We specialise in curating a refined collection of some of the world’s best time pieces. In this pursuit we look at brands of excellence that really drive the industry forward. These are the ones that innovate and engineering the latest in haute horlogerie. The brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet that are known world wide for their commitment to excellence. Another perhaps not as well known commercially brand that truly elevates the art of time keeping is Ulysse Nardin. These watches are some of the world’s greatest with vintage pieces capturing millions at auction. One of the few Swiss luxury watch brands that are driven by a passion for the seas, their singular quest is innovation. Widely known for their marine chronometers Nardin produces complicated watches. Aesthetically and when it comes to design they also continue to lead innovation by crafting some of the most eye catching styles. With watches that evoque the powerful movements of the open seas the Ulysse Nardin brand dares greatly when it comes to their designs. Some of the most visually impressive watches in the market come from them. This is including signatures like the Freak watches that feature no hands, crown or true dial. However some of their more classical and traditional style watches also have the signature Ulysse Nardin touches. For example the Maxi Marine Stainless Steel Chronometer watch featured below has unique and instantly recognizable details. This is an iconic watch model from Ulysse Nardin and features the finishing touches that make this watch an epic on its own. Both on the black dial as well as along the rotating bezel. These small details are what set a watch apart. Particularly when it comes to the luxury watch industry. So let us get into how Ulysse Nardin got started off.
The luxury Swiss watch maker was established in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. A namesake of its founder Ulysse Nardin this is a brand and company closely linked to its heritage. Set up in the birth place of Ulysse Nardin, namely Le Locle. The company has also operated out of the same headquarter building since 1865. Ulysse began his company focusing mainly on the manufacturing of marine chronometers. Before he could embark on this journey and set up a company that would come to win thousands of awards and prizes, he began training with his father. This Swiss brand’s pedigree is one of conservative tradition and impeccable accuracy. Masters of simplicity, Ulysse Nardin watches are precise and robust but with minimal parts. The machinations and movements are all expertly adjusted and neatly placed together for a compact and truly powerful machine. After all Ulysse Nardin is a world leading brand. Switzerland is of course the world’s capital of the luxury watch making industry. It boasts some of the world’s finest brands and the best master craftsmen as well. So it is no surprise that Ulysse Nardin got his beginnings in the world of fine watches in the heart of the industry’s capital. Training under his father Leonard-Frederic Nardin, Ulysse learned the tools of the trade. But more than that he gained insight into the polished details of fine watchmaking. Later on he went to perfect these skills working with famed master watchmakers Frederic William Dubois and Louis Jean Richard dit Bressel. Finally Ulysse returned to his home town of Le Locle to establish his namesake brand Ulysse Nardin. In two short decades he went on to win the Prize Medal in the complicated watches and pocket chronometers category of the 1862 International Exhibition in London. From there the brand soared.
Setting sail to other regions Ulysse Nardin watches began to gain acclaim outside of Switzerland. After receiving the Prize Medal they also received the first series of certificates from Neuchatel Observatory for its marine chronometers. It was the take off they needed as they began to be in service with over 50 navies and international shipping companies. On his voyage of innovation Ulysse was just getting started. In 1860 he acquired a high-precision astronomical regulator. This allowed him to calibrate his pocket chronometers and thus carried his reputation around the world. The hyper precise watches of a by gone era continue to impress though. After Ulysse Nardin’s death his son Paul David Nardin took over the company. He went on to win a Gold Medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition for his pocket and marine chronometers. As well as three Swiss patents for chronometer and perfected control timing wheel mechanisms. As a next step in their journey Paul David Nardin now led the company into taking their patented movements and making them smaller. Always moving towards more compact and precise machinations the Ulysse Nardin brand released wrist watches with smaller movements that also measured the tenths of a second. Ideal for sporting events and competitive races this innovation led to even more awards and medals. Their record breaking performance and continued innovations enhancing the precision, speed and size of their movements and watches catapulted the Ulysse Nardin brand into the spotlight of the luxury watch world. Of course always particularly noted for their Marine chronometers. Certificates of performance, special prizes and medals continued reaching over 4,000 different awards. Then in celebration of their 150th anniversary in Haute Horlogerie two memorable time pieces were released. The Marine Chronometer 1846 and the Perpetual Ludwig, named for its creator, Dr. Ludwig Oechslin.
