Of all the creatures in the world’s oceans, sharks may be the most misunderstood by humankind. Often feared and reviled as vicious maneaters, the vast majority of shark species are not aggressive towards humans but form a vital role in ocean ecosystems as apex predators. The lemon shark is a perfect example of this. Found mainly off the coast of Florida, lemon sharks use their yellow coloration to blend in with the sea floor and ambush their preferred diet of fish and crustaceans. Despite posing no threat to humans, the lemon shark is currently listed as near threatened in its natural habitat due to human activity. Ulysse Nardin, with its extensive aquatic ties, has long been a supporter of ocean conservation, and for its latest release the brand has joined forces with Florida International University and environmental nonprofit OCEARCH to bring awareness to these creatures. The new limited edition Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark is designed to commemorate this collaborative effort, and brings a clean and aggressive new edge to the brand’s entry-level modernist diver line.
Measuring in at 42mm, the black DLC coated stainless steel case of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark follows the bold and contemporary pattern of the brand’s long running Diver line. The Diver series’ cues, from the stepped character line framing the tapering lugs, to the chunky gear-toothed dive bezel with its partially rubberized striped bezel insert are present here, but the use of brushed and blasted black DLC finishes imbues this familiar shape with a stealthy and masculine new character. Ulysse Nardin cuts through this dark monochrome look with jolts of vibrant lemon yellow on the bezel and the signed crown, along with an eye-catching yellow gasket for the sapphire crystal. The other new injection of personality comes courtesy of the solid caseback, with a highly detailed and textured engraving of three lemon sharks swimming in formation. Like the standard Diver, the Diver Lemon Shark is rated for a robust 300 meters of water resistance.
As with the case, the dial of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark takes the brand’s familiar design cues and reframes them with a masculine new colorway. The dial surface itself is sandblasted for a textured matte black look, allowing the brightwork of the polished applied indices and paddle hands to stand out dramatically. Likewise, the lemon yellow pops of the seconds hand, minutes track, and the 6 o’clock dial text add enough color to stand out in images, but do little to overpower the prevailing moody black feel of the design. This moodiness is further emphasized by the Diver Lemon Shark’s unique “shark gray” lume fill, reducing contrast for a more tactical modern style. Lastly, like previous 42mm iterations of the Ulysse Nardin Diver, the Diver Lemon Shark’s circular date window at 6 o’clock adds useful functionality without disrupting visual symmetry or any of the indices.
Ulysse Nardin powers the Diver Lemon Shark with the Sellita SW300-based UN-816 automatic movement. Setting aside the ramifications of using a third-party movement in this price range, the UN-816’s performance is underwhelming even for what is ostensibly the brand’s entry-level sports watch line. The power reserve for the UN-816 is set at 42 hours at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Ulysse Nardin completes the conservation-inspired design of the Diver Lemon Shark with its unique R-STRAP system. This hook-and-loop fastened fabric strap is made from 100 percent recycled materials, reclaimed from fishing nets recovered off the coast of France, with a metal fastener in black DLC coated titanium and contrast stitching in matching lemon yellow.
While mechanically unspectacular, the limited-edition Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark offers an aggressive contemporary look that drastically changes the feel of the base Diver line while drawing attention to the crucial preservation of ocean wildlife. Only 300 examples of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark will be made, available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $7,300. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.