Review by Marvin E. Whitney
This reprint is of a catalog entitled Chronometer Ulysse Nardin published in 1920 by Bigalke & Eckert Co., New York City, sole agents for Ulysse Nardin in the United States, with the addition of a 1988 price guide by Tran Duy Ly.
Ulysse Nardin, the son of Leonard, a remarkable watchmaker, founded the firm in 1846. Thanks to his remarkable qualities as a watchmaker, he was accorded the highest awards at numerous expositions. In 1876, he suddenly died and the responsibility of running the firm fell on the shoulders of son Paul D., who had not yet turned 20 years old. Two months after his fathers death, Paul an adjuster, was awarded the Gold Medal at the International Competition of Adjusting Chronometers, held at Geneva. His success brought him worldwide publicity. Soon Paul started producing marine chronometers which made the name of Ulysse Nardin famous throughout the world.
The United States Naval Observatory first began purchasing torpedo boat watches (deck watch/pocket chronometer) from Nardin in 1906 and marine chronometers in 1913, a practice that was continued until the Nazi sealed off the Swiss borders in 1942. Many of the models shown in this reprint are of those purchased by the U. S. Navy. Trial records indicate high performance with very few rejects.
Through the years, Nardins instruments continued to win more than their share of observatory competitive awards for excellence at Neuchatel and Geneva. Because of their high performance, not only in foreign competition but during chronometer trials at the Naval Observatory, the U. S. Navy selected the Nardin Marine Chronometer as the model to be prototyped by the Hamilton Watch Company in 1940. Hence, Hamilton defied tradition, developing modern production equipment which produced an instrument whose overall performance far exceeded that of any ever made. This was a sterling tribute, not only to Hamiltons engineers/craftsmen, but likewise to those of Nardin.
In the past few years there has been a remarkable growth in the interest in chronometers and chronometer type watches. This catalog is representative of navigational timepieces of that era, and should be of interest to those who are interested in the science of chronometry. As with any price guide, the prices herein are fairly representative for the reader to use as a reference base.
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