Ulysse Nardin To Use Upcycled Plastic In Luxury Diver Watch
Plastic is not usually considered a luxury material, but luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin is banking on the marketability of recycled plastic with its new concept watch, the Diver Net. Parts of the case and the complete bezel are made of recycled fishing nets gathered and processed by French firm FIL&FAB. The nets are recovered from harbors and upcycled into polyamide pellets, a raw material that is used to make the components like those used on the Diver Net. The watch was three years in the making, and for now, it’s a concept watch, but Ulysse Nardin is working hard to produce it in commercial quantities.
The argument for using recycled plastic is a strong one. According to Ulysse Nardin: Every year, 640,000 tons of fishing nets are lost or abandoned (UN); Microplastics account for 90% of the 5-trillion pieces of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean (Tara Ocean); Abandoned nets kill nearly 100,000 whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals and turtles per year (World Animal Protection); Two-thirds of the plastic discharged into the ocean since the 1950s has washed up on the shores; One-third of it has degraded into microplastic (Scientific Reports); Microplastic is found on mountain tops, proving that the material has entered the cycle of the elements – nanoparticles evaporate in clouds and it snows plastic; (Nature Geoscience); 80% of seabirds ingest plastic (PNAS).
The strap of the Diver Net is also eco-conscious, and it is already in commercial use by Ulysse Nardin. In October, the brand launched the R-Strap, which is also made of recycled fishing nets. It is now used on the brand’s Diver, Marine and Freak X watches. The Diver Net is equipped with Ulysse Nardin’s elite caliber, with a silicon escapement and a 60 hour power reserve. The movement, points out Ulysse Nardin, is also environmentally conscious in the sense that it is built to last, whereas a quartz movement requires new batteries and the disposal of the old ones. The crystal over the dial also does its part: it is made of transparent ceramic, the making of which has a lower environmental impact than the conventional sapphire crystal says Ulysse Nardin, because it takes less time to produce.