By Gary Girdvainis
Early diving watches were purpose-built instruments designed to tackle the rigors of our underwater environments. In the earliest examples the focus really was on function. The ability to withstand the static and dynamic pressures of submersion was joined by the need to register time under water at a glance as well as being able to tell that the watch was in-fact running.
These basic needs drove the form-follows-function groundwork for all diver types now homologated under the ISO 6425 standard.
During the early days of hard hat and SCUBA diving, these designs first came to life as underwater tools that have now (d)evolved to become themselves an iconic look that both SCUBA and desk divers alike have come to appreciate.
In the case of the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver series you can be assured that the sensual interaction with the watch confirms it is in-fact a well-built timepiece comfortable in or out of the water. And while some brands take the basic type into stranger waters with extraneous bells, whistles, and shocking palettes of color, the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark watch is, like the Lemon Shark itself, a subtler example of evolution.
The Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark won’t jump off your wrist and demand to be seen like the “porthole” watches from the early days of our universe any more than a Lemon Shark will jump fifteen feet out of the water to grab a seal like its bigger cousin, the Great White.
Playing with a luxury watch like the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark is always a multi-faceted experience. The click of a unidirectional rotating bezel excites both aural and physical feedback and can quickly indicate the nature of the watch under it. Connoisseurs look for a smooth action paired with a subtle “snicking” of 120 (or 60) clicks with little to no backlash – as opposed to the sandy crunch of lesser watches that have rotating bezels that sound and feel like you’re working a peppermill over your Caesar salad.
Details like the easy-grip concave bezel (protecting the crystal), machined crown (easy to manipulate), and recycled netting strap (clean conscience) don’t necessarily leap out at you by themselves, but they combine to form a complete wristwatch that is well built, tough as nails, and easy on the eyes.
Even the touches of yellow are not overdone. Ulysse Nardin could have easily decided to place an all-yellow dial with black accents on the Lemon Shark – and few would argue that is not a great look, but that bold look has been done time and again. Credit to the brand for taking a more sober and refined approach to this 42mm black DLC beauty.
Under the recessed and slightly domed sapphire crystal is a matte-finish dial, wide stick-type hands, and applied markers with touches of “lemon” yellow and superior lume on the hands and markers.
Rated to 300 meters without using the superfluous helium release valve, the Lemon Shark is powered by the automatic winding mechanical caliber UN 816. The 816 will hum away at 28,800 bph for 42 hours when fully wound and benefits from Ulysse Nardin’s long history using silicium components in the escapement for both accuracy and longevity. Limited to 300 pieces, each Lemon Shark Diver features three sharks on the oil-pressed case back and retails for $7,300.
Beyond the watches, Ulysse Nardin has partnered with Chris Fischer and the Ocearch research team as well as the Florida International University to sponsor research and conservation of lemon sharks as well as other marine species and also supports the Aquarius underwater research habitat for humans located 63 feet under water off of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver
(Reference: 8163-175LE/92-LEMONSHARK, 300-piece limited edition)
Movement: Automatic calibre UN-816, powering hours, minutes, seconds and date. Power reserve of 42 hours.
Case: 42mm steel, black DLC, inverted concave unidirectional rotating bezel, back with Lemon shark engraving, 300-meters water resistance..
Dial: Sand-blasted black with yellow accents.
Strap: Black R-STRAP, scratch closing, metal component in titanium is 100% recycled from the ocean from fishing nets , collected in France.