The link between Ulysse Nardin and the sea has always been emphasised. For decades, the brand was a reputable maker of marine chronometers and timing instruments for sea explorers. The brand continues this tradition as the Official Timekeeper of the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe, the gruelling non-stop and unassisted yacht race around the world. But that’s not all… Ulysse Nardin also wants to make our planet a better, cleaner place. In this instance, the brand has turned its efforts towards researching and developing solutions for the growing plastic pollution crisis in our oceans, which led to the creation of the DIVER NET, a concept watch made from recycled fishing nets.
The sea has been part of Ulysse Nardin’s DNA for decades. The brand, as such, owes much to the oceans and there’s “a strong willingness and interest of the staff members to support initiatives to improve the brand’s environmental performance. Our intention is not to be the first to innovate with sustainable materials, but rather to show the watch industry that it is possible to make our customers aware of recycled materials, even for luxury items,” says Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin.
For this reason, Ulysse Nardin is teaming up with three young French designers who have created the first fishing net recycling sector in France, under the name FIL&FAB. This start-up company recovers nets that are no longer in use from harbours and transforms them into polyamide pellets, a raw material that is highly resistant to friction. This follows UN’s first initiative with the launch of its new “R-STRAP” made from recycled fishing nets, one of the main sources of ocean plastic pollution. Now, the brand pushes the idea further, as the entire case/strap is made from eco-friendly materials – a concept that was already explored by Gyre Watches and Alpina.
The result is a watch named DIVER NET, based on the existing Diver X 44mm model. If the look, shape and overall mechanical base are identical, the new model (still a concept watch for now) replaces most materials with environmentally friendly, low-impact solutions. The case and caseback are made from a material that used to be, a while ago, part of a fishing net. In the same vein, the bezel and its insert (classically presented with a 60-minute scale) are also made from recycled PET. Some green elements are found all around the watch, for instance on the crown protection, the indexes of the bezel and the strap’s stitching – the strap is, of course, also made from recycled fishing nets.
In order to reduce environmental impact, the Ulysse Nardin DIVER NET also replaces its sapphire crystals with a new material known as transparent ceramic glass. This special glass is machined in the Swiss Jura and necessitates fewer resources than sapphire to be produced. All of these solutions have been brought to life by UN’s innovation department and the DIVER NET is there to test these materials, which may be extended to other normal products in the future.
The dial of this concept model is bold, with a light grey colour enlightened by acid green touches and an imposing combination of an X and the UN letters. The display, on the other hand, remains that of a traditional marine chronometer, with central minutes and hours, a small seconds at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. A date is also included. This concept watch is powered by the brand’s in-house automatic calibre UN-118, with a 60h power reserve and signature Silicon & Diamonsil technology escapement. It is visible through a display back.
The Ulysse Nardin DIVER NET is a concept watch that won’t be for sale, as such… The technologies applied could, however, be used in the near future in commercial watches, as the brand is convinced that recycled materials are a necessity for the future and no initiatives should be considered too small.
More details can be found at www.ulysse-nardin.com.