Historically, many military units have used green as part of their uniforms and equipment, creating a long-standing tradition associated with the colour. Use of military green in watches can indeed evoke a sense of military heritage. For military and outdoor purposes, watches often need to be durable and easily readable. Opting for a matte or subdued green colour can help reduce reflections and improve readability in various lighting conditions. Ulysse Nardin is the latest luxury watchmaker to make use of military green for its novelties. After unveiling the Freak [X OPS] at the Watches and Wonders 2023 in Shanghai, the brand has just unveiled its military green variant (Ref. 2403-500-8A/3A) at the ongoing Dubai Watch Week.
Military green is a versatile colour that can complement various materials and finishes, such as stainless steel and black PVD coatings. This versatility allows watch designers to create aesthetically pleasing and functional timepieces. The new watch comes in a 44 mm black DLC-coated titanium case with a Carbonium® bezel. What’s more, this model has a crown for winding and setting time — it is devoid of conventional hands for indicating hours and minutes. For Dubai Watch Week 2023, Ulysse Nardin has put forth the Freak One Ops (short for operations), which is essentially the same model as the Watches and Wonders Shanghai version. However, it exudes an aura and appeal of camouflage and military aesthetics.
Produced under high pressure and at very high temperatures, the new watch comprises carbon fibre offcuts from the aerospace industry and one-third high-temperature epoxy. The fibres measure just 7µm and are woven together in an organic fashion to create a unique finish. The military green barrel cover has a sunray pattern while the narrow outer chapter ring with Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and less obvious applied indices constitute the dial surface. The main bridge structure with gear train components and minute marker forms the brand’s signature anchor emblem. A flying balance bridge is a counterweight to the unconventional minutes hand, rotating alongside the gear train above the dark green surface. The hour pointer on a rotating disc and the minute pointer at the end of the 60-minute orbital flying carousel tourbillon, replacing the minute hand, along with the Arabic indices, are treated with a beige Super-LumiNova that emits a green glow in the dark.
The bezel-operated time-setting system features a locker at 6 o’clock, enabling the rotation of the entire movement. Ulysse Nardin powers the Freak One Ops with its in-house UN-240 automatic movement, boasting a 90-hour power reserve at a 21,600vph beat rate. It incorporates the brand’s proprietary Grinder winding rotor system, designed for ultra-fast bidirectional winding from even slight wrist motion. The movement’s flying carousel with its silicon balance wheel and escapement are suspended by a bridge that acts as the minute hand; a second bridge serves as the hour hand.
Ulysse Nardin has paired the watch with an integrated khaki and black “ballistic” rubber strap or a two-tone rubber strap, both crafted from 30% recycled rubber and each secured with a black DLC titanium and black ceramic folding buckle. Turning the watch over showcases the counter-clockwise twisting of the outer caseback ring to wind the watch.