Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark Hands-on Review

by Chamath Gamage
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What we love::

  • Bringing recognition to an endangered species 
  • Black and lemon coloured diver is beautifully executed (Case-back showcasing lemon-sharks, needs to be seen to appreciate it)
  • R-strap made entirely from recycled fishing nets

What we don’t love:

  • Price, some may find this to be expensive for what’s on offer
  • As much as we love the nylon strap, after few wears it tends to look old 
  • Bezel layout prone to catching dust 

Over All Rating: 7.1/10

  • Value for money – 6.5/10
  • Wearability – 7/10
  • Design – 7.5/10
  • Build Quality – 7.5/10

The Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver was unveiled as a beautiful shark-themed limited edition timepiece honouring and celebrating World Ocean Day. It also honours the well-known shark experts, divers, universities, and non-profit organisations that have given up their time to clean up and make our oceans better.

On June 8th, 2021, Ulysse Nardin pledged their environmental commitment which follows the United Nations guidelines and its 17 sustainable development goals. The Swiss watch manufacturer has pled to meet these guidelines by the year 2030. The brand states that “Our aim is to reduce marine pollution by integrating materials culled from the ocean whenever possible into our new products. While we recycle discarded fishing nets into watch bands, we are also acquiring greater oceanographic knowledge with our focus being mainly on sharks.”

Ulysse Nardin is devoted to shark conservation around the world, so it is only right that a watch was released in honouring this. The Ulysse Nardin Diver Lemon Shark was born. Alongside this release, Ulysse Nardin has also teamed up with the FIU Medina Aquarius Program in the Florida International University Institute of Environment. The watchmaker has also partnered up with OCEARCH back in 2020. 

OCEARCH is a non-profit organisation that aims to help scientists gather and have access to locations in the ocean that were previously inaccessible to collect data from. The Swiss watch brand and OCEARCH joined together with the one goal of protecting the ocean’s predators. 

Founder & Expedition Leader of OCEARCH, Chris Fischer states that “we need to speed up scientific discoveries if we are going to have any chance of leaving healthy oceans behind for our grandchildren.”

The FIU Medina Aquarius Program holds the world’s only underwater research and education laboratory (Aquarius), which is located roughly 60 feet beneath the surface of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This laboratory gives scientists and researchers unparalleled access to study the ocean and also test and create the latest state-of-the-art underwater technology. 

Lemon sharks were chosen in particular as the inspiration behind this timepiece so that Ulysse Nardin and OCEARCH can spread more awareness about this unique creature. Based mostly in Florida, Lemon sharks have a leg up on their prey thanks to the shark’s yellow colour which matches that of the sandy floors they are frequently found in, making the sharks camouflage quite well. 

Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin says that “Sharks are largely misjudged to be dangerous to humans, which are not their natural prey. We and OCEARCH believe in education. The more informed the public is about these magnificent creatures, the more they will respect their place in the natural hierarchy of the oceans.”

Design:

The Lemon Shark Diver comes in a 42mm black DLC steel case with an inverted concave unidirectional rotating bezel. The timepiece is a simple three-hander with a date window located at the 6 o’clock position. 

Matching the case, the dial is a sand-blasted black, which acts as a perfect backdrop for the contrasting hands and hour markers as well as the yellow markings featured throughout the dial. The colour yellow is used for the minute track, the inscription “LEMON SHARK” on the centre of the dial, the minute hand as well as the inner bezel ring, and the “0” marking on the bezel. 

As this timepiece is portrayed as a watch for diving and not just another luxury diving “office” piece, the standard strap on offer is a black R-STRAP which is made from 100% recycled fishing nets from the Ocean collected around France (Brest, Marseille). 

Movement:

The movement used in the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver is the brand’s self-winding calibre UN-816 movement. This movement powers the hours, minutes, seconds as well as the date feature. 

The UN-916 movement is based on the Sellita SW300 movement and can run at a frequency of 4hz (28, 800 VpH) while offering a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. 

The case back features a stamp of three sharks which is a reference to the beautiful lemon shark creatures. 

How does it wear?

I have had the opportunity to wear this watch for a little while now, and I have to say I enjoyed my time with the Lemon Shark. On a 6.5 inch (16.5cm) wrist, the 42mm case sits well, thanks to 46mm lug to lug and a case thickness of just under 12mm (an ideal thickness for daily wear if one wishes to do so). 

The new “R-Strap” (Nylon strap) that comes with the watch is comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. The total weight for the watch including the strap is around 85 grams. The design of the R-strap requires the wearer to slide the hand through the R-strap hook and loop fastener, so getting the right size of the strap is important. The strap comes in three different sizes, I had the smallest size. Being a velcro strap, I found at times the strap isn’t 100% secure and needed to make sure the velcro had stuck properly. It is not a deal-breaker but something that is worth mentioning.

During my time with the Lemon Shark, I found myself staring at the black-grained dial, it is beautifully executed. The white and yellow details against the black DLC casing are so visually striking, making the watch pop. The date window is placed discreetly at 6 o’clock and blends in with the dial well. 

Turning the watch over, perhaps the coolest feature of the watch. As mentioned earlier, there are three Lemon Sharks that are displayed, and the attention to detail is nothing short of amazing.  

This also brings us to the UN-816 movement of the Lemon Shark. To wind the movement unscrew and turn the crown clockwise, I counted 65 turns to be fully wound. Pulling the crown to the first position sets the date and pulling the crown all the way out, lets you set the time.  

Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark is priced at 10,200 AUD and to me, being in the 10k price category is a competitive place for a divers watch. At this price point, one would expect to have an in-house movement, and this is where I think Lemon Shark falls short. If you are not too bothered about the movement, there is a lot going for the Lemon Shark. Overall it is visually appealing and the black and yellow colour palette has been executed superbly. Lemon shark is limited to 300 pieces worldwide and based on the looks I would expect it to be sold out sooner rather than later. 

Lemon Shark Reference: 8163-175LE/92-LEMONSHARK

Specification:

  • Case: 42 mm, Thickness 12mm Lug-Lug 46mm
  • Case Material: Steel case, Black DLC
  • Dial: Sand-blasted black
  • Crystal: Sapphire Crystal – Open Caseback
  • Water resistance: 300 meters
  • Movement: Calibre UN-816
  • Power reserve: minimum of 42 hours
  • Strap: Black R-STRAP, scratch closing, metal component in titanium 100% recycled from the Ocean from fishing nets 100% collected in France (Brest, Marseille) Polyamide, YTT+

Availability: Now, Limited to 300 pieces worldwide

Australian Retail Pricing: $10,150.00

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