When Elements Collide: The New Freak X Ice & Freak X Magma By Ulysse Nardin
Wearing a Ulysse Nardin Freak watch is like having an R&D lab on your wrist. Forever avant-garde, the contemporary watchmaker is never afraid of juggling extremes and reinventing itself. This time, Ulysse Nardin plays with two polar opposites: Ice and Magma.
Ulysse Nardin has never taken an overly simplistic approach to watchmaking. The brand is not exclusively about tradition and strict compliance with ancestral Swiss know-how. Nor is the brand solely focused on innovation and avant-garde materials. To put it simply, Ulysse Nardin doesn't think in black and white terms.
It is due to this ability to combine extremes that the Maison secured a firm foothold in the world of fine watchmaking with its modern and sophisticated marine chronometers. And thanks to its feisty spirit, the brand never ceases to surprise and astonish with its highly conceptual Freak collection.
The Freak Collection
The very construction of this watch is what makes it so original, modern, and successful. Then, in 2001, the brand incorporated a revolutionary silicon escapement, making it a piece of exquisitely fine watchmaking with most of the movement forming the hands that would henceforth tell the time in a singularly freakish fashion.
Last year, the spectacular Freak NeXt saw the inclusion of a flying tourbillon, levitating as if weightlessly suspended in mid-air thanks to the innovative silicon oscillator with 32 flexible blades. Today, with the addition of two new pieces to the Freak X collection, Ice and Magma, Ulysse Nardin presents a clever play on two opposing themes.
Introducing the Freak X Ice
First, we have the Freak X Ice, immaculate, pure, and polar white with its 43mm diameter alabaster-toned titanium case treated with a matte white finish. The navy-blue indices are strongly reminiscent of the arctic seas, while the impression of solar luminosity is heightened by Super-LumiNova.
It is powered by the calibre UN-230, a workshop-crafted self-winding movement, endowed with a 72-hour power reserve and a flying carrousel rotating around its axis. All is left open to view through the sapphire crystal of its open caseback as if trapped inside a frozen prehistoric glacier.
Finally, the snow-white adjustable rubber-coated leather strap with deployant buckle completes the arctic mise-en-scène.
Over on the other side of the spectrum, the Freak X Magma strikes one as a volcanic rock fused with a carbon fiber watchcase alloyed with rippled red epoxy resin and encircled by an alternately sandblasted and highly polished bezel for heightened optical drama. The product of an exclusive manufacturing procedure, each watch is, by nature, unique. The effect is amplified by the treatment of the dial, intentionally smoothed to an obsidian-like sheen, and lifted by dynamic touches of red applied to the Superluminova-tipped markers to increase nighttime legibility, like fiery streaks of incandescent lava. The movement is the same workshop-crafted self-winding UN-230. A red stitched leather strap with deployant buckle complements the ensemble.
[Introducing the Freak X Magma]
On the other side of the spectrum is the Freak X Magma. The product of an exclusive manufacturing process, each watch is unique. Its carbon fiber case, with marbling red epoxy resin, gives this timepiece the impression of volcanic rock, barely harnessed. The alternately sandblasted and highly polished bezel only heightens the optical drama.
The dial is intentionally smoothed to an obsidian-like sheen. And the dynamic touches of red Super-LumiNova applied to the markers increase its nighttime legibility, like streaks of incandescent lava.
The movement is the same workshop-crafted self-winding UN-230 that is used in the Ice. However, the red stitched leather strap with a deployant buckle completes the fiery facade.
And if that wasn't exclusive enough, this model is only available in the brand's stores.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)