Category Archives: Ulysse Nardin

Watch Matchmaker Series – Brooke Lewis and the Ulysse Nardin

Watch Matchmaker: Actress and Life Coach Brooke Lewis and the Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Starry Night

By Meehna Goldsmith

In Meehna’s WatchMatchmaker series as published on Longitude – Christies Watch Blog , Meehna and her contributors have restyled fashion and manners king K. Cooper Ray along with Mike Ross from the hit TV show Suits. This time Meehna has got some advice for Brooke Lewis.

Brooke is a talented actress and producer. She’s won many awards for acting including, Excellence in Film for Sprinkles, Scream Queen of the Month on and the Silver Lei Award for Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk, my personal fav.  I love her saucy and straightforward vampire, providing valuable insight and advice to young girls in a supportive environment. Without the teeth and cape, she also runs a successful business as a sought after life coach. A very smart cookie, this adorable and fiery brunette possesses the acceleration of a souped up Ferrari. You don’t want to get in her way when she wants to get something done.

See Meehna’s take on the perfect match for Brooke at Longitude Christies Watch Blog

Continue reading

Diamond, Silicon and Coffee: Ochs und Junior Teams Up with Ulysse Nardin

By now you’ve probably heard the news of Ochs und Junior aligning with Ulysse Nardin as a strategic partner. They get use of their in-house caliber UN-118. The alliance makes sense since Ludwig Oechslin, the eccentric genius behind Ochs’s movements along with Paul Gerber, also did a few tiny little projects with Ulysse Nardin. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? He’s responsible for the ground breaking Freak and the Trilogy of Time series, which included the Astrolabium, Planetarium and Tellerium.


While an ETA movement can certainly make a watch tick and is known for its reliability, watch geeks prefer a more sophisticated motor. Though Ochs und Junior will continue to use ETA calibres, they plan to incorporate the respected UN-118 calibre into future projects.

Just because you’ve got an in-house made movement, doesn’t make it better. Continue reading

Ulysse Nardin Fountain Pen:

At watchmatchmaker, we like to cover those pens put out by the brands. In fact, we asked the question if the Tourbillon pen can improve your writing.

I suppose it’s fair game for watch companies to produce pens, as Montblanc, the granddaddy of all pen companies, decided to produce watches and they make some pretty good ones like the Villeret Vintage Chronograph and the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, which you can win by entering this contest. It’s smart business to diversify your holdings and a luxury pen is a smart move, the perfect gift for yourself or someone else. And, if you like a watch brand but can’t quite buy in just yet, then you can get a piece of the brand by purchasing one of their pens.

Companies such as F.P. Journe and Cartier make pens and now Ulysse Nardin has gotten in on the game. They partnered with high-end Italian company Visconti to create a fountain pen whose body is made from a block of resin in Ulysse Nardin’s trademark blue color. According to UN, it takes more than 20 separate stages to produce the resin. You know how the Swiss like to tout the many steps it takes to get to the final stage. Viscoti produces the metal parts, made of 18-carat gold or 925 sterling silver, in Florence in their headquarters.

Rather than utilize a cap, the pen’s bayonet closure system locks with just a quick quarter turn, a clever feature that prevents unfortunate ink mishaps. Apparently you don’t have to refill the pen very often either because UN claims it fills up to the equivalent of 10 ink cartridges. The pen also incorporates the Visconti triple-channel ink feed in the same UN blue, allowing for optimal ink flow to the nib. The metal parts, made of 18-carat gold or 925 sterling silver, are produced in Florence at the Visconti headquarters.

Playing upon UN’s association with the sea, travel and chronometers, the brand incorporates into the the pen a hand-sewn net (I don’t quite get this element or how well it will hold up) and a stylized anchor on the barrel.  It also comes with a travel inkwell that supposedly is more spill-proof than others, allowing for refilling on the move designed for “sailors” (Really, now) and “businessmen”. Engraved on the clip, which is either solid gold or silver, is the pen’s serial number.

Will it improve your business acumen or timing? Probably not, but it’s a fun co-branding opportunity and looks to be a nicely made pen.


Inside Ulysse Nardin: An Interview with Patrik Hoffmann, the New CEO

After the unexpected passing of Rolf Schnyder, Patrik Hoffmann took over as CEO of Ulysse Nardin. A company known for its innovation and daring, Ulysse Nardin ushered in a new way of thinking about the watch industry. Up until the last decade,  watchmaking relied upon tools that have been in in place centuries, shunning the use of modern materials. With the Freak, Ulysse Nardin demonstrated the possibilities of integrating new technologies and improving accuracy and wear with its use of silicium. Now the industry, including such traditional companies as Patek Philippe and Breguet, have embraced this new technology themselves. In the below interview, Hoffmann discusses his background, experience and where Ulysse Nardin will go in the future.

What is your background?

I have a degree in finances and initially worked in the finance department of a Swiss watch company before getting my education and experience in Marketing and Management.

How did you get into the watch business?

I worked in the watch business for my entire life: first in finances, then in marketing/sales in Switzerland, then marketing/management in Malaysia/Singapore/Hongkong, then management in the US. The combination of selling a product that is very technical, artistic and also influenced by fashion always fascinated me.

