Company profile



Time has been generous to Ulysse Nardin

Since 1846 the company has walked away with 4,300 awards, among which 18 highly coveted gold medals. Despite the temptation to rest on our laurels, to do so would be a betrayal of 150 years of unmatched ingenuity. Challenge has always been part of the Ulysse Nardin philosophy. When a group of friends and I acquired this cornerstone of the Swiss watch industry back in 1983, we were determined to live up to the glories of the Ulysse Nardin name. To do this, we faced the task of preserving a tradition of the finest craftsmanship while augmenting these achievements with today’s technology. A key figure in the evolution of the company is Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, whom I met in Switzerland some 19 years ago. This remarkable individual, who combines lofty scholarship with a practical passion for watchmaking, has the ability to transform radical ideas into the most innovative mechanisms. Taking this many steps further than the hobby it had once been for Ludwig, he helped Ulysse Nardin to stride back into the horological hall of fame with the revolutionary Astrolabium Galileo Galilei. This spirit of innovation was taken two steps further with the Planetarium Copernicus and the Tellurium Johannes Kepler. More than just mechanical watchmaking, this “Trilogy of Time” is rooted in the realm of physical and philosophical research. Ulysse Nardin’s renewed status in its field is a direct consequence of the dedication of Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, our watchmakers and all those associated with the company. The members of our team have added a new chapter to a long and glorious history. Evidence of their virtuosity is to be found in patents accumulated over the past decade, the greatest number in the field of mechanical watchmaking. Some of these patents found their first application in the Perpetual Ludwig, created for the company’s 150th anniversary. In a groundbreaking leap of originality, the date, day, month and year indications on the perpetual calendar can be set backwards and forwards with a single crown. Even the year 2100 needs hold no fear for owners, who will be able to adjust the perpetual calendar instantly with the same crown. To mark the beginning of the new millennium, Ulysse Nardin introduced the GMT± Perpetual, two unique and exclusive timepieces brought together in one watch. The future of Ulysse Nardin is looking as golden as its past, due largely to the enduring support of our staff, agents and retailers. I thank each and every one of them with all my heart. Their faith, loyalty, talent and commitment are essential to us in our quest to redefine the boundaries of mechanical watchmaking and to keep Ulysse Nardin in its pre-eminent position for the next years. Rolf W. Schnyder/President

