The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and Diver X Skeleton Azure plunge into sustainable luxury The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and Diver X Skeleton Azure plunge into sustainable luxury

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and Diver X Skeleton Azure plunge into sustainable luxury

Fergus Nash

Ulysse Nardin are certainly a brand who embrace their heritage, but they’re not ones to dwell on it. In addition to referencing their popular marine chronometers of the 1800s, they’re more than capable of contemporary watchmaking and even pushing the envelope. Within the tremendously popular genre of dive watches, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and the Diver X Skeleton Azure strike a balance between high-octane luxury and environmental sustainability to mark World Oceans Day.

The case

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure 1

The overall design of the Diver Net and X Skeleton’s cases are similar, going for a bulked-up version of familiar shapes from the 1960s. That said, their executions are quite disparate. The Diver Net Azure goes hard on the sustainable materials, further than most brands we’ve seen in this age of environmental concern. Where you can see stainless steel, it’s 95% recycled. Components which seem to be made of plastic are made of Nylo, a product by Fil & Fab made out of recycled fishing nets that can be injection-moulded, similar to #tide. The bezel insert, with its smokey whips of contrasting greys, is made from Carbonium, which has a 40% reduction in environmental impact compared to most carbon composites.

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton Azure 2

The Diver X Skeleton Azure does seem to prioritise the luxury aspect slightly more, maintaining the Carbonium bezel insert yet making the case from DLC-coated titanium. It ensures that both cases are lightweight, although the Skeleton will be less susceptible to scratching thanks to that coating. They’re both big watches at 44mm in diameter, with the Diver Net standing 15mm tall and the X Skeleton measuring an extra millimetre taller. Both manage to be wearable for an average wrist thanks to a 50.3mm lug-to-lug length, as long as you don’t mind a bit of chunkiness. Both are dive-capable, with the Dive Net rated for 300 metres and the X Skeleton rated for 200 metres.

The dial

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton Azure 3 copy

Although the silhouette of these dive watch cases are largely the same, the dials differentiate themselves completely. The openworked nature of the Diver X Skeleton Azure bares the calibre UN-372 which beats within, the X-shaped bridges alone providing dial structure. The hour markers float in from the perimeter, and the bold hands are striped with two strips of luminous paint. The azure blue accents appear on the X and towards the tip of the seconds hand, but the points of focus are mostly the beating of the balance spring at 6 o’clock and the mainspring barrel at 12.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure 2

The Diver Net Azure may appear less exciting or high-tech than the X Skeleton, but it’s actually got more functionality crammed in. The dial, with its rough, black asphalt texture, introduces the X-shape with blue strips, slightly cropping the brand logo but proving a better backdrop for legibility. A subdial at 6 o’clock displays the running seconds as well as a circular date window, while a power reserve indicator sits just below 12 o’clock. It’s a slightly more traditional approach to a watch dial, but it’s still fuelled by a sense of adventure and daring.

The movement

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure 3

The calibre UN-118 powers the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure, embodying the brand’s in-house manufacturing capabilities. The power reserve is 60-hours with a 4Hz beat rate, and features the date and power reserve complications as seen on the dial. A sapphire display caseback reveals the automatic winding rotor which has been hollowed out, more easily showing off its decoration and Diamonsil escapement.

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton Azure 4

The Diver X Skeleton on the other hand values appearance over complication, with the calibre UN-372 proudly putting its Silicum balance wheel on display from the dial side. Many of its components are disguised within the X-shape structure, which is a motif carried on in the winding rotor. It has a slower beat rate of 3Hz, however its power reserve is extensive at 96 hours.

The strap

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure 4

Both of these watches share the same integrated-style strap, made of rubber in the azure blue colour. On the lower strap, there’s a hinged section made from ceramic which bears the Ulysse Nardin anchor logo. That may be a turn off for some people who dislike extravagant branding, however I think it definitely sets it apart as an avant-garde luxury watch. If it is a problem for you however, it does use traditional spring bars, so you can exchange the strap as long as you don’t mind a gap between the strap and case.

The verdict

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton Azure 1

There’s definitely an argument to be made about the prevalence of greenwashing in the watch industry at the moment, however any attempt at sustainable improvements should be considered a step in the right direction. Ulysse Nardin have shown that you can still be creative while using recycled materials, and have built watches that are far more interesting than simple recycled steel, and also don’t feel like plastic toys. The prices do reflect their luxury status, brand exclusivity and experimental materials more than most divers with their features, however they’ll always be worth it to those who believe in their statement.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and Diver X Skeleton Azure pricing and availability

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net Azure and Diver X Skeleton Azure are now available from Ulysse Nardin’s website and authorised retailers. Price: US$12,600 (Diver Net Azure) / AU$26,400 (Diver X Skeleton Azure)

Brand Ulysse Nardin
Model Diver Net Azure
Diver X Skeleton Azure
Reference Number 1183-170-2B/3A
3723-170-2B/3A
Case Dimensions 44mm (D) x 15mm (H) x 50.3mm (LTL) (Diver Net Azure)
44mm (D) x 16mm (H) x 50.3mm (LTL) (Diver X Skeleton Azure)
Case Material Carbonium, Nylo and stainless steel (Diver Net Azure)
DLC-coated titanium (Diver X Skeleton Azure)
Water Resistance 300 metres (Diver Net Azure)
200 metres (Diver X Skeleton Azure)
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and back
Dial Sandblasted black or skeletonised
Strap Blue rubber strap with ceramic and titanium folding clasp
Movement UN-118, in-house, silicon escapement (Diver Net Azure)
UN-372, in-house, Carbonium barrel cover, silicon components and escapement (X Skeleton Azure)
Power Reserve 60 hours (UN-118)
96 hours (UN-372)
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve (UN-118)
Hours, minutes, seconds (UN-372)
Availability Now
Price US$12,600 (Diver Net Azure)
US$26,400 (Diver X Skeleton Azure)