Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin broke convention and redefined contemporary watchmaking when it launched the original Freak back in 2021. The unorthodox timepiece introduced a completely new design with no dial, no hands, and no crown, which changed perceptions of what a mechanical watch should look like. Over the last two decades, Ulysse Nardin has continually refined the formula to create new iterations of the Freak. For 2023, the Swiss brand has revealed a new version called the Freak One. Revealed at the 2023 Watches and Wonders, the new flagship timepiece pays tribute to the original Freak that came out 22 years ago by returning the iconic watch to its roots.
The Freak One features a thoroughly modern design free of clutter; yet, it clearly borrows visual elements from previous generations of the timepiece. The notched bezel is inspired by the original 2001 Freak, while the open gear train harks back to the Freak Cruiser of 2013. Its suave look that blends black DLC-coated titanium with contrasting rose gold finish is stylistically more inclined to recent Freak iterations, such as last year’s Freak S. The Freak One retains three signature characteristics: no dial, no hands, and no crown.
Instead of a dial, there’s a rotating disc that sits underneath the movement and features a pointer that functions as an hour hand. The one-hour orbital carrousel tourbillon acts as the minute hand, while the bezel is integrated with a unique time-setting system to function as a replacement for a conventional crown.
The watch features a 44mm black DLC-coated titanium case with a satin finish and a rose gold 5N bezel. Housed inside is the Caliber UN-240 Manufacture Automatic movement that offers a 72-hour power reserve. It’s regulated by a silicon hairspring introduced in 2008 and an escapement treated with DIAMonSIL – a synthetic diamond and silicon plasma surfacing treatment first applied to the Freak in 2007.
It makes the movement abrasion and shock-resistant. The Freak One is available with a choice of three straps: a back rubber ‘ballistic’ textured strap, a black matt alligator leather strap, and a two-tone rubber strap. Ulysse Nardin says the rubber straps are made of 30% recycled rubber from production waste by BIWI, Switzerland. As for the pricing, the Ulysse Nardin Freak One can be yours for $68,600.