New Watch! • 16 Jan 2019

Horological X-Factor: The Freak X from Ulysse Nardin

by Blake Reilly


The crowds gathering in Geneva this week expect exciting news from the world’s leading watch companies. After years of research, development and design, the pressure is on brands to showcase their latest technical and aesthetic innovations. Ulysse Nardin is a company that never fails to intrigue its audience – they possess a certain knack for novel. The release of the Freak X is yet another example of precision watchmaking daring to be different.

Ulysse Nardin broke the mould in 2001 with the release of the Freak. No hands, no crown and no dial (typically the features which make a watch… a watch), the Freak did away with any preconceptions of timepiece aesthetic and displayed the time instead with a flying carousel tourbillon movement which rotated on its own axis The Freak broke the mould and has been a beloved addition to the Le Locle family ever since.

The Freak X is easily distinguishable as a Freak due to its lack of a conventional dial however, there are a few key differences between it and the rest of the collection. Firstly, the size. Freaks such as the Freak Vision have typically been a formidable 45mm, but Ulysse Nardin have paired things back slightly to 43mm. This watch is still undeniably a statement piece, but it offers a somewhat more versatile alternative. Secondly, the crowning feature. The Freak X is the first Freak to veer from using the rotation of the bezel to set the time, and instead feature a crown. Thirdly, the variety. Available in either Titanium, Carbonium or Rose Gold, the new release provides fans of the brand with a bit of choice. Finally, price. From a cost perspective, the Freak X is remarkably cheaper than its fellow Freaks. Price ascends in the aforementioned order of Titanium, Carbonium and Rose Gold, yet they each offer a comparatively more affordable entry-point for those who might have before only dreamed of such an addition to their wrist.

The Caliber UN-230 movement is debuted inside the case of the Freak X. With a frequency of 3Hz, automatic winding and a 72-hour power reserve, the movement can be relied upon to tick along with accuracy and reliability. Ulysse Nardin is a company which balances the bold with the traditional. Needless to say, the Freak X certainly fits on the courageous side of their precision production line of timepieces.


Blake Reilly

Blake majors in Politics, International Relations and Ancient History. Having inherited his great grandfather’s Omega Seamaster, Blake has since developed a keen interest in Swiss watches and the history behind them.


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