Mechanical Watches/Hand-wound Watches - Ulysse Nardin to Become the World's Best Luxury Watches -

When it comes to luxury watches, Ulysse Nardin belongs to the category of ultra-luxury watches.

The unique design, unlike any other manufacturer, is packed with elements that will wow anyone who sees it.

Particularly famous are the works known as the "Trilogy of Time" and the Freak Cruiser, which was released in 2001.

To date, Ulysse Nardin has received over 4,300 awards.

The Astronomical Trilogy has earned the company recognition as a changemaker, with its inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records, and it has received numerous patents and won the Innovation Award four times.

Ulysse Nardin's lineage of inventors creating new technologies will continue to remain unchanged and will continue to take us on new journeys through time.
■The Birth of Ulysse Nardin
On January 22, 1823, during the Edo period in Japan, a boy was born to watchmaker Léonard Frédéric Nardin in Le Locle, Switzerland.

That boy was Ulysse Nardin, whose brand name remains today. At the time Ulysse was born, Le Locle, part of the Jura Valley in Switzerland, was a thriving region for the watch industry.

Since his father was also a watchmaker, it may have been Ulysse's destiny to enter the watch industry from the moment he was born.

After apprenticing under his father Leonardo, Ulysse began his watchmaking career under William Dupois, who made timepieces with complex mechanisms such as marine chronometers and astronomical clocks.

So Ulysse decided to specialize in complicated watches, foreseeing the demand for such watches on the market in the future.

In 1846, at the young age of 23, he founded the company that bears his name, Ulysse Nardin.

■The king of chronometers Since its founding, Ulysse has manufactured watches for industries that require precise time measurement, such as astronomy and navigation.

Even though they were marine chronometers, the accuracy of those timepieces was naturally still far from perfect compared to the watches we wear today.

However, Ulysse continued to focus on continually improving the accuracy of its marine chronometers.

In the days before airplanes, ships were responsible for crossing continents, and showing north, south, east and west on the open sea was a lifeline for sailors, so Ulysses tried desperately to help them.

Finally, in 1862, their achievements were recognized by the world when they won the Holy Grail of watchmaking, the Gold Prize Medal in the Complicated Watch category at the Great Exhibition in London.

In 1865, the company moved to its current headquarters at 3 rue du Jardin. Upon Ulysse's death on February 20, 1876, his son, Paul David Nardin, took over the company. He too was a skilled watchmaker and businessman, just like his father.

Under the succession of his son Paul, Ulysse Nardin achieved remarkable success, winning a gold medal at the Paris World's Fair in 1878, a silver medal at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and a gold medal at the Milan World's Fair in 1906, steadily building up its track record.

As a result of these achievements, Ulysse Nardin came to have a near monopoly on marine chronometers for navigation.

In 1909, Paul's son, Ernest Nardin, joined the company and its growth continued unabated.

Marine chronometers were supplied to the navies of as many as 50 countries around the world, and in Japan, Ulysse Nardin watches were installed on the battleship Mikasa.

In 1923, it won first place in the International Chronometer Competition held at the Neuchâtel Observatory to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Louis Breguet. In 1950, it broke all chronometer records at the Neuchâtel Observatory.

However, the family business gradually became difficult, and in 1965 Bern joined the business as co-manager.

However, in the 1970s, the watch industry was hit by the Quartz Shock caused by the development of quartz by Seiko. The Swiss watch industry was hit by a major shock, and Ulysse Nardin was no exception.
The factory was forced to close and its history was on the verge of collapse.

■Resurrection Rolf W. Schnieder may have been a little unusual. At the young age of 22, he joined a watch import/export company in Bangkok and traveled to Burma, Laos, China and other Asian countries. He established a watch manufacturing company in Thailand.

However, when he visited Switzerland he witnessed the quartz crisis of the 1970s and realized the difficulties of management.

In 1983, Schnieder decided to buy the failing Ulysse Nardin company.

But after the quartz crisis, they knew they couldn't rebuild by just making average watches.

Around the same time, Schnieder met Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, who had come across an astrolabe (an astronomical observation instrument used by ancient astronomers and astrologers) at a ski resort and restored it.

He was a genius: an anthropologist, a scientist, a university professor, and a watchmaker.
This is where he began developing what would become known as the Astronomical Trilogy.

Astronomy Trilogy
1 Astrolabium Galileo Galilei The name comes from the astrolabe and Galileo Galilei, which were the catalyst for the encounter between Schnieder and Dr. Exlin.

The dial is modeled after a celestial sphere, and it is possible to display the twelve signs of the zodiac, solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, the position of the sun, the position of the moon, moon phases, and the positions of the stars, all by simply turning the crown.It is an extremely complex watch, programmed with 144,000 years of astronomical information, and its complexity has led to it being registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

2. Planetarium Copernicus
This model was released in 1988 and is named after the planetarium and Copernicus. The dial is designed to resemble the solar system, with Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Mercury, and the golden zodiac revolving around the sun.
A meteorite model was also sold in a limited edition of 65 pieces.

3 Tellurium Johannes Kepler
This model was released in 1992 and its name is derived from the Latin word Tellus, which means Earth, and Johannes Kepler. The dial depicts the Earth with the North Pole at its center.

The Astrolabium Galileo Galilei is particularly complex, but the Planetarium Copernicus and Tellurium Johannes Kepler are equally complex. Because all of the dials relate to celestial bodies, these are known as the Astronomical Trilogy.

■Currently, Ulysse Nardin has developed a variety of watches, as exemplified by the Astronomical Trilogy.
The spirit of technological advancement remains unchanged across generations.

The Freak Cruiser, released in 2001, is a masterpiece that will undoubtedly be talked about for generations to come.

And a masterpiece never abandons its roots.
The time is indicated by a hand shaped like an anchor (although I'm not sure if it's appropriate to call it a hand in the case of the Freak Cruiser), and the dual Ulysse escapement eliminates the need for a pallet or escape wheel.

The dial and hands have been removed, and the exposed movement itself rotates, with the lower section displaying the hours, and the upper section, the wheel train, and the dual Ulysse escapement displaying the minutes. There is also no crown, and the mainspring is wound by rotating the back case.

It's hard to really understand what the Freak Cruiser is like unless you actually hold it in your hands, but we encourage you to take a look at this legendary watch for yourself.

You can see them at Tenshodo in Ginza, etc. In addition to the Freak Cruiser, Ulysse Nardin's technological advances show no signs of slowing down, having developed a hairspring made of diamonds in 2002.