Watches

Ulysse Nardin strengthens its environmental commitments

Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin is collaborating with Norwegian outdoor sportswear brand Norrøna to launch the new DIVER NORRØNA Arctic Night, a timepiece made entirely of sustainable materials. The watch brand also named a new ambassador, Norwegian Polar explorer Børge Ousland.

Isabella Hübscher

By Isabella Hübscher03 novembre 2022

Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin and Jørgen Jørensen, CEO of Norrøna, at the clothing brand's boutique in Munich (DR)

Last week, Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin announced the launch of a limited-edition timepiece – the DIVER NORRØNA Arctic Night - in collaboration with Norwegian outdoor sportswear brand Norrøna, which was made available for sale on November 2nd. The watch is limited to 29 pieces, a number chosen to put forward the founding year of the Norwegian brand, namely 1929. Accompanying the launch, Ulysse Nardin also announced a partnership with Polar explorer Børge Ousland, who has been an active member of the Norrøna family for decades.

The DIVER NORRØNA Arctic Night went on sale on 2 November and is a limited edition of 29 pieces (DR)

With this partnership, Ulysse Nardin strengthens its environmental commitments, a matter that is of great importance to the brand. “Even though there is still a lot of work in front of us, I strongly believe that a watch can represent one of the most sustainable products (…) It is a timepiece that can be kept forever, it requires little energy to produce, and most components can be sourced within a 30km radius”, stressed Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin. The use of alternative and sustainable materials in order to shift towards a more circular model is the next step for the brand, which acquired its independence at the beginning of the year after being sold by the Kering group. Regarding this transition, Patrick Pruniaux stated “Kering, being one of the most sustainable groups, was of great help for us to understand and put into place sustainability guidelines, and our independence is an opportunity to push things further”.

Indeed, the CEO took the next step by partnering with a brand that, as he explains, he has always felt close to. “Growing up in the French alps and constantly doing outdoor activities, already at that time, everybody wanted to use Norrøna products”. Norrøna is today still a family-owned and run company, and its commitments to safeguarding the future of the planet are rooted in its DNA. “Just like watches, our products are meant to last (…) Today nothing is truly sustainable, but you can be responsible”, explained Jørgen Jørensen, CEO of Norrøna.

Indeed, as an outdoor brand, Norrøna has set itself specific targets to become carbon neutral. “By, for example, colouring the fibre instead of fabric, you can reduce emissions in this process by up to 90%. We are working to improve on all steps of the value chain, however, being transparent and digitalising this process is a huge job”. The brand also offers repairs in all its stores, in order for any Norrøna customer to be able to fix their product instead of buying something new. Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland, who is famous for his polar expeditions, and new ambassador for the Ulysse Nardin brand, has been observing the issue of climate change during the last decades. “If you are part of the problem, you also have to be part of the solution. Since I first set foot on the Polar Ocean in 1990, the ice coverage has declined by more than 60%.”

Ulysse Nardin is the first brand Norrøna has ever collaborated with. The DIVER NORRØNA Arctic Night watch, which sells at 11’300 euros, is made among other things of waste materials of aircraft parts and the car industry, and the bracelet is made of recycled fishing nets. “The cost of recycled materials is close to the price of gold”, stated Patrick Pruniaux. The timepiece is sold with a Norrøna arktis jacket, a product that started being developed in 2005 with the contribution of Børge Ousland, and has been continuously adapted with the help of Ousland’s expedition experience.

While both brands showed their great enthusiasm towards this launch, the CEO of Ulysse Nardin made it clear “Today, we are only scratching the surface of what we could do together. We will be looking towards other projects in the future, as it makes no sense to try and fight the issue of climate change alone.“

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