The Captain’s Watch – A Tale Of The New Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer At FLIBS 2018
Ahoy! Ulysse Nardin Unleashes Their New Diver Chronometer and reaffirms its commitment to the sea at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Let’s sail!
You may not know this, but Fort Lauderdale, Florida is commonly referred to as the "Yachting Capital of the World." For a mid-sized Florida city located just 30 miles north of the glitz and glamour of Miami, this self-applied nickname seemed a bit facetious going into the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (or FLIBS). But what I quickly understood is that Fort Lauderdale, its residents, and show attendees, take yachting VERY seriously.
How serious you ask? Well for 59 years, the city has played host to the eponymous show dedicated to the world of boats and yachting. To my astonishment, over 1,500 boats were on display throughout the weekend of October 31 through to November 4. While so many of you may think of the world of luxury yachting as a rich man’s sport, after attending FLIBS, I can assure you the show, it’s attendees (all 110,000 of them), and exhibitors cast a broad net which appeals to people of all generations, ages, income, and boating experience.
So why was Watchonista present at FLIBS? Thanks to Ulysse Nardin, we had the unique opportunity to attend the show and witness their extraordinary bond with the world of yachting. It was also an excellent opportunity to go hands-on with their new Diver Chronometer. For a brand that got their start making marine chronometers, the partnership between the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show makes a lot of sense. For over 20 years, in one capacity or another, Ulysse Nardin has participated in FLIBS. For 2018, the brand decided to up the ante.
Ulysse Nardin and Sailing
The Le Locle based watchmaker has been synonymous with maritime navigation since the early 1800s, with their founder Ulysse Nardin officially opening the workshop in 1846. Having supplied over 50 of the world’s Navies with their marine chronometers. Over the summer, I experienced this heritage firsthand during a visit to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. At FLIBS 2018, the brand was perfectly positioned alongside some of the world’s most beautiful yachts. From small skippers to mega yachts, the captains of these vessels had a soft spot in their hearts for Ulysse Nardin.
“When I joined my first Navy ship in 1990, at that time, we navigated with the stars and we made our map calculations with an officers’ chronometer by Ulysse Nardin. It was a great object” - Antonio Gerini, Captain of the Utopia IV.
The story of Ulysse Nardin and their maritime history captivated attendees and passersby of the show. With a beautiful display located just off the central thoroughfare of FLIBS. Ulysse Nardin displayed a wide range of novelties including the new Marine Torpilleur US Navy and the official US launch of the Diver Chronometer. Regrouping boat captains to a centralized display and having the brand's watchmakers and staff on hand ready to tell the story of Ulysse Nardin indeed enchanted all those in attendance.
The Fraser Connection
As official yachting partners, Ulysse Nardin and Fraser have enjoyed a special relationship for many years. As one of the world’s longest-serving full-service brokerage house and number one seller of superyachts worldwide, Fraser used the occasion of FLIBS to showcase some of the most beautiful yachts on offer.
Watchonista was fortunate enough to do a photo shoot aboard the ‘Status Quo' a $17.9 million yacht on offer from Fraser. The classic styling of the Status Quo was the perfect complement to the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur. After a tour by the captain, we gave a demonstration of our own with the new Diver Chronometer. I must say, it was tough to get the watch back from the Captain. He was absolutely smitten.
“ Ulysse Nardin became partners of Fraser about five years ago. They sponsor both the Monaco and Fort Lauderdale boat shows. Ulysse Nardin generously donates a watch every year for our Captain of the Year awards, it’s a very big deal and the Captains are highly competitive about it. Since the partnership began and I saw the quality of the watches for myself I became hooked on the brand, I used to wear other brands, but now I wear nothing but Ulysse Nardin” – Michael Busacca – COO - USA - Fraser.
We also had the opportunity to speak with Fraser's CEO Raphael Sauleau, when asked: "What's the importance of timekeeping for you?" Sauleau replied, "It's very important for a company like Fraser, we're more than 160 employees with 21 offices around the world, so time is of the essence. We travel a lot, tight schedules, and of course, time is everything."
