47° 03’ 36.2” N 06° 45’ 12.8” E
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The first entry in the Ulysse Nardin books was made on September 1st, 1846: “Father lent me 500 French francs, or 100 Brabant ecus”. In those days, ounces of grains, livres or batzen were used as currency, often converted in account record books into French or Brabant ecus.
In the early 20th century, the house of Ulysse Nardin, under Paul-David Nardin, became one of the first to create a contingency fund for its employees.
In 1850, Jules Nardin, Ulysse’s brother, emigrated with his entire family to La Paz, Bolivia. There, he established trade links with several Latin American countries.
In 1875, Paul-David Nardin, Ulysse’s son, joined the house of Ulysse Nardin after completing a full apprenticeship at the Le Locle School of watchmaking.
Having been taught by knowledgeable masters such as Jules Grossmann, Paul-David Nardin asked his father if he would entrust him with some chronometers. Paul-David’s intention was to submit them for the Concours International de Réglage (International Chronometry Competition), following an invitation from the Geneva Society of Arts to chronometer-makers around the world to mark its centenary in 1876.
Ulysse Nardin agreed, but on one condition: he asked his son to see the project through to the end and not give up on his work no matter what. How delighted his father would have been to hear that his son had won the gold medal in the Prix d’Honneur. Sadly, Ulysse Nardin died of a heart attack several months before the winners were announced.
In 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Paul-David Nardin won the gold medal in the Deck Chronometer category for “remarkable execution and absolute superiority in chronometry”.
On occasion, it happened that Ulysse Nardin supplied navies on both sides of international conflict. This was actually the case in 1904 during the Russian-Japanese war, with Ulysse Nardin delivering equipment to both parties. In order to continue riding this wave of success Paul-David multiplied his efforts in his continuing quest to become one of the official suppliers of the US Navy.
Soon scientists were sharing the military’s enthusiasm for Ulysse Nardin’s production, elevating the brand to a reference point among professionals in many fields. Hydrographic and geodesic institutions in several countries adopted on-board Ulysse Nardin chronometers as indispensable elements of their operations. The search for natural gas only increased the demands for Ulysse Nardin instruments, as did advances in sports and aviation into the 20th century..
In 1906, at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, Ulysse Nardin chronometers took the top seven places out of 31 chronometers presented.
In 1907, at the United States Naval Observatory, 83 American, English, French and Swiss competitors submitted pieces for Deck Chronometer competition. The tests took place over five months and the House set the performance record. As a result of this achievement, the brand entered the US market by becoming a supplier to the US Navy.
In 1908, at the United States Naval Observatory, Ulysse Nardin chronometers won first place. The US government then bought nine of the sixteen pieces submitted for the competition.
In 1915, at the United States Naval Observatory, Ulysse Nardin won first place out of 60, and set the performance record. At the same competition, Ulysse Nardin won the top three places from a field of 217 deck chronometers entered in the contest.