides a visual counterpoint to the horizontal run of the oblong case. Again, UN knows nuance, and it shows. In addition to its aesthetic role in the dial composition, the power reserve gauge of the Macho Palladium 950 embodies elements of heritage design and mechanical novelty. Ulysse Nardin herein resurrects a complication first fitted to a 1912 pocket watch; both the gauge hand and the disc bearing the reserve calibration move independently. When the watch is wound, the calibrated disc advances. The needle recedes as the movement discharges. The Macho Palladium 950 is available from thewatchbox.com in this choice configuration. This example presents in showroom condition and sports a full suite of Ulysse Nardin factory equipment: boxes, manuals, and documentation. Video and content by Tim Mosso.