We’re less than a month away from the start of WatchTime New York, our biggest and most luxurious watch collectors’ event to date, taking place October 23-24 at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall and featuring more than a dozen watch brands displaying their latest timepieces. (Click here for event details, including a complete list of sponsoring brands, and to purchase tickets). Among the sponsors is Ulysse Nardin, which will showcase the new Freak “Blue Phantom” limited edition.
The original Ulysse Nardin Freak, introduced in 2001, was the first timepiece to use silicon escapement wheels in its movement. The watch’s exterior also turned heads — with an unprecedented design that had no traditional dial, crown or hands. Instead, the watch and its movement were designed so that the movement itself, would rotate in a manner that could indicate the time. The watch has undergone many evolutions since then, including a version that was the first-ever watch to use Ulysse Nardin’s patented “DiamonSil” material, a type of diamond-coated silicon. (Click on photos for larger images.)
The Freak “Blue Phantom” — like its black-dialed predecessor, the original Freak Phantom, introduced in 2013 — uses even more silicon parts in the movement than previous Freaks, including for the hairspring and throughout the majority of the escapement. The movement, Caliber UN-208, is produced entirely in-house, including the oscillator. It is outfitted with an eight-day “flying” carrousel tourbillon, which makes a complete revolution around the center once every hour to indicate hours and minutes. The tourbillon cage, which rotates in on itself once per minute, has an arrow that indicates the passing of the seconds on a transparent half-circle. The “zero” position stays steady on the axis of the minute indicator.
Both the “flying” motion of the minutes-indication movement and the seconds-indication via the tourbillon cage are enabled by a cutting-edge ball-bearing system that dispenses with the need for a supporting bridge. Like previous versions of the Ulysse Nardin Freak, the Freak Phantom’s movement is wound by turning the bezel on the back of the case (one full rotation is equivalent to 12 hours of power reserve), and the time is adjusted by turning the front bezel. Because of a direct gear link between the three “hands,” the user needn’t worry about throwing the hour, minute or second out of step when adjusting or readjusting the time. The movement offers a very lengthy power reserve of eight days. The Ulysse Nardin Freak Phantom is a limited edition of 99 pieces. Its 45-mm diameter case is in 18k rose gold, and the dial-side movement is in a rich, nautical blue.
The new Ulysse Nardin Freak Phantom — a limited edition of 99 pieces — will retail for $128,000. If you’d like to get a closer look at this watch and find out how it looks and feels on your own wrist, click here to reserve your spot at WatchTime New York, America’s Luxury Watch Show. Tickets are going fast!