Ulysse Nardin: Diver The Ocean Race18 May 2022
The beginning of a new era for Ulysse Nardin. The Swiss watchmaker has been making marine chronometers of incomparable reliability for explorers since 1846. Today’s navigators are inevitably confronted with plastic pollution, with 5,000 billion pieces floating at sea. Fishing nets (mainly made of polyamide) are one of the main sources of this Ocean plastic pollution: up to 640,000 metric tons are lost or abandoned each year, joining the nine million metric tons of plastic discharged into the sea.
“How can we transform some of this plastic into a luxury item? With the help of start-ups such as FIL&FAB, we have successfully managed to fabricate and sell watches derived from recycled fishing nets,” announced Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin.
In June 2022, the new Ulysse Nardin DIVER THE OCEAN RACE made from recycled fishing nets will become the first sustainable luxury watch to be put on the market and offered in a limited edition of 200 pieces. It confirms the global trend of the luxury sector towards upcycling, already adopted by the high fashion industry. The goal is to raise awareness by creating “new from old” and regenerating materials, especially plastic. Ulysse Nardin is conclusively making the change towards the circular economy with this movement of regeneration of nets. Thanks to the work of the French start-up FIL&FAB, the brand thus puts the spotlight on a “less noble” material enhanced by a “100% Manufacture” watchmaker’s approach, making the object as desirable as if it were designed in a more conventional material than polyamide.
THE NEW DIVER THE OCEAN RACE
Ulysse Nardin’s designers meticulously decorated the watch, water-resistant up to 300 m, with touches of bright green, a reflection of nature. These are everywhere: from the stitching on the strap to the markers and bezel, including the “double X” signature of the dial, the power reserve indicator at midday, the small seconds hand at 6 o’clock, the Ulysse Nardin logo etched onto the crown, the crown protector, and the individual plate. A combination of white, gray and black completes the color palette of the watch, which beats to the rhythm of the Manufacture’s iconic movement, the UN-118, with its silicium technology.
The components of this movement are 95% sourced within a 30 km radius of the Manufacture, half of them coming from recycling channels (recycled steel and brass in particular: 100% of Ulysse Nardin movements make use of recycled brass). THE OCEAN RACE DIVER embodies innovation and tradition, since its movement retains its historical know-how. The caliber of a watch of this quality being by nature a sustainable product since it works on wrist power.
The dial is more toned down than the concept version of the DIVER NET even if there is still an obvious parenthood: the white U and N initials in extra-large capital letters have disappeared to make way for a neutral textured anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment. The iconic double X is still in its place, stamped on the dial with its half-matt half-satin finish.
On the case back, the sapphire crystal is embellished with a white transfer of the logo of the brand’s partner, The Ocean Race.
THE USE OF CARBONIUM®
The unidirectional bezel is entirely decorated with Carbonium® (Lavoisier Composites). Carbonium® is made of the same fibers that are used for the fuselage and wings of the latest-generation aircrafts. The manufacture of Carbonium® has a 40% lower environmental impact than other carbon composites, since it makes use of the offcuts of aircraft parts. Created using a complex process under high pressure at high temperature, Carbonium® is a high-performance material that reveals the inner beauty of the organic pattern formed by carbon fibers that have a diameter of only 7 μm. The use of such a regenerated material again clearly underlines the brand’s spirit of boldness and innovation. Its strength-to-lightness ratio is incomparable and its superb marbling effect makes each case an absolutely unique piece.
NYLO® , CARBONIUM® AND STEEL AT LEAST 80-85% RECYCLED
The side-case and case-back of the 44 mm THE OCEAN RACE DIVER’s are the result of an interesting combination of materials: 40% Carbonium® (Lavoisier Composites) and 60% polyamide recycled from fishing nets, Nylo® (FIL&FAB). Ulysse Nardin has placed its trust in young Breton designers who have created the very first fishing net recycling business in France. FIL&FAB, a start-up in the field of industrial design and transition, recovers disused nets in French fishing ports and recycles them in the form of polyamide granules called Nylo®.
Building on this 360° upcycling virtuous spiral, Ulysse Nardin’s engineering office teams have taken their eco-responsible approach further and selected a type of recycled steel for certain watch case components, at least 80% recycled where the case back is concerned. The renowned Austrian steelworks of Voestalpine Boehler, a supplier of the brand, has embarked on a process of comprehensive sustainable transformation and is actively focusing its efforts on supplying its watchmaking customers with very high-quality steel, guaranteed recycled and soon to be guaranteed upcycled. Thus, the steel that adorns part of THE OCEAN RACE DIVER, 80 to 85% recycled, comes from an automotive industry steel recycling channel.
The strap with scratch closing is also fully recycled from fishing nets, transformed into reels of yarn by the French company JTTI.
From June 2022, THE OCEAN RACE DIVER will be sold in an original pack: a water-resistant R-PET pouch slipped into a dry bag recycled from the sea by Helly Hansen, a brand that is also a partner of the round-the-world race as the official clothing supplier, at a price of CHF 10,900.