Vogue Watches

Ulysse Nardin Expands Its Sporty OPS Series With Two New Divers Crafted From Sustainable Materials

A relatively recent expansion within the Ulysse Nardin universe of watchmaking, the OPS series is the brand’s answer to more casual, sporty options within its repertoire. First released in 2023, the previous OPS takes have been limited to a pair of the brand’s quintessentially unconventional Freak and Freak X models, respectively, leaning on the use of khaki green that conjures images of army fatigues. Now, operation OPS expansion continues, this time, with a pair of olive green monochromatic divers that showcase the brand’s commitment to sustainability through their use of materials.
Beginning with the Ulysse Nardin Diver NET OPS, this model is a rendition of a diver originally released back in 2020. The original NET was among the brand’s first pieces to introduce an eco-conscious bend to its sports-oriented line and was a result of collaboration with tech start-ups and environmental advocates. With this model, the brand claims the Ulysse Nardin Diver NET OPS to be “the most sustainable sports watch with a manufacture movement on the market.” In all honesty, I’m not sure how one can accurately quantify this claim, nor have I received any other data sets from other brands to use in comparison. But for now, I guess we will just have to take that statement at face value.
Measuring 44mm in diameter, the case utilizes a combination of 95% recycled stainless steel and other novel materials the brand has developed. One of those materials is Nylo – a polyamide made of through the upcycling of discarded waste fishing nets – which makes up 60% of the side parts and caseback. The other 40% of the construction is made of Carbonium, a material that, as you might have guessed, is similar to carbon in its resiliency and lightness, but is made from leftover pieces made in the aircraft manufacturing process, which the brand claims reduces environmental impact up to 40% as compared with other carbon sources. And, like other carbon materials, the Carbonium is what gives the unidirectional dive bezel its marbled surface.

The khaki green dial has a sandblasted finish and features a large ‘X’ motif at its center. The beige broad hands, baton hour indices, and markers along the bezel are all coated in Super-LumiNova. Other key features include a power reserve indicator at twelve o’clock and the small seconds subdial with a color-matched date window at six o’clock. The aforementioned in-house manufacture movement is the caliber UN-118, which is equipped with the brand’s signature silicon balance spring and has a power reserve of 60 hours. It’s also got water resistance up to 300 meters and is paired with a matching fabric strap partly made of recycled fishing nets.
The slightly more audacious of the two, the Diver Skeleton X OPS also measures 44mm in diameter, but its standout feature is the skeletonized dial. Peeking out from under another large ‘X’ motif at the center of the dial, the in-house manufactured automatic movement UN-372 is visible, along with its oversized oscillator and silicon escapement. The case of this model is made of DLC-coated titanium, while the unidirectional bezel and barrel cover are crafted from Carbonium. This model is water resistant up to 200 meters, and like the model above, is paired with a khaki green strap partially made with upcycled fabric.
There’s no doubt that sustainability has made its way into the lexicon of contemporary horology marketing – haute or otherwise. Even companies that lean on the models of mass production are starting to incorporate it into their strategies. I’m not really here to label this phenomenon as positive or negative – I am simply pointing to its existence and will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. That being said, there is a lot of recycled material use going on here at least on paper, and at the end of the day, there are worse things that brands could be toting than a commitment to its environmental impact.

Alright, Ulysse Nardin Diver NET OPS back to the watches. While the Freak continues to be the most talked about model from the brand, it’s nice to see it throwing its weight behind something different for a change. As compared with Ulysse Nardin’s freakier creations, as functional divers, this duo’s more legibility-forward approach has the potential to appeal to Freak-skeptics out there. That being said, they aren’t without their own aesthetic quirks, and I don’t think anyone could argue that these pieces are boring by any means. Large in stature and expense, sure. But a snooze they are not. Ultimately, these pieces feel right at home within the Ulysse Nardin family, and I’m sure in due time more khaki-green-clad pieces will ascend the ranks and join the OPS league.