Upcycling, or the concept of reimagining waste products to create something new, is one more important piece of the all-important recycling picture. And Ulysse Nardin has jumped right in, serving its favorite cause—the ocean—with the new Ocean Race Diver limited edition. The watch is the result of a partnership between the Swiss watch brand and the Ocean Race, and it will be the official timekeeper for the open-sea sailing event scheduled to start from Alicante, Spain, in January of next year. It is crafted in part from recycled fishing nets and produced in a limited edition of 200 pieces.
Plastic is a problem
With an estimated 5,000 billion pieces of plastic floating at sea, plastic pollution is a huge issue facing our world’s oceans. And fishing nets are one of the main sources of the problem—with up to 640,000 metric tons lost or abandoned each year joining the other nine million metric tons of plastic discharged into the seas, according to Science.
Ulysse Nardin is doing its part to mitigate the problem, thanks to the work of the French start-up FIL&FAB, the first fishing net recycling business in France. The company, founded in 2015, recovers plastic nets in French fishing ports and recycles them in the form of polyamide granules used to produce Nylo.
“With the help of start-ups such as FIL&FAB, we have successfully managed to fabricate and sell watches derived from recycled fishing nets,” said Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin of the new watch.
But earlier milestones pointed the way for the brand, such as its launch of the R-Strap in 2020. Made entirely from recycled fishing nets, the strap is compatible with the Marine, Diver and Freak X collections. And also that year, an experimental concept watch, the Diver Net, made its debut.
Ocean Race Diver
Next month, the Ocean Race Diver will be formally introduced, and it features a variety of fine-timepiece details, such as the inclusion of the UN-118 movement with silicium technology. Interestingly, and appropriately, the components of the movement are 95% sourced within a 30 km radius of the Manufacture, and half of them come from recycling channels, primarily recycled steel and brass.
The watch is water resistant to 300 m, and it has a bezel made of Carbonium, which uses the same fibers as those used for the fuselage and wings of modern-day aircraft. The manufacture of Carbonium has a 40% lower environmental impact than other carbon composites, since it incorporates the offcuts of aircraft parts.
The side of the case and the caseback of the 44mm The Ocean Race Diver are 40% Carbonium and 60% Nylo, while the steel used for producing the case is at least 80% recycled and comes from an automotive industry steel recycling channel. The strap, too, is made from recycled fishing nets, transformed into reels of yarn by JTTI, a French company that specializes in textile processing.
The Ocean Race Diver limited edition comes in a water-resistant R-PET pouch, nestled in a dry bag by Norwegian clothing manufacturer and retailer Helly Hansen, the official clothing supplier for the round-the-world race.