Today Ulysse Nardin is as we have said one of the world’s leading brands in haute horlogerie. While the name is more well known amongst connoisseurs and collectors than say a Rolex watch it is indeed iconic. They have led innovations in a way that no other watch brand has. Further manufacture goods that are impeccable to the levels of certified chronometers. Distinct in their look and in how they work Ulysse Nardin watches have dazzled the watch world unlike any other brands. In 2011 a stunning Royal Tourbillon fetched $1.1 million dollars at the Palm Beach three day Superyacht charity ball. CEO Patrik Hoffmann played a prominent role throughout helping the event raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. With our own community outreach and charity event involvement these moves from Ulysse Nardin bring them ever closer to our philosophy and drive to build community. The exclusive rendezvous celebrating the finest objects at the dazzling Mar a Lago Club was also doing good giving back, some for up to 5 years, to the children of our community. Held in 2011 we remember it for the impressive millionaire watch success. The $1.1 million Royal Blue Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie is a platinum diamond watch featuring 68 baguette cut diamonds and 234 baguette cut royal blue sapphires. However, the main feature of this watch is its floating aesthetic. The bridges and main plates of the watch are crafted in blue sapphire. This allows the flying Tourbillon to appear as if it is floating in an empty space. It is a perfect example of the exquisite capacities of the Ulysse Nardin brand. As well as demonstrate their ethos going into the 21st century. Strongly rooted in classic tradition and yet always excelling by pushing the limits of innovation.
The Marine Chronometer
Paying tribute to Ulysse Nardin’s rich marine history the marine chronometers are a staple of this brand. The ultimate demonstration of advanced technical performance the award winning chronometers are of course paired with impeccable design. Ulysse Nardin’s personal commitment to excellence transpired into his own namesake company. Specifically in their expertise this can be seen. Determined to maintain and ensure excellence at every step of manufacturing the Ulysse Nardin company has mastered almost every aspect of the watch making craft in house. Achieving independence through their wonderful ingenuity and innovative engineering Ulysse Nardin is a bold brand. Forging ahead while still remaining anchored in their rich sea faring history. They continue to innovate while remaining undoubtedly a marine style design leader. The chronometer itself continues to be an objet d’art with its precision and unfailing reliability. A high tech achievement of a wristwatch the Ulysse Nardin Marine chronometers equip seafarers. However, in the middle of the 20th century the exploration of the seas was largely completed and the marine chronometer business found itself in some trouble. Ulysse Nardin highly specialised in the Marine chronometers and facing some corporate confusion was acquired by Rolf Schnyder in 1983. Then along with Ludwig Oechslin, the revered watch maker, the Ulysse Nardin brand embarked on a new journey leaving behind the chronometer. That is until the brands 150th anniversary. That was when the Marine Chronometer 1846 was released. The modern wrist watches inspired by antique maritime tools were a faithful revival. Classical and functional the new iteration of this classic watch that launched the company in the beginning brought the old style and the new to meet. As we can see below with the Maxi Marine stainless steel chronometer watch a robust masculine bezel and look paired perfectly with the classic dial for renewal.
This particular Maxi Marine is in stainless steel with a black dial. Featuring the stacked center sub dials and red 1846 model inscribed in the center of the bottom sub dial this watch is a stunner. At 42 millimeters it is a large faced watch with impressive stainless steel bracelet links and a robust bezel. Speaking of the bezel it features a lovely detailing within the center flank reminiscent of ocean waves with a scalloped repeating pattern at the base of the bezel. It further off sets the protruding indicators. Finally at the outer edge there is a tactile pattern for ease of turning. There are crown protectors and all of the hour markers as well as the hour and minute hands have luminescent features. Further there is a date display window at the 6 o’clock marker within the bottom sub dial. Above you can see the inscriptions on the back of the watch’s case. It features the years and locations where the chronometer watch won 18 gold medals. Detailed and historied this watch is an incredible collection piece.
At Diamonds by Raymond Lee we carry a wide range of fine watches from the world’s best brands like Ulysse Nardin. We curate a select collection of fine time pieces ranging from the iconic classics to the most daring modern works. All of the pieces in our collection are watches that we trust would make ideal additions to a collector’s collection. As always we hold each and every piece up to an extremely high standard to ensure that their quality matches our clientele’s refined preferences. We have master jewellers and expert craftsmen at our shops who analyze and test each of the pieces that come into our stores. From in depth research into the watch’s provenance and function to its current state. They are trained in the latest techniques and have access to the industry’s cutting edge technology and equipment. We pride ourselves in going above and beyond every time.Whether that is when we are sourcing our fine watches or conducting regular maintenance or repairs on a client’s watch. Our goal is to provide superior service and the best experience possible. It is why we have our doors open to welcome you into any of our stores any time. You can feel free to join us for an afternoon walking through the fine watches in our collection. Our experts can guide you in your first or next time piece purchase. Whether you are a budding collector or avid expert yourself. Getting into the details and history of these fine watches is our passion. It has been a family passion for the last three decades. So if you have questions that you would like our experts to answer let us know below in the comments! Or if there’s a watch that you’re interested in us reviewing tell us the model.