Welcome watch fans, to another very special episode of Watching Sports And Sporting Watches. Today, I (Rob) am joined by Fred Buyle, Ulysse Nardin ambassador, professional freediver, passionate conservationist, and, perhaps most interestingly for our community, a real watch guy.

You’d probably expect a lot more ambassadors to be as into watches as Fred clearly is, but it really isn’t the case. I’ve encountered sports stars and celebrities that have no idea what their agent is telling them to strap to their wrist. I think that’s a real shame. When I was working for NOMOS Glashütte, we discussed the possibility of hiring an ambassador —something the brand has never done — frequently. We came close to a decision several times, but we always backed away at the very last. It never felt genuine. It never felt on-brand. Oh, how wonderful would it have been to have a genuine collector in the limelight profess his or her love for NOMOS and solve the problem organically. It didn’t happen then. In truth, it rarely does. But, in one of those seldom situations, it seems the very best man ended up with the right job for Ulysse Nardin.

There’s a bit of a running joke about how many freedivers there are representing watch brands. It kind of gives the impression that 80% of the people you meet on the street can hold their breath for seven minutes or don’t bat an eyelid when confronted with a Great White Shark. That isn’t the case, of course. As such, I’d never actually met or had the pleasure of speaking with a professional freediver. I relished the opportunity to ask all the stupid questions a sub-aquatic novice might wish to.

What’s the deepest you’ve ever dived? Is it cold down there? Does it hurt? What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had beneath the waves? Surprisingly, however, Fred’s interest and genuine passion for watches meant the conversation was able to stay very much within the intended wheelhouse of this pod column. I hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as I did recording it.

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