You have spent the majority of your career at Ulysse Nardin. How is that an advantage when taking on the job of CEO?

I have not only worked at Ulysse Nardin. I have worked with Rolf Schnyder and the existing management at Ulysse Nardin for the last 12 years and I spent the last 3 years commuting between Florida and Le Locle. Ulysse Nardin’s direction and philosophy was headed by Rolf Schnyder together with his team (including myself). When Rolf Schnyder passed away, there was no need to change course and I was immediately able to make use of my experience that I gained within Ulysse Nardin. It is a tremendous advantage that the management team including myself can continue to sail the UN ship in the same direction and with the same philosophy as before. I can pull from the experience gained over the last 12 years within the company.

As CEO of Ulysse Nardin, what is your role in the company?

Ulysse Nardin is a healthy company with a clear structure and a well-functioning management team that has been in place for many years. Therefore I see my role as a teamleader and my colleagues will be very much involved in decision making.

For a relatively small company like Ulysse Nardin, it is important to stay focused and build on our success with a clear strategy – in particular with regards to products.

Ulysse Nardin was always independent and family owned and I will ensure to maintain a culture which allows all our employees to feel as part of the Dreamteam and to be proud of the success we are enjoying and the extraordinary products we produce.

What type of leader are you? What is your approach?

I see myself as ‘leading by example’ and I am convinced that teamwork works best in a company that is sailing with a clear direction. Of course a ship needs a captain that ensures that the ship is sailing into the right direction but he needs a team that stands behind him. My colleagues and co-workers can expect my full trust and freedom to develop themselves within the boundaries and structure of the company.

Rolf Schnyder was such a defining force in the company. How will you make your own mark?

My role is different than Rolf Schnyder’s used to be. Rolf was the owner of the company and set the direction. It is now my role to pursue the success of Ulysse Nardin together with my team. I believe that for a company, as innovative as Ulysse Nardin, the product has to be the focus of our efforts. The product itself will be the Ambassador of our brand.

With that being said, you can be sure that Ulysse Nardin as a whole will set future marks with new innovative products.

What plans do you have for Ulysse Nardin? In which direction do you see the company going?

There are two key words to answer that question: “Independence” and “Innovation”! Innovation was key to the success of Ulysse Nardin and it is our goal to keep that success alive with new innovations. ‘Independence’ we have been working on successfully for the last decade. With the introduction of our new in-house caliber 118, we have set a clear direction for more independence.

From the communication side it is obvious that the globalization of the markets and how people communicate will further change how watch companies will approach their customers. Even if Ulysse Nardin is considered a more conservative manufacture, we will be more active through new communication channels.

Do you and Ulysse Nardin ever feel too much pressure to stay at the forefront as a self-defined technology pioneer?

Pressure is not something that works together with innovation and it certainly doesn’t work for watchmakers, artists, and artisans. Our cooperation with Ludwig Oechslin and ideas that came from him allows our team of technicians, engineers, and watchmakers to work on new projects for many years to come.

Congratulations on producing Calibre UN-118, your first completely in-house produced base calibre. Why is being fully integrated so important when other reliable base movements are readily available and you’ve relied upon them for your production?

We have produced several in-house movements before: GMT Perpetual, Freak, Sonata, 160th Anniversary. Of which the GMT Perpetual, the Freak, and the Sonata have won several prizes. The Caliber UN-118 is the first ‘base’ caliber that is produced in-house and it will be in larger quantities than the above mentioned in-house movements.

There are several aspects on why this base caliber is important to us: one is independence: under the leadership of Pierre Gygax and Lucas Humair we have built a manufacture which allows us to become more independent and to produce our innovative ideas in-house. Base movements in the quality that we require them are not just ‘readily’ available (as you mentioned in your question) but with our own manufacture calibers we are able to be support the steady growth of Ulysse Nardin in general.

Which watch is your current favorite in the collection and why?

I am not able to answer that question – it would be like having to tell you which of my three sons was my favorite one. All of our watches have their own story, their own development and their own place in our collection.

With that being said, this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Freak and the Freak has a very special place within the UN history and therefore also for me. The Freak is not only a milestone for Ulysse Nardin but for the watch industry in general – aesthetically and technically. A decade ago the Freak was one of the first timepieces that was ‘opened’ up from the dial side and it was the first timepiece ever that was equipped with silicium escapement parts.




Dr. Bernard Cheong Becomes an Envoy of the FHH





Editor’s Note: I just had wrist surgery. Please forgive if I don’t post five days a week. We hope you’ll still come visit. I plan to be back in full form soon.

We’ve heard from Dr. Bernard Cheong on the topics of minute repeaters and watch collecting as an investment here. He inevitably provokes stimulating discussion with his informed opinions and views. This year Dr. Cheong was invited to be the first non commercial ambassador appointed by the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie), which is a terrific honor. Dr. Cheong graciously gave me access to his speech, which was the closing of the FHH 2011 Convention. It addresses the retail sector and is a view from the collectors in Asia, giving a special glimpse into the world of the FHH. Here it is in its entirety. Continue reading

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