Live Pics: Ulysse Nardin Takes the Lead in Sustainable Luxury by Partnering with The Ocean Race
The Official Timing Partner of the around-the-world sailing challenge The Ocean Race 2022-23, Ulysse Nardin redoubles its sustainability efforts by releasing the Diver X The Ocean Race 44mm made from upcycled fishing nets.
When a watch brand releases a model or collection that features materials made from upcycled plastic or ocean detritus, some wonder what the brand is trying to accomplish.
Is it trying to “green up” the company and its manufacturing processes? Are brands trying to attract younger consumers who tend to show extreme loyalty to brands that are more eco-conscious? Or, perhaps, these brands are genuinely concerned about climate change and feel ethically bound to do their part.
Whatever the reason, I welcome any action that moves in the direction of greater sustainability.
Besides, at its core, watchmaking is already an environmentally friendly industry, especially when compared to other kinds of consumer products. Think about it: Can you think of any other type of consumer good meant for daily use that has a life cycle as long as a watch? We can’t either.
No doubt that, sustainably speaking, this is great news for the watch industry, but it can still do more. Enter: Ulysse Nardin.
Ulysse Nardin & The Ocean Race Partnership
As a brand, Ulysse Nardin’s deep ties to the ocean stretch back to its founding in 1846. So, it only seemed natural when, in January, the brand announced its new partnership with The Ocean Race.
Together these two institutions vow to make a positive impact on ocean conservation efforts. “Ulysse Nardin stood up for us out of the whole watch industry because we share the same values, and it’s a sort of heritage of us both coming from the ocean,” noted CEO of The Ocean Race Richard Brisius.
We all know, but somehow still take for granted, that over 70% of our planet is ocean. Yet, sadly, many still fail to realize that the oceans also provide the planet with half of its breathable air. That is why, by 2030, scientists across several disciplines say that we need to protect at least 30% of the ocean for climate stability, food security, and the global economy.
“Both of us wanted to do something in our own area that can be translated into actions,” Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, added. “The same way that The Ocean Race is going to put together some initiatives like the Racing with Purpose program, summits, or innovation workshops all over the world, at UN, we are going to raise advocacy and awareness and take action.”
From Concept to Collection
This week, fewer than two years after the launch of the Diver Net, an experimental concept watch that used innovative eco-friendly materials, Ulysse Nardin presented tangible proof of its deep commitment to ocean conservation while at The Ocean Race’s headquarters in Alicante, Spain. Ulysse Nardin introduced its first model in the Diver The Ocean Race collection: the Diver X The Ocean Race 44mm.
For this project, Ulysse Nardin teamed up with the French start-up Fil&Fab, the first fishing net-recycling company. The granules that result from Fil&Fab’s recycling process are used to create Nylo, a new sustainable raw material.
On the Diver X The Ocean Race 44mm, Nylo makes up 60% of the watch’s caseback and sides. Meanwhile, CARBONIUM makes up the remaining 40%. Additionally, recycled stainless steel (waste materials from the car industry) is used for the rest of case components. Finally, the strap, created by JTTI in France, is 100% recycled material made from fishing nets.
Another important part of this watch is its UN-118 calibre movement. As Patrick Pruniaux commented, “We wanted to make sure that the watch, which belongs to the luxury world, remains desirable. So we had to make sure that the aesthetics didn’t compromise the quality of the timepiece.”
As you can clearly see, the design codes of the Diver X The Ocean Race, with its green and gray tones color scheme, were directly inspired by the Diver Net. Yes, the dial on the Diver X is more subdued than the Diver Net – the extra-large white UN initials are gone to make way for a more neutral textured anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment – but its parentage is still obvious.
Building a Sustainable Story with The Ocean Race
In addition to Ulysse Nardin becoming the Official Timing Partner of The Ocean Race, the brand is also the timing partner for the Racing with Purpose program.
The next Ocean Race will start from Alicante on January 15, 2023. However, since the race only happens in four-year intervals, the concern was how to maintain interest in global ocean conservation between races and ultimately foster increased ocean literacy, changes in behavior, sustainability in race villages, and more. But achievement of these goals became possible thanks to the Racing with Purpose program.
“It’s a program based on three areas: impact, footprint, and legacy,” Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Director for The Ocean Race, explained to us. “We are looking at how we organize the major sport events, measuring the total impact and finding solutions to reduce it, creating a net positive impact in order to restore our ecosystem, and showcaseing sustainable innovation. We also use the voice that the event has as we are sure that sport can change the world, and it’s a powerful tool to raise awareness, advocate, and engage.”
To learn more about the program, visit The Ocean Race’s website.
Pricing & Availability
The 200-piece limited edition Diver X The Ocean Race 44mm is available now for $11,500.
Starting in June 2022, the timepiece will be sold in a water-resistant R-PET pouch slipped into a dry bag recycled from the sea by Helly Hansen, the official clothing supplier of the round-the-world race. For more information, visit the Ulysse Nardin website.
(Photography by Watchonista)