Ulysse Nardin, a watch manufacturer known since its inception in 1846 for its close connection to seafaring, has in recent years demonstrated a commitment to ocean-related environmental initiatives. Its latest concept watch represents not only the manufacture’s most aggressive effort yet in combating marine pollution, but also a true first in the watch industry: the Diver Net features an entire case constructed from recycled fishing nets recovered from the oceans.
Other watch brands have used recycled ocean waste for straps, packaging, and other elements — among them Breitling, Oris, and Carl F. Bucherer — but with the Diver Net, Ulysse Nardin has introduced the first timepiece whose case middle, caseback, and bezel insert are formed entirely from polyamide pellets, a friction-resistant raw material that results from the melting down of out-of-use plastic fishing nets harvested from harbors. The strap is also “upcycled,” made from sea-polluting PET plastic pressed into reels of thread, and the crystal, made from transparent ceramic glass rather than sapphire, also represents an environmentally friendly upgrade, as it uses less energy to produce. All in all, the Diver Net — still a concept piece, not a commercial product, though Ulysse Nardin has expressed the intention to eventually produce a version for the market — may be the most sustainably produced luxury watch in existence right now.
To source the case material, Ulysse Nardin turned to the entrepreneurial French firm Fil & Fab, which recovers polyamide netting from the harbors near the port city of Brest, in Brittany. A Swiss company called TIDE provides the recycled PET straps, and another Ulysse Nardin partner in the Swiss Jura is responsible for machining the ceramic crystals. Distinguishing this unique version of Ulysse Nardin’s Diver model are the white-and-gray dial with white “UN” lettering as its background motif, and the numerous details in green — from the “acid green” Super-LumiNova on the hour markers and hands, to the green crown protectors and UN logo on the crown, to the contrast stitching on the strap.
Inside the Diver Net’s 44-mm case is Ulysse Nardin’s Caliber 118, the flagship in-house movement that powers other nautical-themed Ulysse Nardin watches, such as the GPHG-nominated Diver Chronometer. In addition to being a COSC-certified chronometer, the movement has also aced the additional performance tests required for Ulysse Nardin’s own in-house certificate. Other technical highlights include the escapement, the result of a collaboration between Ulysse Nardin and the Swiss firm Sigatec, made of a material called Diamonsil, which consists of synthetic diamond grown on a silicon base; the oscillator with patented inertial balance wheel, and the patented silicon hairspring. Caliber UN-118 carries a fully wound power reserve of approximately 60 hours, which, as in other Diver models, is displayed on the dial in a subdial at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, you’ll find the running seconds and a round date window.
“The sea has always been part of our brand’s DNA and exploration has always been our spearhead,” says Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, about the development of the Diver Net. “There is generally 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. We would be very happy if our innovations were somehow ‘open-source’.”
|Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power-reserve display
|Caliber UN-118, automatic, silicon and Diamondsil escspement technology, oscillator with patented inertial balance wheel, 60-hour power reserve, COSC chronometer certification
|Case middle, caseback, and bezel decoration made from 100% recycled fishing nets, transparent domed ceramic crystal, 300-meter water resistance
|Bracelet and clasp:
|Black fabric strap made from R-PET, 100% recycled from the sea; green contrast stitching
|Diameter = 44 mm
|N/A (Concept Watch)