Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin celebrates the Vendée Globe and combats marine plastic pollution with a concept watch born from the ocean.
Around 30 adventurers will set off from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 8th, at the start of the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe, the ineffable non-stop and unassisted yacht race around the world. A circumnavigation of 21,638 nautical miles (40,075 kilometers) which only takes place every four years and for which Ulysse Nardin has the honor of being the Official Timekeeper.
The Swiss watchmaker has been making marine chronometers of incomparable reliability for explorers since 1846 and continues this tradition by supporting the Vendée Globe. This year, the yachtsmen will spend a minimum of 70 days at sea before returning to Les Sables d’Olonne and crossing the finish line. During this odyssey, they will inevitably be confronted with the 5,000 billion pieces of the floating plastic that pollutes the ocean.
Ulysse Nardin has turned its efforts towards researching and developing solutions for the growing plastic pollution crisis in our oceans. The watchmaker has implemented a dedicated research unit to studying materials from the sea, particularly the characteristics of oyster shells, algae, marine PET (plastic bottles) and polyamide fishing nets. The team is currently researching several avenues of sustainable innovation for future watchmaking projects.
In October 2020, Ulysse Nardin marked the first milestone in its commitment to the marine circular economy with the launch of the new “R-STRAP”. The strap made of fishing nets is compatible with the DIVER, MARINE and FREAK X watches and made from recycled fishing nets, one of the main sources of ocean plastic pollution.
Today, Ulysse Nardin is taking their commitment further by introducing the DIVER NET, a concept watch in which each trim element has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. A totally innovative and “upcycled” watch for which the search for suppliers was key.
For the case, middle, back and bezel decoration of the DIVER NET, UlysseNardin has placed its trust in three young Breton designers who have created the first fishing net recycling sector in France. FIL&FAB recovers nets that are no longer in use from harbors and transforms them into polyamide pellets, a raw material that is highly resistant to friction. These partners have an industrial design and transition background, with a real sensitivity to the product.
The research around the DIVER NET has consisted of redesigning its trim elements, leading the watch to feature a wrist strap made from PET plastic from the sea, transformed into reels of thread by the Swiss company TIDE. This supplier is also working to stop the production of virgin plastic at its source and use the huge resources already available.
In its search for low-impact solutions, Ulysse Nardin has also replaced the traditional sapphire glass by a transparent ceramic glass, machined in the Swiss Jura. The transparent ceramic glass is a material used with the goal of having a lower environmental impact by limiting energy when it is manufactured. The innovation department has thus appraised and tested several solutions, which may be extended to other products.
The DIVER NET is a concept watch that explores important environmentally-friendly innovations while keeping the brand’s tradition of brilliant watchmaking alive. In fact, the silicon technology of the UN-118 movement can be admired through the back of its 44mm case. This concept diver watch is equipped with a concave inverted unidirectional bezel, also made of recycled fishing nets, with a curved transparent ceramic glass instead of a traditional sapphire glass.
The white, gray and green dial, with its majestic white “UN” lettering, heralds the mechanical marvel that sits within it. On the hour-markers and hands, the acid green Superluminova makes it easier to see the time in the dark. Green touches – symbolizing nature – are omnipresent: on the dial, bezel, crown protector and on the stitching on the recycled PET strap. The dial also features a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, as well as a date window and a small second hand at 6 o’clock.
UN-118 movement manufacture
Silicon &Diamonsil technology escapement
Power reserve: 60 hours
Small second hand
Power reserve indicator
44 mm, 100% recycled from fishing nets
Glass: Transparent, domed ceramic
Water resistance: 300 m
Bezel decoration 100% recycled from fishing nets
Unidirectional concave and inverted
Oversized white UN lettering
Indexes with green Superluminova
Fabric R-PET with scratch closing
100% recycled PET from the sea
Black with green stitching