Ulysse Nardin (Swiss Watch Makers)
Ulysse Nardin are a firm of watchmakers based in Le-Locle, Switzerland.
Brief history and background
Ulysse Nardin was named after it's founder who created the company in 1846. Initially marine chronometers were produced, but today the company produces a wide range of mechanical watches. This change in direction is credited with the company's takeover in 1983 by businessman Ralf Schynder who, together with watchmaker Ludwig Oeschlin relaunched the brand using the latest modern technologies.
The base movement of the watches is called the ETA and the company prides itself on the accuracy of its timepieces; between 1846 and 1975 it received more than 4,300 Swiss accuracy certificates.
Info for collectors
Ulysee Nardin watches can be grouped into two categories; those made prior to 1983 and those made afterwards. Ones pre-1983 are considered the rarest and most collectible whilst those made after 1983 are less so.
The 1970s is a popular period for collectors as quartz was readily available – one of the rarer versions is an automatic watch featuring 25 of these stones and measuring in at 35mm wide and 40mm long. One of these can be picked up for somewhere in the region of $1,000.
Other rarities to look out for include vintage chronographs from the 1940s which can be bought for around $4,000 and limited edition models. 2009 saw the release of two highly collectible watches named The Moonstruck and Planet Earth. These were celestial watches designed to showcase interstellar aesthetics and their rarity makes them accessible to only higher end collectors – the Moonstruck currently retails at approximately 50,000EURO.
Results from 2011:
In December, Sothebys, in New York, sold an 18k yellow gold automatic wristwatch (circa. 1995) with astronomical perpetual calendar and dual time. It was from the Johannes Kepler collection (No. 83) Ref. 871-99. It sold for $25,000.
On the 16th December, 2011. Sold by Christies of New York in their Important Watches auction:
- A 19k gold, automatic wristwatch with date and up-down indication. It was circa. 2006, Ref. 261-77. It sold for $3,750.
- A pink-gold 19k automatic wristwatch reached $7,500. This was from the Lelocle collection, Ref. 266-77.
- A stainless steel wristwatch with dual time sold for $4,750. This was circa. 2010, Ref. No 243-55.
- An 18k whist gold automatic wristwatch with perpetual calender, GMT and night/day indication sold for $20,000. Ref no: 320-60 and case no: 163.
- A wristwatch from the Erotica collection, made of platinum and mother-of-pearl. (Ref no: 769-80) Sold for $72,100.
On the 14th November, 2011. Sold by Christies in Geneva:
- A stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with enamel dial from the Locle and Suisse collection. Ref no: 123'564 and case number: 620'030. Sold for CHF4,750. (Approx. $5,291)
- An 18k pink gold wristwatch with dual time and perpetual calendar function. Ref number: 326-22, case number: 516 and movement number 32.16.2632. Sold for CHF12,500. (Approx. 13,925)
An important auction result – both because of the price realised and because of the publicity it attracted, was the sale of a trilogy of watches in April, 2011 by Sothebys of New York. The watches were part of a planetary collection and were named Planetarium Copernicus, Tellurium Johannes Kepler and Astrolabium Galileo Galilei. They sold for $134, 500.
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