The Freak, the brainchild of the late Ulysse Nardin owner Rolf Schnyder and genius watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin, has been with us for 22 years. The first Freak was packed with innovative ideas that would transform the conservative ways of watchmaking, changing perceptions. Since 2001 the watch with no crown to wind and time set, no conventional hands to point hours and minutes and no dial per common designation have appeared in several variants, yet looking at the timeline, many would agree that the new 2023 edition, the Freak ONE, could be the prettiest.
The new Ulysse Nardin Freak ONE celebrates the previous, with many features popping up with just a glance. Still, it is a tribute to the first Ulysse Nardin Freak, highlighting the avant-garde design and technology of one of the most forward-thinking creations of this century so far.
The 44mm black DLC-coated titanium case of the Freak One, with a satin finish and rose gold notched bezel is reminiscent of the Freak S model introduced last year. The open gear train takes you back to the Freak Cruiser launched in 2013, while the Freak Vision design inspires improved legibility. The Freak Vision also “contributed” the Grinder automatic winding system, designed to get energy from the slightest wrist movements. This new Freak ONE uses the silicone hairspring – so common in watchmaking today – which was first introduced with the Freak Blue Phantom in 2008, and the escapement is treated with DIAMonSIL, a synthetic diamond and silicon plasma treatment that was first applied to the Freak in 2007, to make the movement abrasion and shock-resistant.
With the Freak ONE, you read the time from the UN-240 manufacture movement. The one-hour orbital flying carrousel tourbillon replaces the minute hand, and the hour hand is just a pointer filled with Super-LumiNova on a rotating disc. This black sunray-engraved disc is the barrel cover that makes a rotation once in 12 hours. The time-setting system is bezel-operated; the locker at 6 o’clock is to be lifted to allow the bezel to rotate the entire movement. There is a patented winding system on the back to wind the watch.
The Freak ONE is a marvel, with the no crown, no hands and no dial concept executed perfectly, and the changes to the appearance are significant. Perhaps this is the first Freak that is not freakish; it is a well-proportioned and harmonious watch. The new Freak ONR looks best on a black rubber ‘ballistic’ textured strap, but Ulysse Nardin offers a choice of a black matt alligator leather strap or a two-tone rubber strap; all versions come with black DLC-coated titanium and rose gold deployant buckle. The prices are CHF 65,000 (tax incl.), GBP 60,330 (tax incl.), EUR 69,600 (21% tax incl.), and USD 68,600 (tax excl.).
For more information, please visit www.ulysse-nardin.com.