The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net & Skeleton OPS introduce military green vibes to the range The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net & Skeleton OPS introduce military green vibes to the range

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net & Skeleton OPS introduce military green vibes to the range

Zach Blass

If you have been tuned in to Ulysse Nardin as of late, you may already be familiar with their OPS models like the Freak One OPS and Freak X OPS which inject a sort of military, high-tech, khaki green colour theme into its watches. Today Ulysse Nardin brings the OPS flavour to its Diver range with both the new Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS – the former a top-notch example of green watchmaking in more ways than one.

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The cases

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The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS is green in particular, and not just because of its dial, but also because of its almost entirely recycled and upcycled case materials. Its 44mm case, 14.81mm thick and 300 metres water-resistant, is composed of 95% recycled stainless steel. For its side parts and caseback, Ulysse Nardin utilises both Carbonium and Nylo, and this results in a composition of 60% upcycled fish nets and 40% upcycled carbon fibres. Even the timing bezel insert is forged with Carbonium, therefore also 100% upcycled, making the complete composition of the watch nearly 100% recycled/upcycled. Using such green-conscious materials does not hinder the robustness of the watch. For example, Carbonium is a highly lightweight yet strong material produced from offcuts from aircraft manufacturing processes – which Ulysse Nardin claims reduces environmental impact by 40% compared to the production of other carbon composites. It is also this very material that creates the marbling effect seen on the bezel.

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The Diver X Skeleton OPS case, like the Net OPS, clocks in at 44mm in diameter, but it differs in that it is 15.7mm thick, 200 metres water-resistant, and is crafted in DLC-coated titanium instead of recycled stainless steel, using a mix of sandblasted and brushed finishes. The bezel insert, however, continues the usage of Carbonium. A subtle distinction, though, is that the knurled bezel here matches the tone of the case while the Diver Net OPS bezel is noticeably brighter. This aesthetic difference can also be seen with the knurled crown, which, in the case of the Diver X Skeleton, has been DLC-coated like the case.

The dials

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With the Diver Net OPS, Ulysse Nardin offers a more overt sense of the khaki green flavour with a solid dial of rugged sensibility thanks to its largely sandblasted finish that almost looks like gravel. Breaking up and contrasting the sandblasting, there is also an embossed and satin-finished “X” spanning across the dial. This “X” neatly serves as a pseudo-sector that orients both the power reserve indicator at 12′ o’clock and the date and small seconds at 6 in perfect symmetry. It is also worth noting that Ulysse Nardin gets an A+ for perfectly colour-matching the date window to the spectrum of khaki colours found on the dial. And in the interest of legibility, the applied indices, and all the hands use beige SuperLuminova for optimal visibility in darkness.

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As its name suggests, the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton has a bare dial that leaves all of the movement components exposed and available for your viewing pleasure. Continuing the “X” motif seen on the Diver Net OPS, the letter serves as a sort of suspension bridge that holds the outer minutes track which hosts applied hour indices. The “X” is largely black, with the borders adorned with thin khaki green accents. Beneath the Ulysse Nardin logo, you might notice that the barrel cover is made of Carbonium. Whereas the top sector houses the barrel, the 3 o’clock sector displays the keyless works, the escapement is in full view at 6 o’clock, and the 9 o’clock sector the movement is so open you will be able to see right through to your wrist.

The straps

Ulysse Nardin Diver OPS straps

Both Diver OPS watches can be purchased on either a khaki green fabric strap with a velcro-like closing partly made from upcycled fishing nets, again incorporating recycled/upcycled materials where they can, or a khaki green rubber strap with a raised central channel. The rubber strap is the right balance of strong and supple, but while I love how it rests flush against the case and appreciate its ceramic and titanium clasp, I am personally not a fan of the Ulysse Nardin-branded ceramic element on the 6 o’clock side of the strap. This insert results in the strap flaring, and because it’s only on one side, it creates a subtle difference in how each side of the strap wraps around the wrist. I would prefer the medallion was used on both sides, or, even better, not at all. Seeing as this is personal preference, I would have no qualms opting for the khaki green fabric strap which remains a strong and viable option.

The movements

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The Diver Net OPS is powered by the in-house UN-118, which, as you can see in the picture above, is well-decorated with circular striping that extends throughout to the full balance bridge. With it, the movement is better equipped to resist against shocks – a needed characteristic for an adventurous diver’s watch. Beneath the escape wheel, UN applies perlage to the mainplate, while the edges of the bridges and the openworked rotor display attractive machine bevelling. From a technical perspective, the 4Hz movement offers 60 hours of power reserve and utilises a silicon balance spring made and a DiamonSil escapement wheel and anchor. DiamonSil involves a plasma surface treatment that combines silicium and synthetic diamond for added durability and resistance against magnetism.

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The Diver X Skeleton OPS doesn’t simply house a skeletonised take on the UN-118. It instead uses the in-house, automatic UN-372 movement, which understandably foregoes circular striping for sandblasted and satin-finished parts. You will also notice that the Skeleton, somewhat ironically, uses an oversized winding rotor that is sufficiently openworked, still allowing for a clear view of the components beneath it. While the escapement also utilises silicon components, the UN-372 steps down to a 3Hz beat rate and ups the power reserve to 96 hours – an impressive four-days off the wrist on a full wind.

The verdict

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With the innate adventurous look of the Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS, the design caters well to those who are less about classic and ultra-thin, and more into contemporary and robust daily wearers. Aside from the timing bezel and case shape, both Ulysse Nardin offerings are, in my opinion, distinct to the brand in terms of the aesthetic in arguably the most saturated category in the watch marketplace. Not an easy feat. I personally commend Ulysse Nardin, its material expertise and innovative spirit, for realising a watch that largely uses recycled/upcycled materials without compromising the durability and robustness of the offering. For those who appreciate a dive watch off the beaten path, and one done completely in-house, it is a worthy capsule collection to look into. But, if you are a bit captain boring in your tastes, its boldness may not sit well with you.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS, Diver X Skeleton OPS pricing and availability

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The Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS are both available now for purchase. Price: US$13,300 (Diver Net OPS), US$27,500 (Diver X Skeleton OPS)

Brand Ulysse Nardin
Model Diver Net OPS
Diver X Skeleton OPS
Case Dimensions 44mm (D) x 14.81mm (T) (Net)
44mm (D) x 15.7mm (T) (X)
Case Material Recycled steel, Nylo, Carbonium (Net)
DLC-coated titanium, Nylo, Carbonium (X)
Water Resistance 300 metres (Net)
200 metres (X)
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Sandblasted khaki (Net)
Open (X)
Strap Khaki green rubber or fabric, folding clasp
Movement UN-118, in-house, automatic (Net)
UN-372, in-house, automatic
Power Reserve 60 hours (Net)
96 hours (X)
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve (Net)
Hours, minutes, seconds (X)
Availability Now
Price US$13,300 (Diver Net OPS)
US$27,500 (Diver X Skeleton OPS)