The first Freak timepiece was shown to the world in 2001. This timepiece was extraordinary and a bit eccentric — the watch had no dial, no hands and no crown. Apparently, it was the first watch from Swiss timepiece maker Ulysse Nardin with a silicon escapement. Revisiting this unique creation, the brand has revealed its new Freak ONE (Ref. 2405-500-2A/3D) timepiece at Watches and Wonders, being held in Geneva. Needless to say, the new variant pays tribute to the defining elements of the original Freak.
Ulysse Nardin has always been feted for its bold, experimental watches. It’s no surprise then that the watch brand will choose to make an impact on the world’s greatest watchmaking gala with yet another unconventional piece — Ulysse Nardin Freak ONE. This is the only creation that has been unveiled at the event by Ulysse Nardin.
The 44 mm watch has a black DLC-coated titanium case with satin finish and a rose gold bezel. Just like the original Freak, this variant also has sapphire crystals fitted to both the dial side and the caseback of the watch. The time is viewed by rotating the notched bezel, between the lugs on the 6 o’clock side of the case, where there is a locking mechanism for the bezel; lifting it up allows the wearer to rotate the bezel while pushing it down locks it up and prevents accidental adjustment of time.
Lacking hands, dial and crown, the timepiece has a rotating black sunray-engraved barrel cover that sits underneath the movement and doubles as a rotating hour disc. This disc rotates every 12 hours and has a V-shaped indicator with Super-LumiNova, pointing out the current hour against the chapter ring located along the periphery of the display.
Also, the balance escapement and the gear train are placed in a large bridge above the hour disc and function as a minute hand, making a full rotation every hour. It should also be noted that the balance spring and the escapement are placed on the minute bridge and rotating the minute bridge also serves as an orbital 60-minute flying carousel tourbillon.
Ulysse Nardin Freak One is powered by an in-house Caliber UN-240 automatic movement with 72 hours of power reserve. The escapement is treated with Ulysse Nardin’s patented DIAMonSIL coating, a diamond and silicon plasma surface treatment that made its debut on a Freak variant in 2007. Also, automatic winding for the new Ulysse Nardin Freak ONE watch is executed by the timepiece maker’s proprietary Grinder® winding system, which consists of a rotor connected to a frame with four blades to provide twice the angular stroke and increased winding efficiency. It can also be manually wound by rotating the caseback. This is similar to the Freak Vision watch that debuted the brand’s Grinder® winding system back in 2018.
The Freak ONE also marks a step towards realising Ulysse Nardin’s vision of a more sustainable future. Its rubber strap is made of 30 percent recycled production waste and it is created by Ulysse Nardin’s Swiss partner, BIWI. This flexible and water-resistant strap further enhances Ulysse Nardin Freak ONE’s ergonomics and wearability.