Ulysse Nardin has had an incredibly rich history over the years with iconic models ranging from marine chronometers to sports chronographs, but in recent times the brand has become best known for its extensive range of avant-garde dive watches. Now, the brand has taken the Ulysse Nardin Diver lineup to some of the world’s harshest environments with three new limited-edition models developed in partnership with the world-spanning Vendée Globe long-distance sailing race, along with renowned Antarctic explorer and nature photographer Sebastian Copeland. These three models, the Diver X Cape Horn, the Diver X Nemo Point and the Diver X Antarctica combine the spirit of these wild destinations with Ulysse Nardin’s inimitable design DNA.
The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Antarctica aims to capture the frigid and austere beauty of the South Pole with design input from Sebastian Copeland, a renowned nature photographer who has spent many years photographing the Antarctic continent. The 44 millimeter titanium case starts this off with a truly unique bezel treatment, molding the signature ribbed Ulysse Nardin bezel insert from white rubber and adding an accent of ice blue at the 12 o’clock zero mark.
The caseback also commemorates the marque’s commitment to Antarctic exploration, with an etching that features the coordinates for the South Pole (90 degrees south latitude and no longitude reading, if you were wondering) along with a sharply etched map of the route taken past Antarctica by the Vendée Globe sailing race. Like the regular production Ulysse Nardin Diver, the Diver X Antarctica’s case is water resistant to a robust 300 meters, ensuring that this watch is more than rugged enough to handle the rigors of Antarctic exploration.
The dial of the Diver X Antarctica continues the connection to cold beauty of the South Pole through a special bead-blasted gray dial treatment, coupled with white hands and ice blue highlights on the 12 o’clock power reserve indicator and the 6 o’clock small seconds. The most obvious change from the standard Ulysse Nardin Diver lineup, of course, is the broad “X” design in a contrasting lighter gray stretching across the main dial. It’s a visually arresting look that immediately sets this piece apart from standard models at a distance and is just graphically complex enough to be an interesting pattern in its own right.
At the heart of the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Antarctica lies the Caliber UN-118 manufacture automatic movement. Regulated to chronometer-level accuracy and featuring Ulysse Nardin’s advanced escapement using proprietary silicium and Diamonsil materials, the UN-118 boasts a 60 hour power reserve complication.
Ulysse Nardin matches the white/gray/blue aesthetic of the Diver X Antarctica with a bright white rubber strap, decorated with Ulysse Nardin branded metal hardware.
The other two limited editions in the collection, the Diver X Cape Horn and the Diver X Nemo Point, both celebrate Ulysse Nardin’s official partnership with the grueling Vendée Globe race. Beginning and ending in the Vendée region of France, competitors brave harsh weather and icy conditions while traversing the length of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans in what is often called the “Everest of the Seas.” As the names suggest, these two take their inspirations from two of the toughest and most remote points of the journey, namely the treacherous Cape Horn off the southern tip of South America and Nemo Point in the South Pacific, the farthest point on the planet from dry land and the literal geographic “middle of nowhere.”
Like the Diver X Antarctica, both of these limited edition pieces start with the basis of the 300 meter-rated 44 millimeter titanium case from the base Ulysse Nardin Diver, but the similarities between the two end there. The Diver X Cape Horn takes the more visually aggressive route at first glance, coating the main case with black DLC and topping the bezel off with a carbon composite insert. A flash of yellow from the 12 o’clock zero marker adds a pop of contrast to the black-on-black proceedings.
The Diver X Nemo Point, by contrast, takes a much more conservative approach on paper. The titanium case finish is the standard mix of brushed and polished surfaces, but things become more interesting when viewing the bezel. Rather than simply creating a custom insert, the entire bezel is rubberized in a deep navy blue coating for maximal grip in even the wettest conditions. Here, the blue-on-titanium color scheme is complemented by a bright red zero marker at 12 o’clock. Both watches feature similar limited-edition casebacks. Both share the etching of the race route with the Diver X Antarctica, while substituting the respective latitude and longitude coordinates of their inspirations.
Both the Diver X Cape Horn and the Diver X Nemo Point also share the broad “X” design across their main dials, rendered in a lighter shade. For the Diver X Cape Horn, this leads to a combination of a deep charcoal carbon composite main dial with a brushed titanium sandwich dial “X”, while the Diver X Nemo Point opts for a brushed light blue “X” sandwiched below a bead blasted navy main dial. Both also continue the accent color scheme featured on their respective bezels, with yellow highlights on the dial of the Diver X Cape Horn and red on the Diver X Nemo Point. Like the Diver X Antarctica, both the Diver X Cape Horn and the Diver X Nemo Point both utilize the in-house UN-118 manufacture movement. Both are also paired with color-matched fabric straps, with black and yellow edges for the Diver X Cape Horn, along with navy and red edges for the Diver X Nemo Point.
All three models are currently available for purchase on the brand’s website and are limited to 300 each. Both the Diver X Antarctica and the Diver X Nemo Point are priced at $8,900, while the Diver X Cape Horn sits at $9,900.