A high-tech twist on the model from which the superwatch was born.
The Ulysse Nardin Freak luxury has been around in one form or another since 2001 and, despite the name, has proven to be a versatile platform of innovation and design. However, from the beginning, the same basic principles have been behind every Freak. The Freak is a watch in which the entire movement rotates once per hour, functioning as a watch’s minute hand – the movement is driven by an oversized mainspring that takes up the entire diameter of the case. The movement’s gears are arranged along its long axis, with the first gear at the tip driving gear teeth underneath the inside of the bezel. At the other end of the movement are the regulating components, including the escape wheel and balance wheel.
One of the special features of the Freak is the lack of a crown – the construction of the movement and mainspring precludes the use of a crown, and the standard crown is too small to provide sufficient leverage for winding and setting. Instead, the watch is wound via a bezel mounted on the back of the watch. Setting the time is done via the matching bezel on the front, and the Freak Blue Cruiser has an additional feature in the form of a locking lever that prevents accidental movement of the bezel.
The Blue Cruiser also features an updated version of the twin direct escapement that first appeared on the 2001 Freak. The double direct escapement uses two escape wheels with intermeshing teeth and is a variation of the older invention of the so-called “echappement naturel” invented by Breguet in 1789. The natural escapement has two escapement gears meshing with each other – one driven by the other – the idea is to create an escapement that does not require lubrication (like a chronometer escapement), but it can also Provides impulses in both directions of balance wheel rotation and is automatically actuated (like a lever escapement). Breguet only produced around 20 watches with this escapement – the tolerances required to make the escapement always work proved impossible to achieve even with the best machining techniques of the time. wholesale replica watches
The idea was too good to die completely, though, and since then many other watchmakers have tried their hand at the idea, one of them being George Daniels. Ulysse Nardin’s version uses a material that Breguet couldn’t work with but that he would certainly be fascinated by: silicon. Although many new watch enthusiasts are unaware of the early history of silicon components, the first experiments with the material in watchmaking were by a consortium of Rolex, Swatch Group, Patek Philippe and Ulysse Nardin with technical support from CSEM Conducted (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology). CSEM is not well known outside of the industries it serves, but it is a sizable company, with more than 500 employees and more than 200 patents since its founding in 1984, and its manufacturing capabilities were critical to the development of first-generation silicon. Important watch components. By the time the Blue Cruiser came along, Ulysse Nardin had already introduced a second version of the Dual Direct escapement, now called the Dual Ulysse, which had better integration between the two escape wheels than the first version, and Provides more reliable operation.
In addition to all its other technical features, the Freak is also a tourbillon. As far as I know, the intention of Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, then technical director of Ulysse Nardin, was not necessarily to improve the advantages of the tourbillon as a regulating device itself, but nevertheless, the Freak is a watch with the following characteristics: a regulating mechanism rotating platform, just like a traditional tourbillon, so it fits the broader definition.
The original idea for the Freak came from Carole Forestier, one of the best-known technical minds in the industry – for example, she was responsible for a range of innovative complications at Cartier in the mid-2000s (that’s the mid-2000s). I was introduced to her and her work for the first time). The Forestier design, which she developed shortly after graduating from watchmaking school in 1997, won the Abraham-Louis Breguet Prize, and the patent was acquired by copy Ulysse Nardin, which later became the Freak.
Now, from a technical standpoint, the Freak is certainly a fascinating watch, but it’s hard to convey the emotional impact it had when it was first released. The debut of the Freak coincided with a surge in interest in fine watchmaking, and mechanical timepieces in particular, thanks to the rise of the first generation of enthusiast discussion forums on the Internet. The kind of novel and even extreme watch design represented also generated new interest. It is one of the most important watch designs of the last fifty years or so because it awakened the Swiss watch industry (which historically was extremely risk-averse and conservative) to the realization that mechanically innovative watchmaking combined with unconventional design really does can make the Swiss watch industry successful. A company that is on the map.
Today, this legacy lives on. If you’ve ever seen a fake watch that was undeniably extroverted, incredibly complex, and visually transgressive, chances are you were looking at a watch that was influenced in some way by the Freak’s debut two decades ago. For collectors interested in owning and experiencing a true landmark, look no further than Freak.