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Ulysse Nardin


Find the 1,658 Ulysse Nardin results sold in major auction houses by consulting the catalog of models and collections


Ulysse Nardin History

Léonard Frédéric was the first member of the Nardin family to devote himself to watchmaking. But he did not yet sign his timepieces with his own name. It was his son, Ulysse Nardin, who started that in 1846 in the small town of Le Locle. His skilled craftsmanship and love of precision ensured Ulysse Nardin stood out at the International Exhibitions and was awarded the Prize Medal at the Great London Exposition of 1862. In 1893, his firm had the honour of representing Switzerland at the Chicago International Exhibition.

The firm forged an international reputation with its production of marine chronometers and observation clocks. One of its first customers was the Russian War Ministry in St. Petersburg.

The US Naval Observatory became another loyal customer from 1906. The firm was awarded 4300 distinctions from various observatories for its high precision products alone.

At the start of the 20th century, Ulysse Nardin began to produce wristwatches. From 1912, the brand focused on its particular affinity with instruments for measuring short periods of time, with wrist chronographs.

In the following years, the range of wristwatches steadily expanded to cover all fields. Sports chronographs were joined by rectangular and square models for men. Ladies were meanwhile offered sophisticated jewellery watches. This sales strategy was cultivated over many years.

Chronograph wristwatches with a complete calendar appeared in the mid-1940s. In the 1970s, at a time when electronics was infiltrating the field of precision chronometry, Ulysse Nardin’s descendants produced models which went against the prevailing fashion and almost nobody now wanted to buy their wristwatches. Stocks built up, tying up capital. In 1982, Rolf W. Schnyder, a cosmopolitan industrialist, seized his opportunity. With Dieter Meier, from pop group Yello, and his brother Balthasar, he enabled the brand on the brink of bankruptcy but with a prestigious name to make a spectacular come-back.

After the automatic carrousel "Freak" and "Sonata" alarm watch, the UN-160 automatic calibre with a brand-new Dual Direct escapement presented in 2006 demonstrated that the firm was once again a prestigious brand.

Ulysse Nardin
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