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About Ulysse Nardin Watches

For nearly two centuries, Ulysse Nardin has created the finest, most dependable marine timepieces and luxury wristwatches anywhere. 

Ulysse Nardin’s Humble Beginnings 

Founded in 1846, 23-year-old Ulysse Nardin’s base of operations might have been located miles from the sea, but he was certain that he could meet the growing needs of sailors and other seafaring professions. Having studied under two of the most celebrated Swiss watchmakers at the time, young Ulysse had the necessary training to change the maritime industry. 

Within 25 years, Ulysse Nardin became synonymous with perfection, and the ships of navies and trade companies alike were fitted with these chronometers. It was also common for professional sailors to be provided timepieces for more accurate navigation. 

New Leadership into the 20th Century

Upon his death in 1876, Nardin’s son, Paul-David, followed in his footsteps by leading the company while continuing to remain at the forefront of technological developments.  

Due to the “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970s, the fate of the company was endangered by the sudden spike in quartz watch prices. Upon purchasing the Ulysse Nardin in 1983, however, owner and adventurer Rolf Schnyder was the perfect fit to rehabilitate the fledgling brand. Within a few decades of innovation, timepieces like the Freak, Genghis Khan, and Astrolabium Galileo Galilei have reexamined the pantheon of luxury watchmaking.

Many credit Ulysse Nardin’s revival with Schnyder’s affiliation with Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, the genius behind the Vatican’s Farnese Clock restoration. By fusing ancient watchmaking technologies with newer materials (specifically silicon), the company entered the 21st century as one of the world’s most-acclaimed luxury watch brands. 

Ulysse Nardin Releases and Recognitions

At the 1862 International Exhibition in London, Nardin was bestowed the highest prize for any horlogerie. This was the first major award, which was followed by hundreds of other recognitions over the next century and a half. 

At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Ulysse Nardin was the only timepiece maker to win a gold medal. The exceptional minute-repeater sonnerie watch simply couldn’t be outdone by its competitors.  

The release of the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei in 1985 was overwhelmingly lauded by watch enthusiasts. This astronomical timepiece showcased solar aspect, lunar phrases, and even zodiac signs. 1998’s Planetarium Copernicus reimagined the ancient astronomer’s concept of the heavens while the 1992 Tellurium Johannes Kepler rounded out the Trilogy of Time series. Unlike the other two, the Earth’s surface takes center stage, with a map that rotates every 24 hours.

By 2001, Ulysse Nardin introduced the Freak, the first wristwatch to utilize silicon elements. Instead of featuring typical hands, its carousel tourbillon movement swiveled in place, turning the timepiece industry on its head and leading to its 2002 Innovation Prize Watch of the Year. 

The Sonata (2004) garnered Ulysse Nardin yet another Innovation Prize, thanks to its musical alarm and countdown display of the previous 12 hours.  

Owner and CEO Rolf Schnyder was the recipient of the “Spirit of Enterprise” in 2013, followed by the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve in 2010. 

In addition to its countless awards, Ulysse Nardin has been bestowed 95% of mechanical marine chronometer certificates and  more than one thousand first prizes.