Rewriting Watchmaking Codes
First introduced by Ulysse Nardin in 2001, the Freak was so named because it was such a wild creation. It had no dial, no hands, and no crown. The time was set by a system built into the bezel; to wind the watch, one would use a device built into the case back. Instead of the usual hands, the rotating one-hour carrousel tourbillon showed the time. It appeared to be the first Swiss watch with a silicon escapement. Since then, Ulysse Nardin has filed more than 20 patents for the Freak, and the innovations that started with the Freak are now in every piece of its current collection.
More than two decades on from its original release, the Freak is still an example of the most advanced contemporary watchmaking, and remains a challenging concept. The Freak ONE is a new watch, inspired by its pedigree and features the three signature characteristics: no dial, no hands, and no crown.
The Freak ONE visually synthesizes the dynamics of the previous generations of the Freak, from the notched bezel of the original 2001 Freak, to the open gear train of the Freak Cruiser (2013), to the legibility codes of the 2018 Freak Vision. There’s the black DLC-coated titanium with rose gold detailing that echoes more recent Freak iterations, such as the Freak S. It is regulated by a silicon hairspring and a DIAMonSIL-treated escapement, making the movement abrasion and shock-resistant.
“Today, the Freak embodies our mindset”, says Jean-Christophe Sabatier, Ulysse Nardin’s Chief Product Officer. “The Freak ONE is a fresh expression of who we are. It’s a highly technical watch, but it also has intense emotional value. When you set the time with the bezel, you experience something vital. This is what makes the Freak so special and why true collectors love it.”