About Ulysse Nardin
About Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin is a watch manufacturer founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. Historically Ulysse Nardin was best known for being a manufacturer of marine chronometers, but today Ulysse Nardin produces complicated mechanical watches.
Founder, watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, was an accomplished watchmaker who studied horology under his father, Leonard-Frederic Nardin, Frederic William Dubois, and Louis Jean Richard-dit-Bressel, in Switzerland.
Before the advent of quartz timepieces, merchant and military ships relied on highly accurate mechanical timepieces known as marine chronometers. The best known of these was the M,GR.F model by Ulysse Nardin. Similar of this model, were used by Hamilton to supply the US Navy and by Seiko for the Japanese navy. Of the 4,504 certificates for marine chronometers issued 4,324 were issued to Ulysse Nardin (Lucien F Trueb, Watchtime).
The Modern Era
In 1983, Ulysse Nardin was acquired by businessman Rolf Schnyder who, in conjunction with watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin, relaunched the brand with other investors. Schnyder, Oechslin and the staff of Ulysse Nardin, design and create complication timepieces using modern materials and manufacturing techniques. The base movement used on all version of complication watches is the ETA. The new ETA 2892 movement, used by Ulysse Nardin in the New collection, is enormously popular because it is deemed accurate and reliable enough to be used as a base movement for many high-end manufacturers' complications. Most changes and updates were done in order to improve the efficiency of the automatic winding. The beat rate has been increased to 28,800 BPH, while the diameter of the movement was reduced from 28mm to 25.6mm to allow it to be used in a wider range of cases. (Hence, the change in model number from 2890 to 2892.) The thickness, however, remains unchanged at 3.6 mm. This has the effect of reducing both the diameter and mass of the oscillating weight that was fixed in the 2892/A2 model. The 9mm diameter balance compromises between weight and size. The first example of Ulysse Nardin's new approach was the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei (1985, named after the device, Astrolabium, and the astronomer, Galileo). The Astrolabium displays local and solar time, the orbits and eclipses of the sun and the moon, and the positions of several major stars. It was named by the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 as the world's most functional watch (with 21 distinct functions). Oechslin followed the Astrolabium with two other astronomical watches, the Planetarium Copernicus (1988, named after the stargazing theaters called planetariums and the astronomer Copernicus) and the Tellurium Johannes Kepler (1992, named after the element tellurium, and astronomer, Johannes Kepler,). The three pieces constitute what the brand calls the Trilogy of Time. Other notable complication watches are the GMT± Perpetual (1999), that combines a perpetual calendar with the GMT± complication (one-press buttons that adjust the hour hand back and forth for international travellers), and the Freak Blue Phantom (2001) a tourbillon watch with no crown and one mechanical hands that cranks along teeth embeded in the inner circumference of the watch face. Ulysse Nardin also revived the use of enameling in watchmaking, with a series of watches featuring enameled and cloisonné faces.
The History of Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin, born in 1823 in Le Locle, Switzerland, was an acomplished watchmaker having first been trained under his father, Leonard-Frederic Nardin and later perfected his skills with two master watchmakers, Frederic William Dubois and Louis JeanRichard-dit-Bressel.
Ulysse Nardin, the company, was founded in 1846 and remained under Ulysse's control until his passing in 1876, when his 21-year old son, Paul-David Nardin took over.
Since the founding of the company, Ulysse Nardin was known for their high-quality and high-accuracy craftsmanship, so much so that they became known worldwide for their Marine Chronometers, the most accurate mechanical clocks ever made, achieving a precision of around a tenth of a second per day.
In exhibitions held at various locations, such as Paris, London, Tokio or Buenos Aires, Ulysse Nardin received a total of:
14 Grands Prix (First Prizes)
the "Prize Medal" (1862 - London International Exhibition)
the "Progress Medal"
10 Gold Medals
2 Prix d'Honneur
2 Silver Medals
Until 1967, one second was defined by the rotation of the earth, and because of this, competitive chronometer watches were calibrated and certified in an astronomical observatory. The Observatoire Cantonal de Neuchtel was the main Swiss observatory where such certifications were done, and in 1975, when the accuracy of mechanical timepieces became irrelevant with the advent of quartz watches, it released a publication regarding the performance of chronometers from 1846 to 1975: of the 4504 certificates awarded in this period, 4324 went to Ulysse Nardin.
