Ulysse Nardin’s history has forever been intertwined with aquatic life. From very early on, the young watchmaker who started the eponymous company dedicated his work to high-precision chronometry to be used in marine navigation. By 1870, Ulysse Nardin would have already supplied marine chronometers to over 50 of the most formidable navies around the world. With a reputation as profound as UN’s, it’s only natural to see the company still dedicating part of its operations to the nautical side of watchmaking. Through collections such as the Marine Torpilleur and Diver, the heritage is kept very much alive. Yet, as time progresses, so has Ulysse Nardin as it now embraces the preservation of ocean life with the use of innovative, recycled materials in the new Ulysse Nardin The Ocean Race Diver.
The push for sustainability is very much getting up to steam within the watchmaking industry, and we applaud that very much. Through companies like Gyre, Alpina, Oris, Seiko and others, we see more and more initiatives aimed at the protection and preservation of the world’s oceans. And it’s very much needed, as ocean plastics are one of the biggest environmental threats we face today.
Studies show that every year nine million metric tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans. Even the most remote places on earth are contaminated by some form of plastics. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, primarily containing plastics and floating somewhere between Hawaii and California, is said to be twice the size of France. And this isn’t the only patch that’s out there, growing in size and threatening life as we know it. Whichever way you look at it, something needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.
Thankfully, plenty of initiatives are aiming to deal with this global issue and make an impact one way or another. Some of these end up collaborating within the watchmaking industry we hold so dear to our hearts. Recycled plastics converted into watch straps, or even cases are a reoccurring sight nowadays, and Ulysse Nardin now joins the mix as it partners with The Ocean Race.
The Ocean Race
The Ocean Race (formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race) is one of the world’s most prolific competitive sailing events and sees teams sail pretty much around the world. The first edition was held in 1973 and ever since it has been a groundbreaking event in sailing, much like The America’s Cup. This year will mark the 14th edition of The Ocean Race, starting in Alicante, Spain and finishing in Genoa, Italy after a seven-leg race around the world. This edition will be raced across two categories, the IMOCA 60 class, and the Volvo Ocean 65 class.
Sustainability is a big part of The Ocean Race, and the racing series wants to be a catalyst for change to protect and preserve our oceans. Together with partner 11th Hour Racing, The Ocean Race gas developed its innovative Racing With Purpose program. It’s not just a commitment to host The Ocean Race responsibly and as sustainable, but also includes scientific initiatives, education programs and high-level global summits to raise attention to the matter and create an impact. Hosting cities are also involved in using The Ocean Race platform to further raise awareness and take action.
For more information, please visit TheOceanRace.com
The Ulysse Nardin The Ocean Race Diver
So what do we have here then? Is it merely a commercial version of the concept watch presented in 2020? No, not really, even though it shares the same aesthetics. Ulysse Nardin has pushed the concept of the original piece to new levels by incorporating new materials and further enhancements to the construction of the watch.
The Ulysse Nardin The Ocean Race Diver comes in a 44mm diameter case, similar to the Diver Net Concept. However, the material used has changed from 100% recycled fishing nets (NYLO) to a 60/40 mix of recycled fishnets and Carbonium for the case and caseback, combined with recycled stainless steel for some of the components. This gives the case more rigidity compared to the 2020 concept watch. The unidirectional diving bezel is made with Carbonium as well, used in aircraft parts. This material has a 40% lower environmental impact than traditional carbon.
The dial uses the same basic design as the Diver Net Concept Watch, but with a more pronounced look. Overall, the dial is darker and has a more grained textured finish. The X-shape is still there, with green contrasting lines and a vertical brushing. The applied hour markers are given a good dose of Super-LumiNova, as well as all the hands. The oversized central hands indicate the hour and minutes, with a small second subdial with an integrated date display in the bottom half and a power reserve indication in the top half. Everything is a mix of black, grey, white and green.
Turning the watch over reveals the NYLO (the recycled fishing nets) and Carbonium caseback, but also the UN-118 manufacture movement. Up to 95% of the components used in this movement are sourced from partners and suppliers within a 30km radius of the Manufacture, reducing the carbon emission needed for the manufacturing process and logistics. It also uses silicium parts and DiamonSil escapement technology. The movement uses 50 jewels, runs at a rate of 28,800vph and provides 60 hours of power reserve. The rotor is unique to the Ulysse Nardin The Ocean Race Diver, with a green base for the brand’s logo. The Ocean Race logo is printed in white, on the inside of the sapphire crystal.
Ulysse Nardin has updated the design and colours of the strap for The Ocean Race Diver watch. While previously in black, it now has a more subtle grey tone that matches the dial, combined with green and white stitching. It’s attached to the wrist with a hook-and-loop buckle system. The watch is packaged in a waterproof R-PET pouch, presented inside a Helly Hansen dry bag made from recycled ocean plastics. It is limited to 200 pieces and retails for EUR 10,400.
With this watch, Ulysse Nardin further solidifies its devotion to reducing the company’s carbon footprint and making an impact on the environmental issues that are threatening our oceans as best as they can. This is a growing trend within the industry and every little step that can bring us closer to preserving and protecting our oceans, and world for that matter, for future generations is welcome. Next to encouraging and embracing upcycled waste materials in their watches, Ulysse Nardin is also supporting scientific research concerning the preservation of sharks.
For more information, please visit Ulysse-Nardin.com