THE LEGEND CONTINUES
The Freak collection is an act of modern horological art and cutting-edge mechanical expertise, epitomizing the long-established and audacious savoir-faire of the integrated Manufacture Ulysse Nardin. Thanks to its disruptive design and revolutionary technical components, the Freak has broken every traditional rule of watchmaking.
When the first Freak was launched in 2001, under the headship of maverick owner Rolf Schnyder and genius watchmaker Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, it was an unlikely iconoclast. Due to its three iconic characteristics – no dial, no hands, and no crown – Schnyder felt there was only one name for this wild creation: Freak. It was the first time that a movement had been deconstructed to express time on its own and, giving rise to completely new watchmaking codes celebrating mechanics. The Freak was also the first mechanical watch in history with silicon escapement wheels, ushering in the era of this revolutionary material in watchmaking.
The key concepts that define new-millennium watchmaking can be traced back to the Freak, which was the industry’s first hyperwatch: the concept of the engine as an art form, the movement laid bare in full display as the star; the concept of civil time telling transformed into kinetic art. Ulysse Nardin has considered the Freak as a watchmaking laboratory with more than twenty patents filed for the Freak and silicon technology since 2001.
Looking like no other timepiece – its design is dictated by the mechanics – and representing a key milestone in Haute Horlogerie history, the Freak truly stands out as a highly singular expression of time-telling art, and it embodies the ability of the independent Manufacture Ulysse Nardin to push the boundaries of high horology engineering since 1846.
This year, Ulysse Nardin introduces the Freak ONE, the quintessence of Freak. As the direct descendant of the original Freak 2001, it features its three signature characteristics: no dial, no hands, and no crown. The rotation observed is given by the movement itself, with its iconic orbital flying one-hour carrousel.
The Freak ONE, in black DLC titanium and rose gold, showcases the Freak’s most essential and celebrated challenging designs and technological advances over its 22-year history.
While mechanical watches hide their mechanism under a dial, the Freak has no dial, no hour hand and no minute hand. Instead, its orbital flying carrousel tourbillon, carrying the entire gear train and an oversized silicon oscillator, indicates the minutes by completing a full rotation in 60 minutes, whereas the hour hand is replaced by a V-shaped pointer fixed to the black sunray-engraved barrel cover, which completes its rotation in 12 hours. Although a traditional mechanical watch has a crown for setting and winding, the Freak ONE does not. The very design of the movement allows the time to be set directly through the bezel and the wound through a mechanism in the case back.
The Freak ONE is regulated by a silicon oversized oscillator and hairspring beating at frequency of 3 Hz, as well as an escapement treated with DIAMonSIL. This innovative patented plasma surfacing treatment, which combines silicon and synthetic diamond, was first introduced on the Freak in 2007, making the movement abrasion and shock resistant.
The Freak ONE’s automatic movement has a 90-hour power reserve. Its patented Grinder® winding system has been designed to capture energy with even the smallest of wrist movements. Its rotor is connected to a frame carrying four blades, which gives the system twice the angular stroke. This makes it twice as efficient as typical winding systems.
This timepiece also picks up on Ulysse Nardin’s drive towards a more sustainable future. It is the first Freak with an integrated rubber strap made of thirty per cent recycled production waste. This flexible and water-resistant strap further enhances the Freak ONE’s ergonomics and wearability.
Its rubber strap is made of 30 per cent recycled production waste.