|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
|Headquarters||Le Locle Switzerland|
|Products||Wristwatches, Writing Instruments & Accessories|
Ulysse Nardin is a watch manufacturer founded in 1846, in Le Locle, Switzerland. It is one of the few companies that has remained in continuous production for over 169 years. Ulysse Nardin has operated out of the same building headquartered in Le Locle, Switzerland since 1865. Historically, the company is best known for its manufacture of highly accurate marine chronometers supplied at one point during the 1800s to over fifty of the worlds navies. The company has been bought by Kering in July 2014.
Founded in 1846, Ulysse Nardin was named after its founder, Ulysse Nardin, an accomplished watchmaker. Nardin first trained in horology under his father, Leonard-Frederic Nardin, and perfected his skills under the tutelage of Frederic William Dubois and Louis JeanRichard-dit-Bressel, two master watchmakers whose fame extended beyond the mountains of Neuchatel, Switzerland.
In its 169 years of history, Ulysse Nardin had been widely respected as a specialist in marine chronometers. Among the most reliable and accurate ever made, Ulysse Nardin’s marine chronometers have seen service with the navies of some 50 countries during the mid-1800s. It's consistent excellence has also been recognized by the award of 18 international gold medals and 4,300 first prizes in chronometrics.
Innovation & Science
In 1983, the company was acquired by businessman Rolf Schnyder who, in conjunction with watchmaker Prof. Ludwig Oechslin, relaunched the brand. Schnyder and Oechslin, going against the mainstream current of Swiss watchmaking would combine both science and innovation to give flight to a new pursuit: to produce ground breaking complication timepieces using modern materials and manufacturing techniques.
Today, Ulysse Nardin continues these traditions to develop and produce specialized timepiece of the highest technical level in limited quantity. Under the direction of CEO Patrik P. Hoffmann, the company continues in its innovative spirit after the passing of its late president.
In 2014, Ulysse Nardin’s brilliance was advanced through its acquisition by the Kering Goup. Hoffmann led the management team through a sound transition. Now, in the fold of Kering’s Luxury Watches and Jewelry portfolio, Ulysse Nardin continues on its steady course of ingenuity, as well as independence in the manufacturing of in-house movements.
Chronology of Innovation
Trilogy of Time
The first advancement of the company was the "Trilogy of Time". This collection incorporated three different astrological pieces starting in 1985 with the release of the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei. 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). Dr. Oechslin then followed the Astrolabium up with two other astronomical watches: in 1988 the Planetarium Copernicus (named after the stargazing theaters called planetariums and of astronomer Copernicus) and in 1992 the Tellurium Johannes Kepler (named after the element tellurium and astronomer Johannes Kepler).
GMT± Perpetual (1999)
In 1996, Ulysse Nardin launched the first Perpetual Calendar, which allowed forward and backward adjustment of all calendar functions over a single crown. In 1999 this calendar was coupled with the GMT± complication (one-press buttons that adjust the hour hand back and forth for international travelers) creating the GMT± Perpetual. The El Toro is the newest release to the collection.
The Freak (2001)
The Freak Blue Phantom boasted an impressive 7-day power reserve with a carrousel tourbillon. In addition to powering the watch, the movement served double duty by rotating 360 degrees to keep track of hours and minutes and also debuted the Dual Indirect Escapement, which was constructed from silicon and thus minimized the need for lubrication. This was later followed up with the Freak Diavolo with 8-day power reserve, a flying seconds tourbillon and Silicium technology.
The Genghis Khan (2002)
Launch of the Genghis Khan, a westminster carillon tourbillon jaquemarts minute repeater. In 2003 the Genghis won the Innovation Prize - Watch of the year. The Genghis was later followed up in 2011 with the debut of the Alexander the Great. The Westminster has four gongs, each with a different tone (Mi-Do-Re-Sol). When the repeater is activated, the hour sound is Sol and the minute sound is Mi. All four gongs sound in three different sequences for the quarters. The movements of the Jaquemarts are synchronized with the sound of the gongs.
The Sonata is based on the technical movement and features novel alarm setting with a countdown indicator and the patented dual time system with the instant time zone adjuster featured in many Ulysse Nardin watches. The melodic chiming of the Alarm is based on a novel 24-hours mechanism which allows setting the Alarm 24 hours ahead, i.e. for 7.35 pm the same day or 7.35 am the next day.
Dr. Ludwig Oechslin’s concept for the Moonstruck focuses on the system of Sun, Earth, and Moon, concentrating on the scientifically accurate depiction of the moon phase and the global influence of lunar and solar gravitation, which results in tidal movements. The Moonstruck simulates the rotation of the Moon around the Earth, as well as the apparent movement of Sun around the globe. The latter is shown by another disc, rotating once every 24 hours. This permits the determination of the current moon phase in relation to any location on Earth.
The Stranger (2013)
The Stranger features an in-house developed musical mechanical watch utilizing a silicium based technology from the UN-690 movement. The Stranger is the first in a series of limited edition timepieces that plays the melody “Strangers in the Night” — the legendary song made in 1966.
Dual Time Manufacture, Anchor Escapement, Kering Group (2014)
Launch of the in-house developed and manufactured movement of the iconic Dual Time Collection. Launch of the revolutionary Ulysse Anchor Escapement based on flexible mechanism using the elasticity of materials. This September month heralds a new era for Ulysse Nardin who joined Kering’s “Luxury – Watches and Jewellery” division. Through this acquisition, Kering will support the continuation of Ulysse Nardin’s path of innovation and ensure the future growth of independence in the manufacture of in-house movements.