Having just signed on as a sponsor of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, Ulysse Nardin has unveiled a pair of dive watches for the solo, nonstop, round-the-world yacht race.
Each named after points along the race route, the Diver X Cape Horn and Diver X Nemo Point are based on Ulysse Nardin’s well-priced dive watch – both are below US$10,000 – powered by the in-house UN-118 movement.
Often described as the toughest sailing competition in the world, Vendée Globe is a nonstop, single-handed race – meaning a solo sailor in the boat – requiring competitors to circumnavigate the globe.
Sailing monohull yachts, the contestants start and end at Les Sables d’Olonne, a beach town in the Vendée department on France’s Atlantic coast that is usually a quiet place, until the race begins. According to The New York Times, some 1.5 million spectators descended on the town in 2016 for the last race.
The sailors – there were 29 in the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 – have to travel 40,075km in a north-south direction, without any assistance along the way. In the eight contests since the Vendée Globe began in 1989, three sailors have died.
The next race starts on November 8, 2020, and will take several months to complete. In the last Vendée Globe, the winner completed the course in just over 74 days, while the last-place finisher took over 124 days, or four months.
Both watches share the same 44mm case – which wears smaller than it sounds – and the UN-118 movement. The in-house movement has its pallet fork and escape wheel made from diamond-coated silicon, or what Ulysse Nardin terms Diamonsil, while the hairspring is silicon. And in a first for Ulysse Nardin, both are fitted on lightweight fabric straps with a velcro fastener.
The southernmost point along the Vendée Globe route is Cape Horn, where the waters and weather are terrible, and sailing dangerous. So it’s fitting that the Diver X Cape Horn is the more aggressive looking – and more striking – of the two. And the Diver X Cape Horn is also the official watch of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021.
This has a titanium case coated in black diamond-like carbon (DLC), with both the bezel and dial made from carbon composite. Like the carbon composite found on the Freak X, the material here is environmentally minded: it’s made from the offcuts of carbon composite left over from aircraft parts production.
The Diver X Nemo Point gets its name from a spot in the South Pacific – specifically 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W – that Ulysse Nardin correctly describes as the “middle of nowhere”. It’s a spot in the sea that’s the furthest away from land anywhere in the world, and sailors in the Vendée Globe have to sail past Nemo Point.
The Diver X Nemo Point has a natural-finish titanium case matched with a blue-coated titanium bezel that has a rubberised coating for the insert, giving it a more conventional dive watch look.
Key facts and price
Diver X Cape Horn (ref. 1183-170LE/92-CAP)
Diver X Nemo Point (ref. 1183-170LE/93-NEMO)
Material: Cape Horn – DLC titanium with carbon bezel insert, Nemo Point – titanium with rubberised bezel
Water resistance: 300m
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Fabric with velcro
Limited edition: 300 pieces each
Availability: From January 2020 onwards
Price: Cape Horn – 9,900 Swiss francs, Nemo Point – 8,900 Swiss francs
For more information, visit Ulysse-nardin.com.
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