Ulysse Nardin SA is a luxury Swiss watchmaking company established in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. The company was renowned for creating highly precise marine chronometers and complex exclusive timepieces used by more than 50 navies worldwide from the late 19th century until 1950. According to the most recent official report of the Neuchâtel Observatory in Switzerland, Ulysse Nardin has won many awards and honours for its marine chronometers from 1846 to 1975, including 4,324 certificates, 2,411 special prizes, and 18 gold medals at international exhibitions.
Ulysse Nardin operates out of the same building in Le Locle since 1865. The company was acquired by Rolf W. Schnyder in 1983 and transformed into a profitable business. In 2014, it became a subsidiary of the French luxury group Kering.
Ulysse Nardin designs and produces luxury watches, dual-time watches, and marine chronometers. Its products are sold through a network of distributors and boutiques worldwide. The company is now owned by Sowind Group SA following a management buyout.
The company has an integrated production system. Most work is done in-house, from conception, design, development, and crafting to production. The brand manufactures its own high-precision components, movements, and calibres. Since the acquisition of Donzé Cadrans, Ulysse Nardin has created enamel dials. Pieces are repeatedly heated to a high temperature (1500 °F or 850 °C) several times, as layers of colour are added. This requires hours of work.
Engineers, drafting technicians, technical designers, and calibre designers are responsible for developing modern technologies and designing movements for Ulysse Nardin watches. They create prototypes and tools for the workshops. Profile turners or specialist setters supervise the production of parts required for the balance axis, screws, pins, and other small components. Decorators engrave plates and bridges with unique patterns. Experienced watchmakers then assemble the components, working on the movements of in-house calibres.
Another team of watchmakers, specialising in extremely complicated timepieces, assembles the movements and casings of complex mechanisms such as minute repeaters, hour strikers, tourbillons, and astronomical timepieces. In 2020, the company created a watch model made of plastic ocean waste.
Experts in quality control meticulously inspect all aspects of watches, including aesthetics, watch functions, and waterproofing. Some models feature a chronometer movement that has been officially certified for accuracy by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Swiss testing agency. Ulysse Nardin also boasts its own quality certification program, the Ulysse Nardin Certificate, which employs standards of quality that exceed those of the COSC.