The Essence of A True Horological Icon: Ulysse Nardin’s Freak One

The story of Ulysse Nardin’s Freak is as unusual as its name, which, while it may sounds out of place, on closer inspection it is perfectly suiting. This watch takes on an usual personality as a timepiece that forgoes a dial, a crown, and hands.

When unveiled in 2001 under the direction of then owner Rolf Schnyder and watchmaker Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, it pretty much broke all conventions of fine watchmaking. At the same time, it established benchmarks with innovative technologies and creative design. Since it was developed without the basic elements of a wristwatch, it was given the name “Freak,” but with a highly positive implication.

The time was set using the bezel, the winding was accomplished by turning the case back, and the time was displayed by a leisurely rotating one-hour tourbillon. In addition, this avant garde statement piece introduced the first silicon escapement into the world of watchmaking. The eight magnificent executions produced since then boast a whopping 20 patents.

The Freak One unveiled at Watches and Wonders this year deliberately goes back to its roots and boasts some technical highlights from the Freak’s 20-plus year pedigree. Featuring the knurled bezel of the very first Freak, the open-face gear train of the 2013 Freak Cruiser, and the constant force of the 2018 edition, the Freak One is a best-of of its predecessors. In addition, the watch’s pace is set by the silicon hairspring introduced in 2008 and an escapement coated with DiamonSil, a pioneering plasma coating of silicon and synthetic diamond that was first used in 2007. It protects the escapement from both wear and shock.

The Freak One makes its entrance in a black DLC-coated titanium case with a diameter of 44mm and rose gold bezel. As for the movement, the Freak One is driven by the self-winding caliber UN-240 with a remarkable 90-hour power reserve.

Pricing for the Ulysse Nardin Freak One is marked at $68,000.

To learn more, visit Ulysse Nardin, here.

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