Going against the mainstream current of Swiss watchmaking, Schnyder, the late President of Ulysse Nardin, and Oechslin, joined forces in 1983, when Schnyder purchased the company and sought Oechslin’s expertise and free-thinking approach to timepiece engineering and design. Schnyder was astounded by a wall clock astrolabe Oechslin had built after restoring the Farnesian clock in the Vatican museum and requested that Oechslin reduce the astrolabe to a wristwatch. Thus, the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei, the first watch from Oechslin’s Trilogy of Time series, was born, returning the revered watchmaker to the spotlight.
Since, Ulysse Nardin has been the recipient of 4,300-plus awards in watchmaking – 18 of them gold medals – and has received the greatest number of patents in mechanical watchmaking. Ulysse Nardin was honored by Revolution magazine with its prestigious “New Technology” award for InnoVision, a spectacular watch that represented the groundbreaking use of silicium, among ten additional technical feats. This creation gives a nod to Ulysse Nardin’s FREAK, one of the cleverest timepieces ever created and the first to use silicon.
Fast forward to 2012 and Ulysse Nardin expands its roster of breakthroughs with the Ulysse Nardin Caliber 118, the manufacture’s self-winding base caliber conceived and executed entirely in-house, and now offered in the Marine Chronometer Manufacture. This caliber continues the advancement of Ulysse Nardin’s use of new materials and techniques; it features a standard anchor escapement that is produced using DIAMonSil, Ulysse Nardin's revolutionary alliance of diamond and silicon, and a furthering of its joint venture with microparts technology company Sigatec.
Routinely seeking to forge unconventional relationships to strengthen its lead and independence in watchmaking, in 2012, Ulysse Nardin acquired Donzé Cadrans, the world-recognized enamel-dial specialist. Treasuring the art of enameling and enamel cloisonné, Ulysse Nardin adds this masterful skill to its in-house capabilities. Other strategic alignments include its collaboration with diamond-production company Diamaze Microtechnology and with Ochs und Junior, the novel concept-watch company founded by Oechslin in 2009. Through this new partnership, Ulysse Nardin aims to establish a stronger synergy between the two companies and consolidate and sustain its longstanding relationships with Oechslin.