Ulysse Nardin would not be the first brand I’d turn to when considering modern dive watches. But I must admit that the Diver Net OPS and the Diver X Skeleton OPS in this review immediately stood out when I saw the pictures online. Both watches feature a military-inspired camouflage look that I quite like, so when they landed on my desk, I was happy to take them for a spin. As it turns out, there is more to the story than just their looks. It’s time to find out more.

It’s not the first time Ulysse Nardin has released a duo of its divers like these OPS versions. Last year, Nacho wrote an introduction article on the Azure versions of the same watches. While those stood out because of the color combination, this year’s releases are more to my taste. I like watches with a military-inspired look. The combination of black, gray, and saturated green works well together. Add a camouflage pattern in the mix, and I’m all eyes and ears.

Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton OPS pocket shot

The story of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS

But just like Nacho explained last year for the Azure editions, the story of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS is also about sustainability. Because Ulysse Nardin has a rich history in diving and naval watchmaking, it only makes sense that the brand’s sustainability goals are tied to the oceans of the world. This translates to Ulysse Nardin collaborating with high-tech start-ups and environmental advocates to find innovative new materials and raise awareness. The first results of that quest were presented in 2020 with the introduction of the Diver Net Concept Watch, which was partly made of recycled fishing nets.

Four years later, the Diver Net is part of the brand’s regular collection. Together with the Diver X Skeleton, it forms a duo of dive watches that use lightweight modern materials and contemporary design. The military-inspired OPS (short for “Operations”) models are not the first Ulysse Nardin watches to get this camouflage makeover. They are the follow-ups to the two Freak OPS models introduced last year. While those were a fun play on the Freak One and Freak X, the Divers are the better overall canvas for the OPS look. 

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS

The details of the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS

Let’s kick things off with some details of the Diver Net OPS. The watch has a 44mm case that is 14.81mm thick and measures 50mm long with a 20mm lug spacing. This case has a 300m depth rating and features a construction using multiple materials. The middle part of it is made of 95% recycled stainless steel, while the sides and case back are made from a combination of Nylo (a material using recycled fishing nets) and Carbonium (an eco-friendly carbon fiber composite also used for airplanes). The unidirectional bezel is made of steel with a Carbonium insert. I love the camouflage look of the material as it fits the military theme perfectly.

The case is paired with a khaki sandblasted dial with the signature oversized X in the middle. This large X features a vertically brushed finish and black lacquered lines to accentuate the shape. The rhodium-finished hands and applied indices are filled with beige Super-LumiNova. Together with the luminous numerals on the bezel, they light up bright green in the dark. You will find a slightly recessed sub-seconds register with an integrated date window at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator under the 12 o’clock marker. Both of these sub-dials are very nicely integrated. They use the same colors as the rest of the dial and blend in perfectly.

The UN-118 inside

Ulysse Nardin equips the watch with its in-house caliber UN-118. This automatic movement consists of 260 parts and 50 jewels. It ticks away at 28,800vph with a generous 72-hour power reserve. The movement features a silicon balance spring, and the escapement wheel and anchor are made of a combination of silicium and artificial diamond called DiamonSil. Thanks to the sapphire window on the case back, you can see the neatly finished movement in action.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS case detail

Lastly, the watch comes with the choice of a khaki-green fabric strap partly made from upcycled fishing nets or a khaki rubber strap. We had the watch fitted with the rubber strap, which has an integrated black ceramic “Ulysse Nardin” tag on the longer part. The strap also comes with a black butterfly clasp that matches the case nicely.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS pocket shot

Wearing the Ulysse Nardin Diver NET OPS

For such a substantial watch, the Diver Net OPS wears extremely well on the wrist. While it feels like a large watch in terms of diameter, it wears a lot slimmer than its nearly 15mm thickness would have you think. The flexible rubber strap balances the watch very nicely, and I quickly got used to the integrated tag. I liked wearing the watch for the few days we had it in. On the wrist, it’s also easier to understand how well the watch is made. It feels super sturdy and capable, and the bezel rotates with nice high-pitched clicks that only enhance the feeling of wearing a well-made watch.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS on wrist

Additionally, you get a better idea of all the intricate details. Good examples are the mix of finishes used for the bezel, the combination of different materials, and the layered design of the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. They show that Ulysse Nardin puts a lot of thought and effort into creating a dive watch that stands out from the crowd. I would expect nothing less from the brand, and with a price of €13,289, this is certainly not a cheap dive watch. But after witnessing it up close, I understand that price much better. You can debate specs and style, but you can’t argue that Ulysse Nardin hasn’t made a high-quality, capable dive watch, and I liked wearing it a lot.

