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Ulysse Nardin Watches

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Ulysse Nardin: Inspired by precision and perfection

Founded in 1846, the Ulysse Nardin manufacture is conscious of its origins. Even after the quartz crisis, the watchmaker was able to successfully demonstrate its claim to perfection and innovative spirit. Ulysse Nardin watches are sophisticated complication timepieces with a classic design that is highly regarded by watch lovers around the world.

  • Just a few years after the brand was founded in 1846, watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin was already known for its sophisticated, feature-packed pocket watches and its ship chronometer.

  • In 1983, investor Rolf W. Schnyder bought the company, which had fallen on hard times due to the quartz crisis, and helped Ulysse Nardin back to the pinnacle of the Swiss watch industry.

  • The meaningfully named Marine collection takes its inspiration from the marine chronometers that Ulysse Nardin is internationally famous for.

  • The Ulysse Nardin Freak, launched in 2001, is considered the first watch in history to use silicone in the balance wheel.

The story of Ulysse Nardin Watches


Ulysse Nardin, the son of watchmaker Léonard Frédéric Nardin, was born in 1823. He followed in his father's footsteps and learned the family craft from an early age. In 1846, he opened his own watch manufacture (which still bears the name of its founder) in his hometown of Le Locle, Switzerland. The company owes much to Nardin’s talent; a talent that produced a series of sophisticated, award-winning pocket watches that brought many prizes to the house.

After Nardin's sudden death in 1876, his son Paul David Nardin - who wasn’t even 20 years old at the time – took over the management of the family business. Ulysse Nardin became an internationally known manufacturer, renowned for its high-precision pocket watches and ship chronometers. For example, the Russian Ministry of War was a customer of Ulysse Nardin watches.

At the start of the 20th century, the company turned to wristwatch production and was also highly successful in this area. In 1936, for the occasion of the Summer Olympics, Ulysse Nardin launched a special men's watch made of stainless steel with a chronograph function and automatic winding – something of a novelty at that time.

Since 1983

A new start for traditional company Ulysse Nardin

The quartz crisis did not stop at Ulysse Nardin watches. While many manufacturers began to manufacture Qaur watches, Ulysse Nardin stayed with traditional mechanical watches and initially hit a dead end. In 1983, rescue came in the form of the Swiss entrepreneur Rolf W. Schnyder. The watch enthusiast recognised the potential of the centuries-old manufacturer and took over the company.

Within a few years, Schnyder, with the support of his partner, watch designer Ludwig Oechslin, succeeded in repositioning Ulysse Nardin watches on the market. Today, Ulysse Nardin is, once again, one of the leading manufacturers of Swiss luxury watches. The brand has regained its place at the peak of the watch industry and successfully proved its savoir-faire.

From Marine to Classico

Ulysse Nardin collections

Ulysse Nardin's watch collections are grouped into four pillars. Each of these pillars, or sections, represents a different facet of the versatile watch manufacturer and includes numerous noble and well-known models. The Marine collection is probably the manufacturer's most famous series. It draws on the legacy of Ulysse Nardin and revives the wrist chronograph. The brand has always been closely associated with nautical science, and this tradition is brilliantly celebrated by Ulysse Nardine Marine watches. The collection includes emblematic watch models such as the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Manufacture, the Ulysse Nardine Marine Diver and the Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver.

As the name suggests, the Functional series focuses on the functionality of the watches. The models here are called Perpetual Calendar, Dual Time or Sonata and they have a host of exciting complications to thrill watch lovers.

Ulysse Nardin's Exceptional family includes the iconic Trilogy of Time series. This series marked a turning point in the history of Ulysse Nardin Watches and heralded a new era for the company. The collection also includes the revolutionary Freak, a watch that amazed the watch world with its use of silicone.

The timepieces summarised by the Ulysse Nardine Classico range are timeless classics that are committed to the tradition of craftsmanship. These Ulysse Nardin watches look good on any wrist, especially with regard to their striking dials - there are some spectacular models here, some with pictures of ships, dragons or horses.

Break with convention

A freak on the wrist – the model’s name says it all and this exceptional watch from Ulysse Nardin certainly breaks all the rules. When the Freak was introduced in 2001, it was met with harsh scepticism as well as sheer enthusiasm. Silicone was used to make the Freak's balance wheel – at that time a little-used silicone-based alloy. Using this light, anti-magnetic, but robust material allows the balance wheel to vibrate more regularly. Back then a novelty, today a standard; silicone is now used by all leading manufacturers.

However, the Freak also shines for the pure creativity of its design. The model dispenses with all the typical elements of a watch. You won't find a crown on the Ulysse Nardin Freak – the watch is wound up and set through its case. Then, the manufactory went one step further and replaced the hands and dial with a unique movement, whose bridges and wheels indicate the time. The appearance of the Ulysse Nardin Freak cannot be compared to any other watch. Not only was the Freak a first for Ulysse Nardin watches, but it was also one of the most important milestones in Haute Horlogerie.

From Astrolabium to Executive

Masterpieces of fine watchmaking

Ulysse Nardin's watch creations are masterpieces of traditional swiss watchmaking, successfully demonstrating fine craftsmanship combined with technical innovation. Discover some of the most popular watches at CHRONEXT: