Ulysse Nardin’s Latest Freak S Nomad is Supercharged with Guilloché

New Watch! • 09 Apr 2024

Ulysse Nardin’s Latest Freak S Nomad is Supercharged with Guilloché

Ulysse Nardin raises the bar of horology with the Freak S Nomad, a spectacular mechanical tour de force that bridges avant-garde watchmaking and age-old artisanal craft. Discover the rest of our Watches & Wonders 2024 coverage

Since going fully independent in 2022, Ulysse Nardin has been on a tear, producing sensational novelties one after another. A horological tour de force and modern icon, the Maison’s Freak collection has captivated horologists and collectors alike with its singular aesthetics.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad
Thanks to guilloché, the Freak S Nomad is unlike any other Freaks that came before it

The latest edition, the Freak S Nomad, unveiled at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024, is a daring play on paradoxes. With it, Ulysse Nardin empathically unearths a new dimension by coupling cutting-edge watchmaking with artisanship to bring forth a novelty steep in haute horlogerie and métiers d’art. The judiciously chosen name, Nomad, points towards Ulysse Nardin’s free spirit that propels its watchmaking endeavours, as well as the inspiration for the guilloché motif.

Extraordinary features, freakish numbers

The Freak S Nomad is irrefutably a watchmaking triumph. To grasp its greatness, one has to delve into the astonishing features and numbers behind the creation. At its core is the complex and unique architecture composed of 373 components that imbue the Freak S Nomad’s Calibre UN-251 Manufacture movement with remarkable qualities. A spellbinder, the flying carousel rotates around its own axis, thanks to two oscillators with silicon balance wheels, inclined at 20 degrees, and escapements enhanced with high-tech DIAMonSIL for extra precision and durability. The proprietary movement renders 72 hours of power reserve. Winding is assumed by Ulysse Nardin’s superior Grinder® winding system.

Silicon, an innovative watchmaking material, was first introduced by Ulysse Nardin into the world of horology back in 2001, as a cutting-edge addition to the transformative movement of the first-ever Freak.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad
The Freak S Nomad is a conflation of mechanical, alchemical and artisanal ideals

The visual spectacle extends beyond anthracite PVD-coated bridges and a minute hand exhibiting a light-blue glow while in the dark, courtesy of a rare handcraft that Ulysse Nardin has deftly incorporated as the pièce de résistance. The enchanting hour disc that underpins the spaceship-like carousel movement is the work of a passionate artisan, who produces one at a time, employing no modern aid, only a cherished 18th-century rose engine turned entirely by hand.

Inspired by the sinuous sand dunes, each plate reveals a poetic sequence of intersecting curves, consuming 240 continuous movements over a three-hour period, in order to catalyse the diamond guilloché pattern finished in sand-coloured CVD. The ingenious juxtaposition of the innovative movement and traditional craftsmanship is encapsulated within an alchemical 45mm case, developed from an experimental array of materials: titanium for the main body; an anthracite PVD-coated titanium bezel; and carbon fibre flanks acting as lugs.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad
The Freak S Nomad takes precision and appreciation to a whole new level

One is entitled to a choice of two straps, in anthracite rubber “ballistic” or matte anthracite alligator with sand-coloured calfskin leather accents. The Freak S Nomad is limited to 99 pieces.

Two decades and over of daring and persistence

A testament to Ulysse Nardin’s technical prowess, the Freak S Nomad is an evocation of mechanical beauty, romantic notion and unbridled imagination. Not only is it built upon unconventionality while honouring tradition, it rewrites narratives and reshapes expectations.

The courageous move to shift the frontier of watchmaking was engineering in 2001, with the debut of the Freak. A landmark moment in Swiss watchmaking, the first of many Freaks to emerge over the years questioned and challenged conventional wisdoms. It fostered new possibilities, thus producing a maverick that eschewed the dial, crown and hands prevalent in the traditional sense, a practice hitherto unheard of. It heralded watchmaking into the new age by pioneering and popularising the use of silicon via the silicon escapement wheel.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad
The Freak S Nomad marks the latest evolution of the Freak collection

Following that, the Freak collection became a test bed for watchmaking innovation. Since then, the integrated Manufacture has filed more than 20 patents for the Freak. The inaugural effort was joined by the Freak DIAMonSIL in 2007, Freak Diavolo in 2010, Freak Vision in 2018, Freak X in 2019 and Freak S in 2022. Last year, the Freak One was awarded the Iconic Watch Prize at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, a recognition thoroughly deserved by the statement piece.

Tags: contemporary horology freak watches and wonders 2024

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