May 21, 2022
Even in the modern age of high-tech streamlined yachts and precise, reliable GPS, circumnavigating the globe in a wind-powered vessel is no small achievement. Even many top-flight yacht races confine themselves to short jaunts around harbors or up and down coastlines. The Ocean Race, on the other hand, is different. Scheduled to begin in Alicante, Spain on January 15, 2023, this grueling event will see teams of seven to 10 sailors brave temperatures from below freezing to blazing tropical heat with a single change of clothes, survive on freeze-dried rations to save overall weight, and compete around the globe. The planned route features stops in Cabo Verde off the coast of Mauritania, Cape Town, Itajaí, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island, Aarhus, Denmark, Kiel, Germany, and The Hague, before finishing in Genova, Italy. Ulysse Nardin’s long history of marine timepieces makes it a natural partner for the event, and to celebrate this upcoming race the brand has announced a new limited-edition design with a forward-thinking focus on ocean-sourced recycled materials. Building on 2020’s Diver Net concept watch, the new limited edition Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race carries a deep commitment to ocean conservation in nearly every component, without sacrificing style or durability.
Although the general form of the Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race’s 44mm-wide case is shared with the rest of the Diver line, this particular model’s unique construction sets it well apart from its titanium cousins. The main outer case body, including the mid-case, lugs, and caseback, is made from a proprietary composite material. 60 percent of this deep matte black composite is NYLO, a synthetic polyamide made from fishing nets sourced from the world’s oceans. For the remaining 40 percent, Ulysse Nardin turns to Carbonium, its proprietary carbon composite blend. The resulting blend should be lightweight, durable, and exceptionally scratch resistant, but Ulysse Nardin looks to counteract carbon’s tendency to shatter under heavy impact with a stainless steel inner case made from 80 percent recycled automotive components. Other elements including the Diver line’s distinctively chunky gear-toothed unidirectional bezel are also rendered in this same recycled steel, while the dramatically mottled bezel insert is Carbonium sourced from recycled aircraft parts. The brand makes this already striking color combination even more impactful with highlights in vibrant lime green, including elements of the bezel’s dive scale and a low-profile set of crown guards. The Diver The Ocean Race’s sapphire display caseback is topped by a printed The Ocean Race emblem, and the brand rates the watch for a more-than-seaworthy 300 meters of water resistance.
While the Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race’s case brings together novel ideas for both color and material, the dial remains much more closely tied to existing series themes. The granite gray ruthenium main dial surface is dominated by the line’s distinctive raised “X” motif in images, adding a sharply brushed contrast to the heavily grained matte surfacing of the lower dial layer. Ulysse Nardin also keeps the Diver line’s unorthodox layout intact here, with a small 12 o’clock power reserve subdial, a distinctive squared-off paddle handset, and an oversized running seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. This 6 o’clock subdial also provides a showcase for the brand’s dial finishing techniques, with sectors in pale gray azurage, darker matte gray, and an accent ring in alternating gloss black and lime green segments. More green accents give the raised “X” segment and the 12 o’clock subdial an injection of ultramodern, masculine energy in images, while tying in cohesively with the case design. Ulysse Nardin’s smoothly integrated circular 6 o’clock date window rounds out the dial layout, with a deft and legible execution that maintains dial symmetry.
Like many other offerings in the series, the Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race is powered by the UN-118 manufacture automatic movement. With a high-tech escapement featuring components in Silicium and DiamonSil, the UN-118 offers refined performance including a 60 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Ulysse Nardin decorates the UN-118 handsomely in images, with circular Côtes de Genève across the bridges, blued screws throughout, perlage for the mainplate, and a brushed cutout rotor featuring accents in case-matching lime green. Ulysse Nardin pairs the Diver The Ocean Race with a rugged gray textile strap made entirely from salvaged fishing nets, featuring a sporting hook and loop closure.
With its impressive array of recycled materials and its robust performance, the limited edition Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race is a bold, environmentally-conscious piece ready to tackle one of the world’s toughest yacht races. Only 200 examples of the Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Ulysse Nardin Diver The Ocean Race stands at $11,500 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.