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Trilogy of TimeUlysse Nardin

Limited Edition in PlatinumUlysse Nardin: Trilogy of Time

According to archeological discoveries, astronomy is one of the oldest preoccupations of mankind. A science dealing with all celestial bodies in the universe, including the planets and their satellites, comets and meteors, the stars and interstellar matter, quasars, the systems known as galaxies, astronomy has aroused the curiosity of ancient people. Concern and questions (fears of eclipses and meteors) resulted in countless myths and many religious beliefs all around the globe.

To the first astronomers, the sky showed unmistakable signs of regular behaviour. Thus the division of time in years (revolution of our Earth around the Sun), in months (moon phases) and days has always been one of the basic principles to govern our lives. In fact, ancient people soon realized that the Sun rose every morning from the east, crossed the sky during the day and set in opposite direction, the west. They soon also noted that daytime and nighttime were unequal in length. The Egyptians may have been the first to discover that the Sun moves completely around the sphere of the fixed stars in approximately 365 days.

The ancient Greeks made important theoretical contributions to astronomy. These were later transmitted to the Syrians, the Hindus and the Arabs, who compiled new star catalogues in the 9th and 10th centuries and subsequently developed tables of planetary motion. The history of astronomy took a dramatic turn in the 16th century as a result of the contributions of the Pole Nicolaus Copernicus. Educated in Italy, he spent most of his life investigating astronomy and became most famous for his great work. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies (1543), in which he refuted the Ptolemaic theory of an Earth-centred universe and demonstrated that the planetary motions can only be explained by assuming a central position of the Sun.

Galileo Galilei, Copernicus, Johannes Kepler: three brilliant names

The Italian Galileo found the evidence to support the Copernican heliocentric theory after the invention of the telescope. Apart from discovering the phases of Venus and four moons orbiting Jupiter, thus proving that Copernicus was right, he made the sensational discovery that the Milky Way is made of a myriad of individual stars. Later, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed the Sun, Moon and planets and carefully noted his findings. His German assistant Joannes Kepler, using this data, formulated the laws of planetary motion, after discovering the elliptical orbits and varying speeds of the different planets.

Sir Isaac Newton advanced the principle of an attractive force between the Sun and each planet, thus providing the basis for the physical interpretation of Kepler?s laws. With the improvement of telescopes, astronomy became a true science. Edmond Halley predicted the return of the comet that now bears his name. Christian Huygens discovered the true nature of the rings of Saturn. Several renowned astronomers added their names to the gallery of famous discoverers: Lagrange, Laplace, Herschel, Leverrier, Adams ? among several others including Albert Einstein.

When Ulysse Nardin launched the first astrolabe wrist-watch in 1985, this was regarded as a small revolution in the rather closed circle of highly complicated timepieces. Conceived by Ludwig Oechslin - who has since regularly signed numerous most useful creations ? the astrolabium was the first of a Trilogy of Time. This very complex instrument indicates the position of the Sun, the Moon and the stars as seen from Earth. It also tells sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk, moon phases, moonrise and moonset, eclipses of sun and moon. The Planetarium Copernicus, which shows the astronomical positions of the five main planets in relation to the Sun and the Earth, was disclosed in 1988.

Third and last instrument of the Trilogy is the Tellurium Johannes Kepler, unveiled in 1992. An incredible timepiece that rotates the Earth as seen from above the North Pole. A tiny flexible spring bends from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn to reveal which part of the Earth is lit by the Sun and to indicate the time and place of sunrise and sunset. Moon phases and eclipses are also shown. The three instruments are all equipped with self-winding perpetual movements.

Because seven years elapsed between the first and last astronomical watches, the instruments have mainly been offered as individual timepieces. The new set consists of a novel presentation of the three instruments. All three watches are embodied in massive platinum cases. The size of the two original instruments has been increased. New dials have been designed to offer a greater harmony between the three pieces. The luxurious presentation box made of black leather features three individual built-in battery operated motors. These new astronomical watches in platinum are only available as a complete set. However, the three original yellow gold individual timepieces are still part of our regular production program.

While revealing the magnificence and splendour of the sky, may astronomy help mankind to rediscover the true sense of beauty of the Universe.