Like a message of gratitude delivered to the ocean, Ulysse Nardin focuses its efforts on the search for recyclable materials recovered from the sea. From the ocean to the wrist, DIVER NET is an innovative solution, a concept watch designed to limit its environmental impact and promote sustainability at the level of excellence.
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, Ulysse Nardin 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.
“A design object is creating one which has been thought out from start to finish to fulfill its functions without damaging the environment. Our association with Ulysse Nardin is natural: it is inevitably first and foremost linked to the sea, to Ulysses, the Odyssey, adventure, exploration, gusts of wind, salt spray and so on. We also share the desire to produce reliable objects, made to last, while reducing the ecological impact. Today, we are devoting our energy to trying to curb environmental problems, and no initiatives should be considered too small. Recycled materials are a necessity for the future.”
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.
“The sea has always been part of our brand’s DNA and exploration has always been our spearhead. 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’.”