In 1983 Ulysse Nardin was purchased by a group headed by Rolf W. Schnyder, its current president. Mr. Schnyder brought in Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, a scientist, inventor, historian and watch-maker extraordinaire with whom they set out to design and develop complicated timepieces that had never before existed. The first example of this was the Astrolabium, introduced in 1985, part of the Trilogy of Time along with the Planetarium Copernicus (1988) and the Tellurium Johannes Kepler (1992).
The Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium, entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 as the most complicated wristwatch ever made with 21 complications, indicates the position of the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky at any given hour as seen from Earth, as well as sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk, moonphases, moonrise and moonset, eclipses of sun and moon, the month and the day of the week.
Ulysse Nardin Models
Ulysse Nardin Complications
Ever since it's birth, Ulysse Nardin has been at the forefront of outstanding developments in horological technique and from the hand of Ludwig Oechslin, Ulysse Nardin has created the most complicated watch in history, the Astrolabium, as well as a whole array of models which cover the extent of horological experience, such as minute repeaters with automatons, tourbillons, as well as the first perpetual calendar in history with bi-directional adjustment of all calendar displays.This collection also features the Freak, a dual escapement beauty with no hands.
Ulysse Nardin GMT+- Big Date
Ulysse Nardin created with this watch a perfect companion for the traveling bussinesman. The master watchmakers at Ulysse Nardin have incorporated into this watch a unique patented design which allows for the hour hand to be adjusted forwards or backwards with the use of two pushbuttons, independent of the minutes or seconds hand. A window display indicates the home time, for easy reading. Ulysse Nardin also offers the GMT+- Big Date in a lady size, with mother of pearl dials in several pastel shades, as well as the added elegance of diamonds.
Ulysse Nardin Macho Palladium 950
With the Macho Palladium Ulysse Nardin introduces a material previously used only in jewelry to the Haute Orlogerie world. Palladium is a material, discovered in 1803, similar to Platinum but slightly whiter, much lighter and about 12% stronger. The movement on this watch also has a distinguishable feature which was first used on a Ulysse Nardin pocket watch in 1912: both the hand on the power reserve indicator and underlying disk move. When the movement is wound the disk rotates counter-clockwise until the largest segment of the scale reaches the power reserve hand. When the watch is not being worn, the power reserve hand rotates counter-clockwise until it reaches the smallest segment of the scale.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Collection
Ulysse Nardin celebrates their history with the Marine collection by producing a whole line of marine chronometers, which gave fame to the company on their early days and are still very priced by enthusiasts and collectors. There is a varied selection of movements, from a perpetual calendar mechanism, power reserve indicator, the chronograph, or the annual calendar with chronograph, and of materials, like stainless steel, pink gold or white gold, all of them notable for their water resistance, accuracy on timekeeping, and fine hand finished surfaces. Ulysse Nardin Lady Marine watches are also available in pink gold and stainless steel, with and without diamonds.
Ulysse Nardin Michelangelo
In 1995 Ulysse Nardin patented the Big Date dual window display, adjustable both forward and backwards, which is now in use in the beautiful tonneau shape of the Ulysse Nardin Michelangelo. There are several other complications available, including a dual time with dual pushers (like the GMT+-), a chronograph, and a uniquely designed perpetual calendar, the Ulysse Nardin Michelangelo Perpetual Ludovico. Ulysse Nardin also offers the Michelangelo in a Lady and Midsize version, utilizing the smooth lines of the tonneau shape to create a very elegant and feminine watch. The Ulysse Nardin Michelangelo lady watch is also available tastefully decorated in pave diamond patterns.
Ulysse Nardin San Marco
At the time of Ulysse Nardin's revival in 1983, it didn't only set out to perpetuate it's many great mechanical achievements, but also to restore the art of enameling, which involves the meticulous process of filling delicate patterns outlined by gold wire with vitreous enamels which are then repeatedly kiln fired layer by layer to achieve the proper consistency and color. It is this rare art that decorates the Ulysse Nardin San Marco collection with famous naval scenes, ships, or renowned historical architecture. The Ulysse Nardin San Marco lady is available in yellow gold or white gold.
Ulysse Nardin Ulysse Collection
The Ulysse Nardin Ulysse 1 watches, technically and aesthetically beautiful, honor the horological pioneer whose name is by now, a legend. They feature the same amazing power reserve indication as the Macho Palladium: both the hand and the underlying disk move. It comes in pink gold and in a limited edition in platinum.