The chronology of Ulysse Nardin

2008 Launch of Sonata Silicium Limited Edition – material revolution continues. 2007 Launch of the Freak DIAMonSIL® - new patented Dual Ulysse Escapement made out of diamond and silicium. InnoVision – Ulysse Nardin’s vision of the future - 10 technical innovations united in one concept watch. 2006 Launch of the first in-house conceived and executed selfwinding base caliber, UN-160. History in Time Exhibition – Ulysse Nardin celebrates a fabulous and historical event in the Kremlin. 2005 Launch of the Freak 28’800 V/h Diamond Heart – new patented Dual Ulysse Escapement made out of Diamond by means of an innovative process. Launch of the Royal Blue Tourbillon and the Quadrato Dual Time Perpetual. 2004 Launch of the Minute Repeater Circus. Innovation Prize - Watch of the Year 2004 for the Sonata. 2003 The Genghis Khan is awarded with the "Chronos Innovation Prize 2003". Launch of the Sonata – unique and amazing multifunctional mechanical instrument. 2002 Launch of the Genghis Khan - the first ever Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute repeater. 2001 Launch of the Freak – 7 day-tourbillon-carrousel which later in the year wins the "Chronos Innovation Prize 2001". Poetry in watchmaking without hands, without a crown 2000 "Chronos", the German watch magazine awards Ulysse Nardin the Watch of the Year 2000 "Innovation Prize". Both the readers and the international panel of judges voted the GMT Perpetual as the most outstanding technical development. 1999 To mark the beginning of the new millennium, Ulysse Nardin introduces the GMT± Perpetual, two unique and exclusive Ulysse Nardin creations integrated into one watch. 1998 Launch of the single-button chronograph “Pulsometer” to commemorate Ulysse Nardin’s 175th birthday in 1823. 1996 The company’s 150th anniversary is celebrated with the introduction of the Marine Chronometer 1846 as a wristwatch and the revolutionary Perpetual Ludwig named after its creator Dr. Ludwig Oechslin. 1994 At the Basle fair the GMT± intended for frequent travelers is shown. Patent No. CH 685 965. 1993 Launch of the Automaton San Marco “Hourstriker” model and the “Cloisonné” Boat collection. 1992 Completion of the “Trilogy of Time” with the Tellurium Johannes Kepler, as a tribute to the German astronomer. 1989 Production of the first minute-repeating wristwatch with automaton, the San Marco made in a limited edition in gold or platinum, and the split-seconds chronograph Berlin 1988 Launching of the wristwatch Planetarium Copernicus designed to commemorate the Polish astronomer. 1985 Launching of the watch Astrolabium Galileo Galilei. Named after the great physicist, astronomer and humanist. Ulysse Nardin resumes its successful path, and also gains an entry in the Guinness Book of Records in February 1989. 1983 A group headed by Rolf W. Schnyder takes over the company. 1975 Neuchâtel Observatory releases its last official publication concerning the performance of chronometers covering the period from 1846 to 1975. According to this report Ulysse Nardin obtained 4324 certificates of performance for mechanical marine chronometers out of a total of 4504 awarded, i.e. 95%, 2411 special prizes out of which 1069 were First Prizes.Ulysse Nardin also obtained 747 First Prizes in the categories deck watch, pocket chronometer and wristwatch.At various International Exhibitions Ulysse Nardin and his successors obtained: 14 Grands Prix (First Prizes), the “Prize Medal” and the “Progress Medal”, 10 Gold Medals, 2 Prix d’Honneur, 2 Silver Medals. 1964 At the Swiss National Exhibition in Lausanne, Ulysse Nardin SA obtains the only “Prix d’Honneur” for the “Sun-star” deck watch. 1950 At the Neuchâtel Observatory with a chronometer adjusted by Louis Augsburger, the Nardin company breaks all records for chronometer performances since 1901. 1939 First Prizes in the International Exhibitions of Barcelona, Zürich and New York for Nardin chronometers. Each was awarded with a Gold Medal. 1935 A new 24" split-seconds pocket chronograph beating tenths of a second is introduced. Useful for sports timing, numerous Prizes and Gold Medals attest to its success. 1923 At the Observatory of Neuchâtel in an International Chronometer Competition organized to mark the centenary of the death of Abraham-Louis Breguet, Ernest Nardin carries off the only First Prize. 1922 At the US Naval Observatory trials Nardin marine chronometers take the first three places and have eight instruments in the first fourteen. First Prize in the Tokyo International Exhibition. 1916 Ulysse Nardin produces a new movement. Its small dimension 13" allows it to be used in pocket or wristwatches. 1915 At the Naval Observatory, Washington DC, Ulysse Nardin takes first place among 60 marine chronometers entered. In the same trial the company takes three of the first five places among 217 deck watches entered. 1911 Paul-David takes out his third Swiss patent (No. 54714, January 21) for a perfected control mechanism for the timing-wheel in chronographic timers. The purpose of this invention was to eliminate the uncontrolled leap of the chronograph-wheel which could provoke errors difficult to detect. 1910 At the Buenos-Aires Centenary Universal Exhibition, Ulysse Nardin is awarded First Prize and a Gold Medal. 1908 At the Tokyo International Exhibition the Mikado and the Crown Prince purchase three Nardin pocket chronometers. 1906 First Prize and Gold Medal at the Milan International Exhibition. At the Naval Observatory, Washington, DC, USA, Nardin chronometers take the first seven places. A Nardin chronometer breaks all performance records in the Hamburg Observatory trials. 1904 Marine chronometers are supplied to both the Russian and the Japanese admiralties. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the Imperial Government of Japan increases its orders and becomes one of the company’s principal customers. 1900 As of this date, nine pocket chronometers fitted with tourbillon escapements were made by Paul-David Nardin. 1893 First Prize at the Chicago Universal Exhibition. A remarkable chronometer in a gold and silver decorated case with a relief-engraved allegory of the Arts and Sciences is shown. Gold Medal in the category “Marine and pocket chronometers”. 1890 December 20, two Swiss patents are awarded, one is for a mechanism for chronometers which permits daily winding without reversing the bowl. This system would be applied to the cylindrical aluminium cases launched from about 1893 onwards. 1878 Paul-David Nardin obtains a Gold Medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition for his pocket and marine chronometers. 1876 February 20, death of Ulysse Nardin, probably from a heart attack at the age of 53. The 21-year old Paul-David takes over control of the company. 1865 The company moves to its present premises at 3 rue du Jardin. 1862 At the London International Exhibition, the company receives the highest award, “The Prize Medal” in the category “Complicated watches, pocket chronometers”. The award puts Ulysse in the lead internationally among pocket chronometer makers. 1860 Ulysse acquires a high-precision astronomical regulator to rate his pocket chronometers. This is the well-known regulator constructed by Jacques-Frédéric Houriet in about 1768. It is now in the Château des Monts, Le Locle. First exports to the USA. Minute repeaters, highly complicated watches, and pocket chronometers carry the reputation of the maker in Le Locle far and wide. 1846 The ULYSSE NARDIN company is founded. It is the beginning of an enterprise that has already lasted more than 155 years. The first watches made are exported to Central and South America through a Paris go-between, Lucien Dubois, who was Nardin’s only customer for two years. 1823 Ulysse Nardin was born on 22 January at Le Locle. After initial training by his father, Léonard-Frédéric, he is sent to William Dubois, considered to be one of the leading precision watchmakers of his days.

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