With its historical origins dating back to the mid-19th century, Ulysse Nardin is one of the most revered luxury watch manufactures in the world. The company began its illustrious watchmaking adventure by producing high-precision marine chronometers. Founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland by visionary entrepreneur Ulysse Nardin, it has gradually turned into a fully-fledged manufacture and also commenced the production of minute repeaters, high complication watches and pocket chronometers.
Winner of more than 4,300 watchmaking awards, the company was revived by Rolf W. Schnyder in the 1980s. In partnership with the talented master watchmaker Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, he reenergized the rich horological tradition of Ulysse Nardin. In 2014, Kering group acquired the brand. In January 2022, the prestigious firm regained its functional independence as Kering offloaded its entire stake (100%) to the current management.
Today, still based in Le Locle, Ulysse Nardin produces an exceptional range of high-quality luxury wristwatches by fusing traditionalist ethos and technological innovations. Presently, the brand has five flagship collections: Marine, Diver, Freak, Blast, and Classico.
In this article, we are highlighting five key reasons why should own an Ulysse Nardin watch.
Ulysse Nardin has been associated with the quest for creative freedom since its establishment. It is one of the few independent and integrated manufactures with the in-house expertise to produce its high-precision components and movements. Moreover, the brand has been owned by an independent administration since early 2022 with Kering group selling its 100% stake to the current management.
The Swiss Maison produces various in-house mechanical movements, ranging from the basic calibers with chronometer certification to extremely complex mechanisms like the Freak tourbillon carousel and the minute repeater with Jacquemart display. The independence as a fully-fledged manufacture makes Ulysse Nardin a preferred brand of seasoned fine watchmaking connoisseurs.
The iconic Swiss company has been known for its enduring inventive spirit. Its outstanding contributions towards the advancements in the horological industry are highly appreciable. The notable inventions by the Manufacture are the award-winning and record-breaking astrological watches, the patented GMT ± complication, the Freak (the 7-day tourbillon-carousel), the Sonata mechanical musical timepiece, Dual Ulysse Escapement and the novel Silicium technology. The recently added Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X range further elevates the luxury brand’s lifelong quest for futuristic watchmaking designs.
(3) Technical Know-how
Ulysse Nardin proudly possesses exceptional technical know-how in producing high-precision chronometer timekeepers as well as high complications. Its product range also includes elegant dress watches to diving instruments.
The extraordinary creations like Astrolabium Galileo Galilei, Planetarium Copernicus and Tellurium Johannes Kepler certify the Le Locle based Maison’s considerable expertise in the field of astronomical watches.
Introduced in 2001, the ground-breaking Ulysse Nardin Freak 7-day tourbillon watch defied the established traditions with its innovative style of displaying the time. This iconic watch has also paved the foundation for the one of most revolutionary collections in the history of watchmaking. It presently includes new avatars like the Freak Cruiser, Freak Phantom, Freak X, Freak Next, Freak Vision and Freak Lab.
The Blast is a modern watch collection that inseparably unites the brand’s technical expertise with an innovative spirit. The key models are the Blast Hourstriker, Blast Skeleton X, Blast Dual Time, Blast Free Wheel, Blast Moonstruck and Blast Tourbillon.
The Company also demonstrates an immense technical expertise in manufacturing classical complications like hour-striker, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and tourbillon. It also offers highly complex timepieces equipped with Jacquemart automata or mechanical music mechanisms.
(4) Maritime Legacy
Since its founding in 1846, Ulysse Nardin has been closely associated with the maritime world. Inspired by this rich nautical tradition, the Swiss manufacturer offers excellent timepieces from its Marine family, including models from the Marine Torpilleur and Marine Mega Yacht collections.
The UN Marine series is comprised of chronometers with moon-phase or power-reserve display, annual calendars, chronographs, dual-time watches, perpetual calendars and tourbillons. In addition to their distinct maritime aesthetics, these timepieces incorporate various technological features and artistic traditions. For example, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Tourbillon grand feu model unites a traditional flying tourbillon complication with avant-garde technology and the ancient Grand feu enameling technique.
For those who are more focused on exploring ocean depths, the brand provides a dedicated series. The notable models from the Ulysse Nardin diver collection are Diver 42mm, Diver 44mm, Diver 39mm, Diver Chronograph, Diver X, Diver Deep Dive and Lady Diver. Depending upon the model, they feature depth ratings of 100m, 200m, 300m or 1,000m.
(5) Artistic Watchmaking
Most haute-horlogerie Maisons focus a significant amount of time and resources to build up more artistically crafted watch collections. This needs not only traditional watchmaking expertise; it also requires artistic ingenuity to efficiently utilize traditional crafts such as enameling, miniature painting, guilloche-decoration, marquetry, engraving and sculpting.
The Classic range is the ultimate stage for displaying the brand’s immense expertise in the field of artistic watchmaking. The prominent models from this series are Classico Manara, Perpetual Ludwig, Hourstriker and Trilogy. Among these, the Classico Manara series offers timepieces with miniature painted dials. The Perpetual Ludwig is a classic Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Calendar watch created in collaboration with Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, who also developed the ground-breaking Trilogy sequences.
Ulysse Nardin is an ideal brand for enthusiastic collectors who possess a genuine passion for mechanical timepieces with ingenious and revolutionary designs. It has an illustrious watchmaking history to enlighten the devotees of fine horlogerie. The brand usually stays away from the usual superciliousness associated with the premium segment.
In the recent times, the brand has adopted a sustainable approach to protect the Ocean, a key inspiration of the House since its origins. The Swiss Maison has been linked with various environmental activities to reduce marine plastic pollution and in safeguarding endangered underwater species like sharks. This remarkable dedication to protect our mother nature can be another reason to buy an Ulysse Nardin watch.
There is one more legitimate reason to delight the loyal customers of this iconic brand. Since January 2017, the brand has been offering a five-year extended warranty to all its mechanical timepieces. The approximate retail price range of Ulysse Nardin watches in Hong Kong is from HK$50,000 to HK$3,500,000.