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Our Ulysses

The explorers, athletes and artists associated with Ulysse Nardin are adventure-seeing and intrepid men and women who answer only to their own fierce ambitions.

Benjamin Dutreux

Skipper

Benjamin Dutreux is a consummate sportsman, environmentalist and a true Ulysses. His foundation - The Water Family - aims to put sport at the service of the environment and raise awareness in children about the importance of water in our environment and health. The Water Family also teaches them how to protect our planet through tracing the natural cycle of water and using ecological means to preserve this precious resource.

Born in 1990 in Villeneuve d’Ascq, northern France, Benjamin spent his summers in the Vendée region, sailing on his grandfather’s boat. At fifteen, he began studying at a boarding school in the Sables d’Olonne, point of departure for the Vendée Globe, and never looked back. After starting a boat renovation company with his brother, Dutreux went on to take 5th place in the Solitaire Urgo le Figaro race in 2018, cementing his place as a stellar, solo skipper.

Dutreux will take his place on the starting line of the Vendée Globe race for the first time on November 8th, 2020 aboard the OMIA – Water Family, weighing anchor on his most daring odyssey to date.

Beanjamin Dutreux

Alexia Barrier

Skipper

Alexia Barrier

Alexia Barrier was bornin 1979 on the Côte d’Azur, southern France and began her personal odyssey sailing with her parents at age three. At fifteen she had become a sailing teacher and by twenty years of age she had already covered over 120 000 miles of ocean and participated in fifteen transatlantic races, including five solo challenges. In 2009 she created 4MyPlanet and became the first woman to attempt a solo, around-the-world journey in order to collect data from the ocean’s surface. Her expedition was followed online by over 10,000 children from France to South Africa to New York City.

In 2014 she came in third place on the Transat AG2R La Mondiale. She also earned a third-place position in the Transat Ag2r 2014, a third place in the Normandy Channel Race in 2017 and a 15th position in the Route du Rhum in 2018. One of Ulysse Nardin’s few female “Ulysses”, Barrier qualified for her first Vendée Globe race in 2020, when she will take the helm of 4MyPlanet, a 60-foot Imoca yacht built in 1998, a legendary vessel that has already completed six trips around the world.

Alexia Barrier arrival

Sébastien Destremau

French-Australian sailor and navigator

Sébastien Destremau

French/Australian skipper and navigator Sebastien Destremau, winner of the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race – considered by some to be the most difficult sailing race in the world – decided to try an even greater challenge in 2016; the Vendée Globe, the supreme challenge of the sport’s most daunting around-the-world solo race. Overcoming technical troubles, lack of food and even a cracked hull, he accomplished his goal, crossing the finish line 124 days later at Sables d’Olonne to a conquering hero’s welcome. The five-time world champion has also represented France at the Olympic Games.

They are real-life heroes who embody the philosophy of the brand; heeding the call to create their own destiny from dreams, ambitions and courage.

Ben Lecomte

Swimmer

In 2019 French-born marathon athlete Ben Lecomte became the first to swim over 330 nautical miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 80 days. In accomplishing this audacious and challenging feat, he set a new world record, duly acknowledged in 2020 by the Guinness Book of World Records. Accompanied by I Am Ocean, a yacht with a citizen scientist crew collecting data and samples, Lecomte’s mission was to analyze the amount and type of plastic in the water as well as its impact on the ecosystem currently as it swirls around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In 2018, Ben attempted a stage swim from Tokyo, Japan to San Francisco, California to bring attention to the declining state of our ocean and collect valuable data and sample on key indicators for his scientific partners. Lecomte’s Ulyssean effort was recorded in a short series of films titled The Swim. Lecomte clocked 8 hours per day in the water and experienced many of the same corporal repercussions as astronauts do in space. His physical progression was constantly monitored by a team of scientists who had an unparal-leled opportunity to study the way such an extensive cardiovascular activity impacts human physiognomy - invaluable information for understanding the long-term effects of living in a zero-gravity environment. Lecomte and his crew also recorded 3000 hours of submarine sounds emitted by whales and dolphins with the goal of studying a way to eliminate the effects of human “sound pollution” on marine life as he swam through the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic polluting the Pacific Ocean.

