The new high-tech watchmaking masterpiece developed by Ulysse Nardin is taking off, driven by a powerful solar wind. Ulysse Nardin looked to the brightest stars of the cosmos for inspiration for this new interpretation of the Freak. At first glance, the brand’s pioneering new watch resembles a space vessel with twin reactors, which will find its finest expression on the wrists of those who never doubt. This creation combining all the superlatives came into being thanks to the expertise of an integrated Manufacture; it represents the expression of contemporary luxury masterfully manifested in an avant-garde watchmaking design.
If we need to look for a milestone in the history of Ulysse Nardin, it’s the year 2001, which saw the launch of the very first Freak watch, one of the most innovative models of its time. This revolutionary timepiece broke free from all the conventions of watchmaking history: no hands, no dial, no crown. The memorable project was conceived by Carole Forestier Kasapi, then turned into reality thanks to Ludwig Oechslin, a philosopher and a genius, at the time a watchmaker for Ulysse Nardin. For more than twenty years, Ulysse Nardin has constantly been seeking to push back the limits of traditional watchmaking in the Freak collection. To wear a Freak is to carry a laboratory on your wrist that has hosted several major innovations.
Ulysse Nardin takes the three-dimensional effect to the limit
Having made the choice to amaze the aficionados, the Manufacture’s developers designed the brand’s first double oscillator with a differential with automatic winding, made possible by the “Grinder” system, twice as efficient as a traditional winding system. The Freak S is the obvious technical extension of the Freak Vision: a new mechanical marvel.
Ulysse Nardin’s technical teams have succeeded spectacularly in taking the three-dimensional effect to the limit. The Freak S’ inclined double oscillator is a premiere, the prime signature of new UN-251 Manufacture movement. Positioned on distinct planes as if on two launching pads, the two XXL silicium balance-wheels with inertia-blocks are linked by a differential, which draws the average of their rates. Assembled on two plans inclined at 20° one from another, they are linked by a bridge in rose gold in the form of a rocket’s wing. Siamese, in a rhythmic tango, they give the impression of two turboprops beating time at a frequency of 2.5 Hz – reinforcing the timepiece’s 3D effect and space inspiration.
The inclined double oscillator and its differential enable improved regulation of the movement’s running rate. The most common application of a differential is in the transmission of an automobile. A differential is required in a vehicle when it makes a turn, as it allows the drive wheels turn at different speeds: the wheels located on the outside of the turning curve turn faster than the inside wheels. Here, it performs an indispensable function: drawing the average of two rates and evenly distributing the barrel’s energy to the two regulating organs, so that its amplitude remains stable. The two oscillators of the Freak S never oscillate at the same speed and are therefore mutually compensated thanks to this mechanism, which is as esthetic as it is useful.
After having been the first to use silicium in the very first Freak watch in 2001, here Ulysse Nardin is showcasing an innovative pioneering surface treatment, a combination of silicium and synthetic diamond: DiamonSIL (patented in 2009). The silicium components of the escapement of the Freak S have been coated with a layer of artificial diamond which optimizes its performance and its resistance to abrasion and to the several million impacts per year on the watch. This process is one of the major innovations introduced by the Manufacture in the last 20 years. The plasma technology of the DiamonSIL, developed by Ulysse Nardin at Sigatec in Sion, Switzerland, has been one of the iconic technologies of the Brand’s know-how. This unique technology is also used in the brand’s flagship movement, the UN-118.
The “Grinder” automatic winding system that already equipped the Freak Vision has now been substantially improved
The micromechanical machinery featured beneath the crystal of the Freak S is nothing other than a carousel with an autonomy of 72 hours, with no hands, dial, or crown. The Freak indicates the time thanks to the rotation of its movement. Two bridges rotate around the center. They indicate the hours and minutes, respectively. An arrow covered with Super-LumiNova® shows the hour while the nose cone of the rocket, which bears the balance-wheels and the escapement, indicates the minutes. In the course of its 60-minute revolution, the movement pivots on its central axis inside a high-tech case with a sapphire crystal.
Whereas in traditional tourbillons, the balance wheel makes one rotation per minute within a cage, in the Freak, it’s the whole movement – including its regulating organ – that makes a complete turn on itself in one hour. The Freak S’ time is set by rotating the bezel in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
The “Grinder” automatic winding system that already equipped the Freak Vision has now been substantially improved. The Grinder is twice as efficient as a classical automatic winding system since its energy transmission is twice as efficient as that of existing systems. It uses the smallest of wrist movements. The oscillating weight is connected to a frame carrying four blades, which gives the self-winding system twice the angular stroke. A flexible guiding mechanism considerably limits friction.
The Freak S is proposed by Ulysse Nardin in a limited edition of 75 pieces
If it seems that the stars are randomly distributed in the cosmos, the subtle decoration of the deep black mineral decorative plate, sparkling with golden particles, has not been left “to chance” … The glittering effect of the aventurine that decorates the movement, gives the Freak S the sparkle of a starry night. Legend surrounding aventurine recounts that in the thirteenth century, on the island of Murano in Venice, home to the famous glass-makers, a craftsman accidentally, or “par aventure”, let some copper filings fall into a pot of molten glass, so creating aventurine glass, or “avventurina” in Italian, meaning “by chance”. The black aventurine disk turns beneath the markers – the Ulysse Nardin logo disappears discreetly as if absorbed by the passage of the sparkling decoration.
The Freak S is proposed in a limited edition of 75 pieces, of which just 40 will go into production in 2022. Every watch is fitted with an alligator strap decorated with a Sport cut-out in rose gold colour.
The timepiece is fitted with a self-folding clasp system in titanium with black DLC. Thanks to a new patented triple-folding system that operates in synchronized fashion (SYNC), the clasp opens with a single click. Incredibly easy, for fail-safe security.
CHF 130’000 / EUR 123’500 / USD 137’200 /GBP 114’040