The details of the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton OPS

But how would it compare to the second of the two Diver OPS models? This one is the Diver X Skeleton OPS, which has a way more dramatic presence. The skeletonized movement leaves much room to see straight through the watch besides letting you see the inner workings, of course. There is an instant attraction to the level of openness that immediately stood out. But let’s start with some basic specs before we get to the good stuff.

This watch features a 44mm case that is 15.7mm thick and measures just under 50mm long and 20mm between the lugs. That means this sandblasted and satin-finished black DLC titanium housing is slightly thicker than the Diver Net’s case. While the 0.9mm difference seems substantial, the reality is that it doesn’t feel that much thicker. On top of that, the watch sits incredibly well on my wrist thanks to the curved and dramatically sloping lugs. This watch has a 200m depth rating and is fairly lightweight thanks to the use of titanium for both the mid-case and the case back.

The open-worked dial design

The open-worked dial features a cleverly designed titanium double X in the center. It features a vertically brushed finish with black and khaki stripes for some much-desired detail. The structure frames a large oscillator and silicium escapement at 6 o’clock. On the outskirts of the dial, we find a black ring with the 60-minute scale printed in beige. On top of the ring are the black hour markers filled with beige Super-LumiNova. Together with the lume-filled black hands and the beige-colored numerals on the bezel, they light up bright green in the dark.

Inside the case, Ulysse Nardin equips the watch with its heavily skeletonized in-house UN-372 caliber. This automatic movement features a black X-shaped rotor in line with the two Xs you can see through the front and rear sapphire crystals. As I already mentioned, it’s impressive to see how much open space the movement offers. If you can get the rotor in just the right position, you will have a nearly unobstructed view through the watch on the 9 o’clock side. The 171-part automatic movement operates at 21,600vph and offers a generous 72-hour power reserve. It also features a silicon escapement wheel, anchor, and balance spring.

Diver X Skeleton OPS on wrist

Wearing the Ulysse Nardin Diver X Skeleton OPS

Like the Diver Net, the Diver X Skeleton OPS landed on my desk with a khaki rubber strap and a black DLC titanium butterfly clasp. It also features an integrated black ceramic Ulysse Nardin tag for extra visual appeal. The overall feel on the wrist is the same as that of the Diver Net OPS. Indeed, the Diver X Skeleton is a sturdy, well-built watch. These two also share the same case style, but the visual appeal is completely different. The predominantly black case, bezel color, and skeletonized movement play a huge part in that.

I love the overall military style combined with the open-worked construction. It makes this Diver X one of my favorite skeletonized watches, and I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it. Knowing that I usually do not like skeletonized watches, that says a lot. Initially, I also thought it would be my favorite of the two new OPS models. However, after wearing both for a couple of days, the Diver Net started growing on me tremendously. The mix of materials and finishes with the well-designed dial make it equally impressive although very distinct.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS And Diver X Skeleton OPS

Final thoughts about the Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS and Diver X Skeleton OPS

Having said that, if you like skeletonized watches, the Diver X Skeleton OPS could be a great pick. It does come at a heftier price, though. At €27,570, this is an expensive dive watch. What you get in return is visually and technically super impressive. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the watch wears despite its chunky case. Both the design and the lightweight materials make it easy to wear daily. But the big question is whether it is worth double the price of the Diver Net OPS.

Honestly, if you are looking for an open-worked watch like the Diver X Skeleton OPS, you are probably not considering the Diver Net OPS and vice versa. That’s why I think that these two watches do not compete with each other. There is plenty of competition from well-known high-end brands at the same price levels. But if you like a substantially sized diver with a cool military-inspired aesthetic and have a lot of money to spend, these two watches could be solid options. In the end, my favorite of the two was the Diver Net OPS. I went into this review thinking that the Diver X Skeleton would easily win my heart, but the Diver Net managed to thoroughly impress me, which was a very welcome surprise from Ulysse Nardin.

For more information, on these two models, please visit the Ulysse Nardin website. In the comments section, let us know which one of them you would choose.

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