Ulysse Nardin is a watch manufacturer founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland, where its headquarters remain. Historically, the company was best known for being a manufacturer of marine chronometers, but today it produces complicated mechanical watches.
Some affordable Ulysse Nardin watches
In 1983, the company was acquired by businessman Rolf Schnyder who, in conjunction with watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin, relaunched the brand with other investors. Schnyder, Oechslin and the company's staff design and create complication timepieces using modern materials and manufacturing techniques.
The first example of the company's new approach was the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei (1985; named after the device Astrolabium, and the astronomer Galileo). The Astrolabium displays local and solar time, the orbits and eclipses of the sun and the moon, and the positions of several major stars. It was named by the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 as the world's most-functional watch (with 21 distinct functions). Oechslin followed the Astrolabium with two other astronomical watches, the Planetarium Copernicus (1988; named after the stargazing theaters called planetariums and the astronomer Copernicus) and the Tellurium Johannes Kepler (1992; named after the element tellurium, and astronomer Johannes Kepler). The three pieces constitute what the brand calls the Trilogy of Time.
Other notable complication watches are the GMT± Perpetual (1999), that combines a perpetual calendar with the GMT± complication (one-press buttons that adjust the hour hand back and forth for international travellers), and the Freak Blue Phantom (2001) a tourbillon watch with no crown and one mechanical hands that cranks along teeth embedded in the inner circumference of the watch face.
The company also revived the use of enameling in watchmaking, with a series of watches featuring enameled and cloisonné faces.