In celebration of the Vendee Globe, a solo around the world yacht race, watchmaker Ulysse Nardin looks to the open sea to unveil the “Diver Net” concept watch with ocean conservation top of mind. Global exploration and protecting the environment are central values at Ulysse Nardin. In addition to in-house research and development, recent initiatives include seeking out innovative upstart companies to help them develop environmentally thoughtful new materials and practices.
“We wanted to demonstrate with the concept of the Diver Net that we can use marine waste to produce a very high-quality luxurious product,” explains Patrick Pruniaux, President and CEO of Ulysse Nardin, via a digital presentation.
For the past few years, the definition of luxury has been slowly evolving, now incorporating important concepts like recyclability and sustainability. At the start of one of the most adventurous and unique sailing races this month, Ulysse Nardin has found the perfect moment to bring attention to finding a solution to one of the critical issues of the planet, global warming.
The Diver Net is a concept watch linked to UN’s Diver X series dedicated to the Vendee Globe, an unrelenting yacht race that takes place every four years, referred to as the “Everest of the Sea.” For approximately four months, solo sailors face grueling conditions of the Atlantic and Southern oceans in mono-hull yachts without stops, support, or technical assistance. Named after the Département of Vendée, the French port where the race starts and ends, brave sailors circumnavigate the globe for over 40,000 kilometers in the earth’s roughest seas.
The first element of the new Diver Net was creating a new “R-Strap,” a strap made of recycled fishing nets, one of the primary sources of ocean plastic pollution. This marks U.N.’s first collaboration with Fil&Fab, France’s first net recycling center in charge of collecting used plastic nets. In France alone, over 800 tons of polyamide waste gets created annually.
While searching for additional low-impact solutions, Ulysse Nardin has also been experimenting with replacing the traditional sapphire glass with transparent ceramic glass, still in a testing phase. The use of ceramic glass, showing positive results, gets used here for the concept Diver Net, with the possibility for use in the rest of the collection if testing continues to go well.
“For me, this project is very important, and it’s very dear to me because it’s a project that started more than three years ago. We’ve been exploring different types of materials, internally working on exploring what would be the best way to bring together a product that would encapsulate some of the best technologies available today,” says Pruniaux.
Featuring silicon-based technology in the UN-118 movement, the rest of the concept watch looks to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The concave uni-directional bezel is also made from fishing nets, and green design details, including the acid green SuperLuminova, allude to its links to nature. A power reserve indicator at twelve, a date window, and a small second hand at six add to the useful functionality.
World champion snowboarder, Olympic medalist, and surfer Mathieu Crepel is the face of the “Diver Net” concept, the perfect ambassador with links to The Water Family, an organization dedicated to promoting a healthy planet. “They [Ulysse Nardin] are at the forefront in working with the noblest and durable materials. This recycled plastic, in turn, becomes a raw material that is used for an exceptional product. This is an important brand statement; manufacturing luxury goods now requires a global approach,” says Crepel.
The ultimate goal of the Diver Net is to inspire the shutting down of new plastic production worldwide, therefore reducing marine pollution levels. With the recycling of fishing nets, Ulysse Nardin has come up with a concrete start to help in this process. Without a doubt, recycled materials are a necessity for the future.