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Ulysse Nardin this week debuts the Ocean Race Diver, a commercial version of its environmentally friendly Diver Net concept watch launched in 2020.

The new Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver might be the greenest luxury watch available.

With a strap created entirely from recycled fishing nets and a case and caseback made using recycled steel, a carbon composite called Carbonium and more recycled fishing nets, the new Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver might be the greenest luxury watch available. Ulysse Nardin teamed with French recycling experts Fil&Fab to source and develop the recycled material for the new collection.

Ulysse Nardin wants to raise awareness to protect the oceans by creating “new from old and regenerating materials, especially plastic.” The watchmaker co-branded the watch with its partner, the around-the-globe Ocean Race, for which Ulysse Nardin is official timer.

On the case back, the sapphire crystal is embellished with a white transfer of the logo of the brand’s partner, The Ocean Race.

As a 44mm dive watch, the Ocean Race Diver is water-resistant to 300 meters and features a high-visibility, green-accented unidirectional bezel made using Carbonium, the same fibers that are used for the fuselage and wings of the latest-generation aircrafts. The manufacture of Carbonium has a 40% lower environmental impact than other carbon composites, since it makes use of the offcuts of aircraft parts, according to Ulysse Nardin.

Ulysse Nardin taps an automotive industry steel recycling channel for the 44mm case, which is 80% to 85% recycled.

Ulysse Nardin teamed with Fil & Fab to make the strap and other components using recycled fishing nets.

Diver X

The watch’s dial echoes the watchmaker’s Diver X series with a double X signature on the dial, a power reserve indicator at the top and a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. The dial, toned down when compared to the concept version, is composed of neutral textured anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment.

Like the brand’s X-Skeleton series, you’ll also find the Ulysse Nardin logo etched into the crown and a visible crown protector.

Ulysse Nardin’s own dial maker stamps its double X on the dial with its half-matte, half-satin finish.

Even the movement, Ulysse Nardin’s own UN-118, is made with materials 95% sourced within a 30 km radius of the Manufacture, half of them coming from recycling channels (recycled steel and brass). All Ulysse Nardin movements utilize recycled brass.

The watch will be sold in a water-resistant pouch slipped into a dry bag recycled from the sea by Helly Hansen, a brand that is also a partner of the round-the-world Ocean Race.

Ulysse Nardin will offer the watch as a limited edition of 200 pieces starting in June. Price: $11,500.

 

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Ocean Race Diver

Reference: (1183-170LE-1A-TOR/0A
UN-118)

Movement: Caliber UN 118 manufacture, 
Silicium & DiamonSil escapement technology. Power reserve is 60 hours.

Case: 
44mm steel with unidirectional concave rotating bezel, bezel decoration 100% Carbonium, sapphire crystal, 300 meters of water resistance.

  • Side-case and case-back 40% Carbonium and 60% recycled fishing nets.
  • Stainless steel case at least 80% recycled from automotive industry.

Dial: 
Green Super-LumiNova markers, 
 anthracite (ruthenium) surface treatment 
Double X
, The Ocean Race logo (white transfer), power reserve indicator.

Strap: Recycled from fishing nets, gray with green and white stitches, scratch closing.

Price: $11,500.

Ulysse Nardin updates its already legendary hands-free, dial-free and crown-free Freak with a double oscillator, a technical flourish that deepens its three-dimensional effect while strengthening its efficiency and precision.

The new Ulysse Nardin Freak S.

As Ulysse Nardin’s highlight debut at Watches & Wonders 2022, the new Freak S marks the premiere of new UN-251 Manufacture movement. The new caliber dramatically hosts a new blued “DiamonSIL” (diamond-coated silicon) double oscillator with each balance wheel inclined at a 20-degree angle and linked by a differential.

Ulysse Nardin explains that the multi-gear differential, clearly visible between the balance wheels, evenly distributes the barrel’s energy to the two regulating organs, so that the Freak S’ amplitude remains stable.

The visual effect, centered with a pair of rose gold bridges holding the two blue oscillators, recalls a rocket wing.

