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Ever since the first marine chronometer was created in 1730 by English carpenter and clockmaker John Harrison (the H1), timekeeping has been a mechanism for survival. The accuracy of the H1, for example, enabled shipmen to navigate distant seas by calculating their longitude per the time at the Greenwich meridian. And over a decade later still, when Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin was founded in Le Locle, the marine chronometer was a hero among watches and focus of the green company’s development.
Now, Ulysse Nardin has earned its title of “watchmaker of the ocean,” and—with the help of Elite freediver, Belgian Fred Buyle (the brand’s latest ambassador)—has launched a line of divers that combines ancient skills with modern aesthetics. The band, for example, has been reinvented with rubber and titanium, making it lighter (by 45%) and more manageable than any of its steel predecessors—giving the entire design a more minimalist feel suited for the less-is-more approach of freediving compared to scuba diving. Similarly, the clasp has been replaced by pin buckle, making it more dive-friendly. And the crown, surrounded by rubber guards, encloses a concave bezel with domed sapphire glass as well as a silicon balance spring, 60 hours power reserve, and in-house designed movement.
The diver, available online in black, white, and blue, retails for $7,900.