Ulysse Nardin continues to enrich the Freak X model lineup with a new reference with an blue enamel guilloché dial.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Ulysse Nardin Freak X Enamel Blue
The Ulysse Nardin Freak X Enamel Blue has a retail price of SGD 56,400 inclusive of GST / CHF 38,000. This release is a limited edition of 50 pieces, and exclusive of PMT The Hour Glass in Thailand and available at all The Hour Glass boutiques.
The Freak was an icon when first launched in 2001. We were there, and covered the event from Baselworld. The initial reaction was one of shock and awe. Here was a watch which in 2001, was so far removed from the rest of the industry that the creators had to name it The Freak. And freak it was. It had no dial, no hands, and the movement itself is fashioned into the hours and minute indicators. It had no crown, so time setting is via turning the scalloped bezel and winding by turning the rear bezel. It was way ahead of its time. We reviewed the 10th Anniversary Freak way back in 2013. The launch watch was a manual winding model, and in 2018, UN released the Freak Vision with the new Grinder Automatic winding system.
Then in 2019, UN introduced the Freak X. It was conceived as an entry level model, with pricing which is a fraction of the Freak Vision. But, many of the original iconic design details were changed. Gone was the quirky front and rear bezels. Replaced by a centuries old and very traditional crown. Gone was the distinct nipple on the sapphire glass where the pivot of the movement was placed. OK, this bulge in the glass disappeared after the first couple of years, replaced by a smooth glass, and the Vision model never had it. A Grinder automatic winding system was put in place. Some loathed the Freak X. Many others, who were perhaps too young to have experienced the original Freak, embraced it.
In this novelty release, the Freak X gets an update and an upgrade. Leveraging from their ownership of one of the most accomplished grand feu enamel makers in the industry, UN’s latest release features a guilloché with blue enamel dial from Donzé Cadrans. This dial is quite magnificent. The blue enamel has a beautiful glint, as it floats over the guilloché dial surface.
The rest of the new Enamel Blue watch remains unchanged from the Freak X released in 2019. Though with the passage of time and the upgrade in the dial, the price has risen from SGD 28.5k in 2019 for the launch edition of Freak X in a titanium case, to SGD 56.4k for the new Freak X Enamel Blue also in a titanium case.
The Freak, first launched in 2001 completely changing the face of watchmaking, continues to push the boundaries. With no dial and no hands, the movement is king as it tells the time. Indeed, it was the first time that a movement was deconstructed to express time on its own. With the new Freak X Enamel Blue, Ulysse Nardin’s independent integrated manufacture merges ancient métiers d’art and cutting-edge technology. In-house know-how, maintained by Ulysse Nardin’s craftsmen, blends perfectly with The Haute Horlogerie.
The particularity of the new Freak is undoubtedly its enamel dial. A decorative technique perpetuated and transmitted over generations of craftsmen; enameling is today only used on watches produced by the most prestigious watchmakers. This technique is rare in all its process, considering the delicate work of the enameller in all the gestures, from the preparation to the application of the enamel. As it requires talent, knowledge and experience, only very few craftsmen can master it.
The Manufacture of Donzé Cadrans in Le Locle, owned by Ulysse Nardin, preserves this excellence know-how. The dial of this novelty is first treated according to the guilloché technique. Thanks to the geometrical lines realized, this first ancient technique applied gives a modern touch to the dial. Several layers of water-based enamel are then applied to this base. Indeed, the enamel is first crushed in a mortar with a pestle and then water is added. Several layers of color dry between them in the oven at a temperature of about 800 degrees and between each layer, only one minute of cooling is needed. Three to four layers of colored enamel and at least five oven cycles are necessary before applying a final layer of translucent enamel, called «fondant». This layer is essential because the result of the process depends on it.
As the guardian of specialized enameling techniques, Ulysse Nardin is once again playing a role in the past, present, and future of Haute Horlogerie. The expertise and mastery of ancient métiers d’art, such as enamel, meld with the Freak’s innovative and disruptive emblems and codes.
The Freak X Enamel Blue features an automatic movement, manual winding and setting via a crown. The UN-230 Manufacture movement is equipped with a flying carrousel that turns on itself once every hour to indicate the time. The balance wheels and escapement are in silicon, of which Ulysse Nardin is master since 2001. Featuring a grey titanium case and case back, it has a 72-hour power reserve and a diameter of 43 mm. For a price of CHF 38’000.- (1’435’000 THB), it is available in a blue alligator leather strap with white stitching and a titanium folding clasp.
In a limited and exclusive edition of 50 pieces, the Freak X Enamel Blue celebrates the 15th anniversary of PMT The Hour Glass in Thailand, an exclusive partner of Ulysse Nardin. “We sincerely value our partnership with Thailand’s most leading luxury watch retail group” says Patrick Pruniaux of Ulysse Nardin. “We truly heralded a new era in mechanical watchmaking, using silicon. Bringing enamel, an ancestral know-how, together with cutting-edge technology, was a real challenge, and the meticulous work done on the Freak X Enamel Blue is mind blowing”.
Ulysse Nardin Freak X Enamel Blue Specifications
|Movement and functions||Caliber UN-230, automatic movement|
Flying carrousel movement rotating around its own axis Oversized oscillator
Balance wheel and Escapement in Silicium
Index & bridges in white Superluminova
Blue enamel on a guilloché hour disc (bottom of the movement) 206 Components / 21 Jewels
|Power reserve||72 hours|
|Case back||Sapphire crystal|
|Water resistance||50 m|
|Strap||Blue alligator leather strap with white stitching Titanium deployant buckle|