Freakishly nautical spectacle
Very few watches that follow minimalist lines can be so bold and loud as the Freak Vision by Ulysse Nardin.
FOR ANYONE THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWING ULYSSE NARDIN, the advent of the Freak in 2001, from inception to collection, it can be a bit mystifying. Traditionally, the brand has been very faithful to its marine heritage. And on top of that, it has always gone out of its way to make nautical life not only horologically relevant but also fun. But then came the Freak and things got complicated.
For one thing, this isn’t a readily nautical watch. Unlike other popular collections like the Marine or their avant garde Diver, the Freak collection which began with the Freak Out was particularly modernist in feel. Aside from the anchor which formed part of the hands, there was nothing intrinsically marine. And for many people, that was a good thing as it moved the brand away from the sea and slightly more inland.
With the Freak Vision though, the sea has come back with a vengeance. Time is still indicated in the “Freak” manner that sets the collection apart: by the baguette movement itself, a “flying carrousel” rotating around its own axis. Yet the design components are completely different. The new 3D carved upper bridge is inspired by a boat’s hull. The new box-domed sapphire allows for a thinner middle and bezel. Finally, the entire case itself is new—horns, bezel, the rubber on the side—making for a look that is much more open and generous.
But being the premier piece from Ulysse Nardin means that the watch had some surprises. A new Grinder Automatic Winding System which makes the rotor winder more efficient as well as the established Anchor Escapement which removes friction from the operations of the pallet fork. It is something that fans of the brand have come to expect. To make it abundantly clear where the marine design element has come from, images of a great white shark have been readily available. And you can see it when the hands of the timepiece lines up!
Ulysse Nardin Freak Collection.