The world of luxury watch parent companies can, we admit, be a bit of a snoozefest – we all care more about balance wheels than balance sheets. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.
So, in this spirit of due diligence we report that the Kering Group, a luxury goods company that includes watch brands Girard-Perregaux and Jean-Richard in their portfolio (We spoke to GP and JR CEO Michele Sofisti recently) has acquired yet another luxury watch brand; Ulysse Nardin.
Now, Australian’s can be forgiven for not knowing a lot about Ulysse Nardin – as they don’t get much coverage down here. If you haven’t heard of them, think Corum with a dash of Hublot and you’re in the right ballpark. And while the nautical themed brand has been around since 1846, they’re perhaps best known for their iconic and groundbreaking Freak. The Freak was released in 2001 and managed to contain the entire escapement and gear train of the watches mechanical movement in the second “hand” of the watch. The Freak also managed to do away with the need for the crown – instead you adjust the time via the watches bezel. It’s a cool watch.
There’s a nice poetry to the fact that the last update made before the Kering announcement is an update of the model that made Ulysse Nardin – the Freak ‘Blue Cruiser’.
Aside from the Freak, Ulysse Nardin has a strong nautical line up, with their smart Marine Chronometers and sleekly masculine Marine Divers. They’re very much a posh yachties watch, capable on the deck, but really in their element in the bar.
We hope that the Kering Group takeover will shake things up a bit, and see the brand re-energise and revitalize the Le Locle house – in much the same way as Kering’s other watch holdings Girard-Perregaux and Jean Richard.
To find out more about Ulysse Nardin, check ’em out here.