Thursday, January 17, 2019

ReviewUlysse Nardin—Always Here To Freak You Out

A trailblazer for high-end modern watchmaking, Ulysse Nardin’s Freak timepieces have been turning heads since they were launched in 2001. Created with an exceptionally unparalleled vision, this breakthrough collection has emerged as the 'king of the ocean', just like its emblematic shark

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‘Freaks are those exceptional, extraordinary, fantastic, non-conformist, and occasionally paranormal free spirits.’ This philosophy of 172-year-old Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin—a member of the global luxury group Kering—adds to its off-kilter personality by leaps and bounds. With the construction of an entire universe around the concept of the revolutionary Freak collection, the brand serves a tribute to more than 170 years of its marine heritage while presenting the embodiment of a real revolution.

Ulysse Nardin
Bold and adventurous, the 45mm black PVD-coated titanium case lays special emphasis on the carousel tourbillon and blackened steel bridges. The black sailcloth strap with red stitching lends a tinge of mystery.
₹ 3,840,000
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Launched by the late Rolf Schnyder, the former owner of Ulysse Nardin and developed in collaboration with expert watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin, the Freak made an impressive debut in 2001, and since then has been grabbing eyeballs across the watch world. Regarded as one of the most cutting-edge timepieces, the boundary-breaking Freak Out and Freak Vision watches—the first to innovate with silicium escapement components—have been a platform for experimentation.

Ulysse Nardin
Exuding a rugged look, this blue Freak Out watch, crafted in a 45mm titanium case, serves a tribute to more than 170 years of Ulysse Nardin’s marine heritage while presenting the embodiment of a real revolution
₹ 3,840,000
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Ulysse Nardin
This 45mm Freak Out timepiece, encased in titanium, bleeds blue as is evident by the blue bezel ring, dial, mainplate and sailcloth strap. This watch offers water resistance up to 30m and is powered by the manual-winding calibre UN-205.
₹ 3,840,000
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Sans a crown, these watches are instead set and wound by the case. With no true case, crown or hands, its movement pivots on itself to indicate time, forming the minute hands of the watch. The cases of all four Freak Out horological masterpieces adorn titanium, which surprised the watch world, as this practice defies all expectations of the usage of precious metals and more traditional materials but ends up making the timepieces sportier and lighter. Interestingly, the earlier Freaks were all sheathed in gold. This fascinating composition, replete with the iconic ‘flying carousel’ tourbillon, makes for an avant-garde architectural design while celebrating mechanical heritage.

Ulysse Nardin
Powered by the manual-winding calibre UN-205, the 45mm titanium case houses a seven-day free-floating carousel tourbillon encircled by Arabic hour markers but is devoid of the traditional hands. The lower bridge indicates the hours, while the upper bridge bearing the gear train, the balance spring and the exclusive Dual Ulysse silicon escapement shows the minutes. Water resistant to 30m, this watch sports a black sailcloth strap with yellow stitching near the lugs.
₹ 3,840,000
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Cementing its undisputed position as an innovator, the Ulysse Nardin team have incorporated some technical firsts in the newest Freak Vision watch like the ‘Grinder Automatic Winding System’, a new, patented self-winding mechanism that is touted to be twice as efficient as regular winding systems, owing to its sensitivity to even the slightest motion of the wrist. The proprietary ‘Ulysse Nardin Anchor Escapement’, uses silicon that requires no lubrication and yields a longer power reserve.

Ulysse Nardin
The first automatic version in the collection running on the calibre UN-250 and encased in platinum, the new 45mm Freak Vision watch incorporates several technical firsts and truly marks an evolution of this collection
₹ 7,600,000
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This Freak Vision incorporates the revolutionary innovations—unveiled in the Ulysse Nardin InnoVision 2 Concept Watch at SIHH 2017—like a super-light silicium balance wheel with nickel mass elements and stabilising micro-blades, and a new case design made even thinner by a box-domed crystal. To put it simply, these watches heralded a paradigm change and an unprecedented new era in mechanical watchmaking.

Ulysse Nardin
Aptly named the FreakLab, this wildly unique boutique limited edition timepiece exhibits an indestructible personality and an additional complication: a calendar wheel, visible through an aperture at four o’clock. Running on the calibre UN-210, this timepiece was launched at Baselworld 2015.
₹ 6,000,000
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Shark In The City

Ulysse Nardin, as a brand, speaks in a voice that is cool and different and a language that aims to stimulate a dialogue with the customers. To say that they always do things with a twist would be an understatement. A most recent example of this is the advertising campaign for the new Freak Vision watch, the first automatic version in the collection, which marked a true evolution of this collection. Imbued with a wild and eccentric brand expression that puts a shark—’the king of the ocean’—into the streets of New York and Shanghai, Ulysse Nardin is making a much grander and serious statement than it seems.

Ulysse Nardin
The 45mm Freak Cruiser, fitted with the manual winding calibre UN-205, makes a stellar statement with the 18-karat rose gold case, black dial and a classy brown leather strap
₹ 6,400,000
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As official international records suggest, several species of sharks are facing the danger of extinction, are endangered species, or are in peril, as the aftermath of vicious human activities. The Le Locle-based watchmaker intends to utilise this campaign to express concern towards preserving the world and give a fresh and audacious perspective on sustainable development. So much so that the brand has also formed a partnership with free diver and photographer Fred Buyle, who specialises in capturing images of sharks in their natural habitats. Endowed with an element of surprise, the campaign slogan #FreakMeOut also facilitates Ulysse Nardin to speak to those who make their own rules and are committed to being different.

Ulysse Nardin
This blue cruiser is a stunning addition to Ulysse Nardin’s nautical universe
₹ 6,720,000
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Swimming Against The Tide

Ulysse Nardin’s nautical universe attained new depths when the Freak Vision went coral with the launch of two new Coral Bay timepieces early this year. Proclaimed as one of the masters at bringing Metiers d’Arts to the forefront, Ulysse Nardin has exhibited new esoteric decorative techniques, including one that is typically used by the electronics industry, and meticulous micropainting, in these novelties. Named after the snorkelling reef in Western Australia, these two highly distinguishable watches flaunt intricate dial designs that evoke the organic look of the reef itself.

Ulysse Nardin
Regarded as one of the most cutting-edge timepieces, the boundary-breaking Freak watches—the first to innovate with silicium escapement components—have been a platform for experimentation
₹ 7,120,000
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This ‘freakiness’ or idiosyncrasy of this already cool brand can definitely be attributed to Ulysse Nardin’s new CEO Patrick Pruniaux, who was appointed in September 2017. Holding an interesting mix of previous stints in Diageo, LVMH and TAG Heuer, Pruniaux last worked for Apple on the launch of the Apple watch. Even before being at the helm, he had envisioned the Freak as an entire collection, as opposed to being one iteration every couple of years.

Ulysse Nardin
Concocted with steely resilience and a love for the sea, this 45mm Freak Cruiser flaunts an 18-karat white gold case, which features a black dial. The black leather strap completes the look.
₹ 6,800,000
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Recognised as the brand’s marquee product, the different generations of the Freak are well appreciated by watch connoisseurs and horology aficionados. Encapsulating the values and essence of Ulysse Nardin, this visually dynamic and one-of-a-kind watch family has undoubtedly provoked change in the larger horological ecosystem and enabled the brand to make great strides in the Swiss watchmaking industry.

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