BY ERIK SLAVEN
Watches comprised of recycled materials, particularly from the ocean, are trending these days with models like the Aikon #tide from Maurice Lacroix. Ulysse Nardin introduced the DIVER NET concept watch in 2020 that recycled fishing nets and PET, and was based on the 44mm Diver X. That piece never went into production, but the latest UN Diver: The Ocean Race model is a limited edition for the wrists of customers. It looks like the prior concept watch, but the materials and approach to recycling are different. The former was comprised mostly of fishing nets and a little PET, while the latter uses 60% fishing nets and 40% Carbonium for the case with recycled stainless steel for additional components.
The case is 44mm in diameter, identical to the 2020 concept, but with more rigidity from the additional materials. The unidirectional bezel has a Carbonium insert, an aeronautical grade carbon fiber commonly used for the fuselage and wings of aircraft. It’s around 40% more sustainable than conventional carbon and the insert has a detailed 15-minute scale and green 5-minute marks. Carbonium also has a distinctive, abstract pattern and the steel bezel itself has a series of notches in lieu of knurling. This steel is at least 80% recycled and comes from automotive waste (Austrian sourced by Voestalpine Böhler). The crown screws down and is embossed with a green UN logo, and it’s partially guarded by green inserts. These actually look like flat chronograph pushers, but they’re static. The exhibition case back is secured via six screws and THE OCEAN RACE is printed on the underside of the glass. Both crystals are sapphire, unlike the 2020 concept that used Swiss-made transparent ceramic. Water-resistance is rated at 300 meters, so this is a bonified pro diver.
The dial has a grey textured finish and the overall aesthetic is similar to the concept watch. A large, brushed X dominates the background and is comprised of multiple pieces with narrow green stripes. A small seconds sub-dial sits at 6 o’clock with an integrated date window, while a power reserve indicator is positioned at 12 o’clock. Large, applied indices with Super-LumiNova mark the hours, while the hour, minute and sub-dial hands have Super-LumiNova inserts as well. It’s a cool yet busy dial with a bit of a superhero, X-Men vibe (that X kind of does it), but it’s very legible nonetheless.
Powering the watch is the in-house UN-118 automatic that’s light on decorations, but well finished with nice brushing and circular Côtes de Genève. It has 50 jewels, beats at 4Hz with a 60-hour power reserve. It’s also a COSC-certified chronometer with a silicon and DiamonSil (silicon coated with diamond) escapement.
The strap is grey NYLO from recycled fishing nets with white and green stitching. It has a hook and loop buckle (think Velcro) and the watch comes in a waterproof, R-PET pouch within a Helly Hansen dry bag that’s comprised of recycled ocean plastic. The UN Diver: The Ocean Race watch (ref. 1183-170LE-1A-TOR/0A) is limited to 200 pieces and retails for EUR 10,400/USD 11,600. The Ocean Race itself is among the most popular and demanding sailing events and Ulysse Nardin will be the official timekeeper for the next race starting in Alicante, Spain, in January 2023. Both Ulysse Nardin and The Ocean Race are committed to cleaning the oceans and removing hazardous fishing nets and plastic that are severe threats to aquatic wildlife.
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