Remember, as a carousel the Freak’s entire movement makes a complete rotation in one hour. A broad arrow on the watch’s aventurine movement plate shows the hour while the longer nose cone of the rocket with the balance wheels and the escapement indicates the minutes. The Freak S’ time is set by rotating the bezel in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

The Freak S minute hand.

The new Freak S also marks an update to the efficiency of Ulysse Nardin’s already highly efficient Grinder automatic winding system. Using slight wrist movements, Grinder operates using four blades that connect to the oscillating weight, which gives the self-winding system twice the angular stroke and limits friction. (See additional technical specifications below.) And with the Grinder, the movement is (as far as we’re aware) the first automatically wound double-oscillator caliber available.

The Freak S differential, flanked by two inclined silicon balance wheels.

Ulysse Nardin will make the Freak S as a limited edition of seventy-five pieces, of which forty will be made this year. Every watch is fitted with an alligator strap decorated with a Sport cutout in rose gold color. The timepiece is fitted with a self-folding clasp system in titanium with black DLC.

Price: $137,200

The new movement is (as far as we’re aware) the first automatically wound double-oscillator caliber available.

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Freak S

(75-piece limited edition)

Movement: UN-251 Caliber with hours and minutes indicated by the movement’s rotation. 
Flying carousel baguette movement: one rotation per hour. 
Grinder automatic winding with blades, flexible guidance and shock absorber. Extra-large inclined double balance wheel in silicon with inertia-blocks, vertical differential. Power reserve is 72 hours
 (2 x 2.5 Hz) (2x 18,000 vph).

Case: 45mm black ceramic, titanium with black DLC and rose gold. 
Time set with the front bezel, lever lock. 
Manual winding possible with the back bezel.

Decorative movement plate in black aventurine. 
30 meters water resistance, sapphire domed box with anti-reflective treatment on both sides. Back: Titanium with black DLC, 6 screws, visible “Grinder” through open sapphire caseback.

Strap: Bi-material black alligator & golden calf strap or black alligator strap.

Price: $137,200

 

Timed to coincide with the start of the lunar New Year on February 1, Ulysse Nardin has launched a new black ceramic ‘Blast’ version of its Moonstruck astronomical complication.

The Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck

This newest Moonstruck is a direct descendant of the Tellurium moonphase complication watchmaker and engineer Ludwig Oechslin created for Ulysse Nardin in 1992 as part of a trilogy of astronomical watches. And like that watch and subsequent Moonstruck models, the new, very contemporary Blast Moonstruck is meant to depict the rotation of the sun and moon as well as related astronomical events and measurements such tidal times, world time and of course local time and date.

The new Moonstruck maintains the collection’s centrally located depiction of the Earth as seen from North Pole. But for this Blast version, Ulysse Nardin has micro-engraved the continents and set them inside a sapphire crystal box encircled by a rose gold ring. That ring is engraved with the thirty-one days of the month to indicate the days.

A hyper-accurate moonphase indicator, using a realistic depiction of the Moon, shows the Moon’s position in relation to the sun, which Ulysse Nardin artisans have created from bronzite, a mineral rarely used in watchmaking. Even more impressive, the Moon display changes to appear a little brighter or dimmer in line with the lunar calendar.

Pushers on the left-hand side of the case allow the user to adjust the main time display forward or back to adjust to another time zone.

Worldtime is indicated via city names placed around the dial, as is often seen in traditional world time watches. While the hands can indicate the local time, they can also be set to any other time zone or to any one of the twenty-four time zones that corresponding to the city noted on the fixed flange.

Not surprisingly, Ulysse Nardin allows the wearer a particular ease at changing time zones. For years, the watchmaker has utilized a mechanism for changing the hour hand on its dual-time watches via two-pushers, here located on the left side of the case.

Ulysse Nardin’s own dial-making division has created a night-sky for the Blast Moonstruck on a disk made of aventurine.

Ulysse Nardin explains that the watch’s myriad settings can be set and adjusted using the crown.

“Manufacture caliber UN-106 subsequently manages all the displays on its own as long as the watch is worn, “ according to the watchmaker. “And when it isn’t, it just needs to be put back in the box supplied, which contains an automatic winder designed to take care of the winding and keep its calendar information accurate.”

The Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck is a multi-level 45mm watch in black ceramic and black DLC-treated titanium. It can be worn on a black alligator, black velvet or black rubber strap. Price: $73,900 (limited production).

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck

(Reference 1063-400-2A/3A)

Movement: Automatic UN-106 Manufacture caliber, 335 components, 28,800 vph. Power reserve of 50 hours.

Functions and displays: Hours, minutes, date, moon phase indication, days of lunar month, tidal coefficients, worldtimer, dual time, positions of the sun and moon around the globe.

Case: 45mm black ceramic, black DLC titanium, sapphire crystal on front and back, rose gold oscillating weight, 30 meters of water resistance.

Strap: Black alligator, velvet, or rubber with folding clasp, black DLC titanium and pink gold clasp.

Price: $73,900 (limited production)

 

Kering, the multi-national fashion house that owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and many other well-known clothing, leather and jewelry brands, has agreed to sell Swiss watchmakers Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin to their current management team.

The Kering press release is below. We’ll keep you informed as we hear additional details about the deal.

“Kering announces the signature of an agreement to sell its entire stake (100%) in Sowind Group SA, which owns the Swiss watch manufacturers Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, to its current management.

With a long tradition in watchmaking, Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin have continuously evolved since their acquisition by Kering, while preserving their identity. Combining an innovative approach to design and technical know-how, they have revamped their product universe, launched new iconic models, and reorganized their distribution, with the opening of directly operated stores and stronger ties with the leading watch distributors.

The Group has supported the two Houses in their development, strengthened their positioning and ensured they have adequate resources to finance their growth. It has confidence in the management in place to successfully pursue the work undertaken.

This transaction is in line with Kering’s strategy, giving priority to the Houses with the potential to become sizable assets within the Group, and to which it can provide decisive support over time.

“The extensive work carried out by the Group in recent years at Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin has laid the foundations for sustainable growth. Kering has demonstrated its ability to secure the conditions for the long- term development of entities leaving the Group, in the interest of their employees, partners, customers and local communities,” declared Jean-François Palus, Kering’s Group Managing Director.

“On the sound foundations laid thanks to Kering’s support and investments, we have the right setup and resources to implement a plan capable of ensuring the long-term development of both brands” declared Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin since 2018.

The financial impacts related to this disposal will be reported in the accounts closed on December 31, 2021. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the first half of 2022.”

Ulysse Nardin this week previewed a new showroom adjacent to its manufacturing headquarters in Le Locle, Switzerland. The new private space, measuring 175 square meters, is designed to allow visitors a view of historic Ulysse Nardin timepieces set alongside the watchmaker’s current collections.

While the Museum is not open to the public, it is built to receive future visitors at the Watchmaking Heritage Days, organized every two years by the region.

Massimo Bonfigli, Ulysse Nardin’s head of brand heritage, provided a guided tour to the first visitors to the new space.

Massimo Bonfigli, Ulysse Nardin’s head of brand heritage.

Bonfigli has worked with Rolf Schnyder and Ludwig Oechslin and was present when the French luxury group Kering purchased Ulysse Nardin in 2014. “It’s a pleasure for me to have this dedicated space to tell our 175 years of history,” he explains.

In contrast with the exterior walls of the watchmaker’s historical building, the new display space is contemporary, with suede and wood, in a minimalist atmosphere.

“This luminous space is a platform of expression of the brand, which will showcase the achievements of yesterday, today and tomorrow, thus contributing to promoting the whole of Swiss watchmaking. It was important for us to have a setting which matches the message we wish to get across to brand aficionados, one that accurately reflects the brand identity”, explains Françoise Bezzola, Ulysse Nardin marketing director.

One of the newest pieces, Ulysse Nardin’s UFO table clock, is on display at the new space,just weeks after a special orange edition sold at the Only Watch 2021 charity auction for CHF 380,000. The UFO sold out in three weeks after its launch this past April.  A new copper-colored UFO, not available for sale, will be permanently displayed in the showroom.

The Ulysse Nardin UFO table clock.