Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey, a three-year-round-the-world expedition to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.

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Since its foundation in 1846, Ulysse Nardin has fostered close ties with the marine world and has been actively involved in its protection. Last May, the brand marketed the first Diver watch upcycled from fishing nets, symbolizing its commitment to protecting the Ocean. Today, Ulysse Nardin is stepping up its support of Ocean conservation by teaming up with Plastic Odyssey, a project aiming to reduce plastic pollution in our Ocean.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

The Plastic Odyssey ship, which will leave the port of Marseille on 1 October 2022 on a three-year journey, will travel 40 000 nautical miles and make 30 stopovers in the countries most affected by plastic pollution. Plastic Odyssey will begin its mission in the coastal cities of the Mediterranean before setting sail for West Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific and, finally, East Africa.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Today, although there is a system in place for recycling plastic, only a few manufacturers have access to the necessary knowledge and the solutions are not widely available or very affordable Plastic Odyssey’s challenge is to identify simple and inexpensive innovations that can be introduced, enhanced and made freely available so that they can be developed and made accessible to as many people as possible.

Simon Bernard, CEO of Plastic Odyssey
Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Plastic Odyssey has examined and unlocked the issues related to plastic pollution in our Ocean. Their desire to share their inventions and knowledge freely with the entire world shows great generosity and a genuine desire to protect our planet.”

Patrick Pruniaux, Chairman Chief Executive Officer of Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Three years, 30 stopovers and 40,00 nautical miles

‘Cleaning up the past by encouraging the recycling of existing plastic and ‘building the future’ by reducing the production of waste” – that is the mission of Simon Bernard, CEO of Plastic Odyssey.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

This long, round-the-world voyage will be manned by a full crew: seven deck crew members, seven technical and scientific experts, three media reporters and two external guests will embark together on the Plastic Odyssey adventure. At each of the 30 stopovers, they will take tangible actions for three weeks to roll out specific initiatives.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

On land:

Thanks to the Plastic Odyssey Village – a travelling village designed to raise awareness – these guardians of the Ocean will meet the populations in order to alert them to the dangers of plastic pollution and to present alternative solutions.

Furthermore, through discussions with local inhabitants, Plastic Odyssey will launch the first global social sciences study to understand the habits and behaviours of different populations with regard to the use of plastic, which will foster the development of knowledge intended to equip the scientific and political communities.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

On board the board:

The Plastic Odyssey ship has been split into two parts The front of the boat the plastic-free zone is dedicated to exhibiting alternative solutions to plastic, while the rear of the vessel is set aside for the recycling laboratory. One of the main missions of this laboratory will be to welcome a dozen local business figures for training on how to set up a plastic recycling centre using the machines on board the boat and the plastic waste collected on land.

To fight plastic pollution in these regions in the long term, Plastic Odyssey will provide entrepreneurs with a container containing a ready-to-use micro-factory that will allow them to recycle more than one ton of plastic per year and develop a local recycling centre. Thus, this model has the advantage of being viable, sustainable while creating jobs.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Last but not least, Plastic Odyssey will be able to convert the non-recyclable waste into fuel for their continued journey around the globe by means of pyrolysis. This is a process by which plastic is heated without oxygen to break down the long (solid) polymer molecules and turn them into lighter molecules (liquid, then gases). One kilogramme of plastic can make up to one litre of fuel for a diesel engine.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Plastic Odyssey: the dream of an `inventor`

During a stopover in Dakar in 2016, I was struck both by the plastic pollution in cities and by
the prevalence of salvaging. I thought to myself that if the plastic recycling technologies
currently only available to a few specialists could be made more widely available, not only
would the pollution disappear, but thousands of jobs would be created in the process!

Simon Bernard, Chief Executive Officer Simon
Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey
Simon Bernard, Chief Executive Officer

Simon Bernard, a Merchant Navy Officer and the cofounder of Plastic Odyssey, has been passionate about environmental causes from a very young age and always wanted to become an ‘inventor‘. As soon as he got back from Dakar, Simon was reminded of all the city’s ingenious ways of recycling aluminium cans, but soon realised that plastic processing was non-existent.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Shortly after, in 2017 the Plastic Odyssey project was born and saw the construction of the first prototype boat named Ulysse which incorporated a pyrolyser to convert plastic waste into fuel. The construction of the 40-metre-long Plastic Odyssey ship began in 2020 to finally set sail on October 1, 2022.

Ulysse Nardin partners with Plastic Odyssey

Freaky facts

  • 20 tonnes of plastic are poured into our oceans every minute. (1)
  • We swallow 5 grammes of plastic every week. (1)
  • Plastic waste fragments into irrecoverable microparticles in the environment. (2)
  • 90% of marine pollution comes from the coastal cities of 32 countries. (1)
  • Recycling 1 out of 2 plastic wastes in the 32 most polluting countries would avoid over 45% of the Ocean’s pollution. (1)

(1)Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean Jenna Jambeck et al. Science 347, 768 (2015)
(2) A global inventory of small floating plastic debris Erik van Sebille et al 2015 Environ. Res . Lett . 10

Ulysse Nardin – Manufacture of Freedom
Ulysse Nardin is the Manufacture inspired by the Ocean, producing freaky timepieces for explorers in pursuit of freedom.
Founded by Mr Ulysse Nardin in 1846 the company owes its reputation to its links with the sea its onboard marine chronometers are among the most award-winning and reliable ever designed.
A pioneer in innovative technologies and the use of high-tech materials such as silicium, Ulysse Nardin is one of the few independent and integrated manufactures with the in-house expertise to produce its own high-precision components and movements.
To underscore its commitment to its favourite environment, Ulysse Nardin is active in supporting the preservation of the Ocean, focusing on two major areas encouraging upcycling to reduce marine plastic pollution and developing scientific knowledge concerning the preservation of the sharks, its emblem.
Today, in the Swiss towns of Le Locle and La Chaux de Fonds, Ulysse Nardin remains devoted to its quest for watchmaking perfection in four collections Marine, Diver, Blast and Freak.
As of 2022 Ulysse Nardin and sister Maison Girard-Perregaux have formed an independent collective of high-horology Manufactures

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