The winner of Fraser's 2018 Captain Of The Year Award was Captain Todd Lee of 'My Seanna'. For this prize Lee won a Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver which was presented by brand president François-Xavier Hotier. Lee and his family were speechless after winning. We sat down with Captain Lee after the event, which he provided this key insight into the role of timekeeping in his day to day life as a Captain,
"The most precious resource we have is time and it is essential to learn to manage it effectively in order to manage everything else. It therefore, stands to reason that accurate timekeeping is the key to productivity and precision. I have an ongoing commitment to excellence and once the goal is set, I give it all I’ve got until the successful end result is achieved. This extraordinary Ulysse Nardin watch is now an essential tool for my continued success." - Todd Lee, Captain My Seanna
Even in the modern millennium, timekeeping is intrinsically linked with the sea, we couldn’t keep ships at sea without time, I spoke with Sauleau after the ceremony, when pressed to give some examples of how Fraser uses timekeeping in their day to day, he said, “timekeeping is key on a yacht, no matter where you are in the world, you have to watch the tide, the moon, and the sun. I know it’s a bit cliché, but you can't navigate without it."
Interview With François-Xavier Hotier, US President Ulysse Nardin
On the occasion of FLIBS, we sat down with Ulysse Nardin’s US President François-Xavier Hotier. Since joining the brand earlier this year, Hotier has helped to redefine Ulysse Nardin’s mission in the United States. By forming key strategic partnerships with organizations and brands which make sense for the brand and aid in telling the story of Ulysse Nardin and the sea.
Josh Shanks: Hey François! How’s the show going for you
François-Xavier Hotier: The show has been a great experience. We have a good time with the team, because it's yacht owners, yacht companies, the sponsors of the show, and all of these people are from the maritime/yachting community. When they come here for FLIBS, it makes sense for them to see Ulysse Nardin. The anchor of the show and maritime community. Many of the people you will see here in the VIP lounge, and at the show, have an Ulysse Nardin watch. It's part of the equipment you own when you have a boat.
JS: And Ulysse Nardin has been an anchor of the show for quite a few years.
FX: My team told me that we'd been here for at least 20 years participating in one way or another! Once again, when you have a boat, when you love the sea and thrilled by navigation instruments, you know Ulysse Nardin. This makes sense for us to be here and for the participants of the show to see us here.
JS: And talking just last night, the reaction has been quite positive. You’ve had a good response by existing owners and exposing new collectors to the brand.
FX: What's interesting is that most of the people you will see here know the brand. They know the brand a certain way and associate the brand very much to the divers and marine chronometers. People coming here can see so much of the brand. They can see the Free Wheel, the Freak Collection, and the new Diver Chronometer that we're launching right here in North America. They see the Ulysse Nardin they love, but they can discover the innovation in a new and fresh way in a beautiful setting.
JS: Can you walk us through the new Diver?
FX: I think it's important to say to Watchonista, the new Diver is a true diving watch. When you do a diving watch you have specifications to follow, and we followed them by the book. It’s a diving instrument which has a great look yet very casual. It has a super nice look and what I love to say is that it’s very recognizable as a Ulysse Nardin. You recognize the small second at 6 o’clock and the power reserve at 12 o’clock. Plus, the elements and blue colors which are very Ulysse Nardin, it’s a beautiful watch.
You know I love the story of maritime and navigation instruments. I love the story of Annapolis and our past (read our article HERE). What I see also, is that we used to supply admiralties with navigation instruments. Today, because of electronics, nobody needs navigation instruments. So, this is more like a navigation instrument for life.
JS: So, here we are at FLIBS, are there any yachts that stand out for you?
FX: Two days ago, I was a member of the jury of the boat show. Joining me was Fabien Cousteau, Jeff Mihalic (CEO of Delta Private Jets), and two architects. We visited several boats, and all selected were amazing. If any of them were offered to mem I would take it in a heartbeat! I can imagine myself now in Islamorada swimming with sharks with a Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer on the wrist. However, in the end we chose the Mangusta – w hat a beautiful boat!
About the new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer
Originally launched at this summer’s Monaco Yacht Show, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer packs a slew of innovations at a realistic price point. This contemporary diver is sized at 44mm and available in four models, a Navy-Blue Edition, Black Edition, Black Coated Titanium and Rose Gold, and finally the ‘Great White' edition. These 300m divers feature a domed sapphire crystal with a uni-directional bezel. Powered the UN-118 automatic movement and featuring small seconds and a date at 6 o’clock and a power reserve at 12 o’clock.
Starting at 7,900 USD, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer is sure to be the perfect complement to Captains and Divers everywhere. It was clear throughout this trip, Ulysse Nardin is the legitimate timekeeper of the seas.
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this poignant quote Captain Todd Lee reminded me of, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln