Stay on top of all watchmaking news ! OK

This search is sponsored by BEHRENS

Search in :
Watches and Wonders
Ulysse Nardin - Freak One

Ulysse Nardin Freak One

No dial, no hands, no crowns

More than two decades since it released the first Freak, Ulysse Nardin celebrates its joyously unorthodox watch with the new Freak One.

Even now, 22 years on from its original release, the Freak is still a challenging concept. It’s also one of the most advanced examples of contemporary watchmaking. It is inspired by the first Freak featuring its three signature characteristics: no dial, no hands and no crown. 

Freak One

Freak One © Ulysse Nardin

No dial

Typically, mechanical watches hide their workings under a dial. But the Freak has no dial. Its movement doubles as its minute hand, while the hour hand is a pointer set on a rotating disc that sits under the movement. 

No hands

The unconventional Freak has neither a big hand nor a little hand. Instead, its one-hour orbital carrousel tourbillon becomes the minute hand and the hour hand is replaced by a pointer on a rotating disc. A challenging design, but easy to read. 

No crown

Best practice suggests that to adjust and wind a mechanical watch, you need a crown. The original Freak replaced the crown with a time-setting system integrated into the bezel and was wound via a mechanism in the case back. 

Freak One

Freak One © Ulysse Nardin

The watch is regulated by a silicon hairspring introduced in 2008 and an escapement treated with DIAMonSIL, a trailblazing synthetic diamond and silicon plasma surfacing treatment first applied to the Freak in 2007 that makes the movement abrasion and shock-resistant. The Freak One also synthesises the visual dynamics of previous generations of the Freak, from the notched bezel of the original 2001 Freak, to the open gear train of the Freak Cruiser of 2013, to the legibility codes of the 2018 Freak Vision. The black DLC-coated titanium and rose gold detailing echoes recent Freak iterations, such as last year’s Freak S.

The Freak’s unconventional time-setting system is operated via the bezel. It is activated when the locker at 6 o’clock is lifted, releasing the setting system. Turning the bezel rotates the entire movement, which doubles as the watch’s hands. Pushing the locker back down fixes the bezel in place so the time-setting system cannot be disturbed. The black sunray-engraved barrel cover sits underneath the movement and doubles as the rotating hour disc. It makes a full rotation once every 12 hours, indicating the hour via a V-shaped pointer that is filled with Super-LumiNova® to aid low-light legibility.

Freak One

Freak One © Ulysse Nardin

The Freak’s distinctive minute bridge hovers under the sapphire crystal and carries the entire gear train, an oversized silicon oscillator and an orbital 60-minute flying carrousel tourbillon. The escapement is treated with Ulysse Nardin’s patented DIAMonSIL coating. The Freak One's automatic movement has a 72-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, a bit like a bicycle fitted with four pedals instead of two. This makes it twice as efficient as typical winding systems.

The Freak One also picks up on Ulysse Nardin’s drive towards a more sustainable future. Its rubber strap is made of 30 per cent recycled production waste by Ulysse Nardin’s Swiss partner BIWI. This new flexible and water-resistant strap further enhances the Freak One's ergonomics and wearability.


Recommended reading

Watch Finder

Search by:

Find your watch >

The brand

Combining cutting-edge technology with a unique heritage from marine chronometry is what sets Ulysse Nardin apart from other brands.

Find out more >

All the news >

Contact brand >

All the watches >