Ben Lecomte
Ben Lecomte sous l'eau

Fred Buyle

Fearless Free Diver

Fred Buyle

Underwater explorer, Buyle has spent most of the last three decades beneath the surface of the seas capturing images in the watery depths with just a camera, available light and one breath of air. Sunlight, water, air. Fred Buyle is using his underwater photography to change the way we see the seas. Thanks to his bold exploration, we can marvel at the icebergs of Antarctica from an orca’s point of view, swim with sharks, and look up from 60m below the surface at the sun shining through the water.

Without disrupting the fragile marine environment, Buyle uses his artistic background to capture little-seen animals of the deep on film, tagging them for biologists in the process. Able to reach 60m on one lungful of air with his camera, his images are taken with natural light and one breath of air. Belgian-born Buyle is specialized in capturing images of sharks in their natural habitats, without a protective cage, diving freely with iconic species such as hammerheads, tigers and even great white sharks.

Alessia Zecchini

Free Diver

Alessia Zecchini

She is the current world record holder in Constant Weight Apnea (CWA) an astonishing 113 meters (“the deepest woman in the world”) and Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) world record holder in Dynamic Apnea having reached 250 meters. She has won 16 Gold Medals in the World Championships and holds twenty-five world records in almost all the disciplines of freediving. A “talisman” Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver on her wrist, Alessia plunges to the depths beneath the waves, Xploring the wonders of the ocean like the modern-day Ulysses she is.

Born in Rome in 1992, Alessia began free diving when she was just thirteen. At 16 she took her first formal course in apnea diving at the Apnea Blu Mare Society but, according to federal rules, had to wait until she was 18 before officially entering into competition.

Alessia Zecchini sous l'eau

These fresh affiliations are not only further proof of the brand’s desire to foster independent voyagers but also an invitation to explore your inner Ulysses and design your own odyssey.

Carsten Peter

Volcanologist, photographer, filmmaker,
biologist, adventurer.

Carsten Peter

Carsten Peter, a World Press Photo award winner and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, specializes in going to extremes: scuba diving in a glacier on Mont Blanc, crossing the Sahara on a camel, caving in Borneo. He is always living on the edge with his camera, searching for where nature is still pure and where his survival will depend on his wits and his skills as a technical climber, paraglider, caver, diver, and canyoneer.

He is enthusiastically obsessed with devising innovative photographic techniques to capture never-before-seen images from some of the scariest environments on the planet. His many adventures include braving toxic caverns and acid waterfalls to shoot within the deepest ice shafts on earth, rappelling into active vol-canoes with turbulent lava lakes and superheated thermal caves, and breaking altitude records while flying his motorized paraglider.

In addition to his World Press award – for his coverage of tornadoes while stormchasing in the American West – he has received an Emmy Award for his videography from inside an active volcano in the South Pa-cific. Photographer, filmmaker, biologist and adventurer, Carsten embodies the Ulysse Nardin spirit and the desire each one of us has within us to embark on our own Odyssey.

Sebastian Copeland

Photographer

Sebastian Copeland

Sebastian Copeland is a photographer who uses his artistic work to communicate messages of urgent global significance. Sebastian’s images have been seen around the world and his books are a reference for modern explorers as well as for those merely curious about the extreme climate; the cold, dry and windblown, least inhabited continent on Earth. On the centennial 2011-2012 season of the South Pole, with partner Eric McNair-Landry, Sebastian spent more than his fair share of time in the field, witnessing this marvel of time untouched firsthand. He led the first East/West transcontinental crossing of Antarctica by skis and kites via two of its poles, setting three world records over the 4100 kilometers during an expedition through the polar desert that lasted a grueling 82 days. Sebastian is planning a new expedition to cross the Arctic Ocean in 2021.

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