Ulysse Nardin updates its ongoing collection of tech-heavy timepieces known as the Freak, and the update pertains to a new “Grinder” automatic movement wherein the winding of the mainspring with very tiny movements of the case is possible by using all silicon parts.
The new unique Freak Vision models also feature various production techniques from semi-traditional acrylic painting to high-tech gold wire bonding which is used only in the semiconductor industry. The new watches are also inspired by the snorkeling reef of Coral Bay in Western Australia.
Ulysse Nardin keeps the same 45 mm case and the UN–250 caliber powering the previous models. The new watch also delivers much of the same wearing experience and the only notable difference really is the visual update on the dial and of course the modified movement. The combination of silicon enhancements for the movement and techniques borrowed from the semiconductor industry applied on the dial turned out pretty well for the new Freak Vision. Perhaps the brand is telling us that there is more to come using these newfound techniques.
Most notable use of this semiconductor technique is found in the dial of the Reference 2505–250LE/CORALBAY–1 with a shade of blue acting as a backdrop for the coral reef motif. You can immediately see the difference against a traditional painting method without even putting a magnifying glass to examine the high-grade details on the dial. It’s impressive.
The remarkable shade of blue starts with a chemical vapor disposition process then very thin gold threads are squeezed from a bonding machine on both sides of the dial component, it gets tied at both ends, bonded, and laser cleaned afterwards. On the other hand, the Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision Coral Bay Reference 2505–250LE/CORALBAY–2 uses a semi-traditional method using red and white acrylic painted directly on the dial and integrated on the spring barrel bridge. It is then heated to 90 degrees between color application and the final details are achieved by hand. This 20-hour process results to a CVD-treated blue dial surface with an array of red coral tendrils. Interestingly, the high-tech method wins here.
Both of these watches are unique but the brand hints of individually commissioned pieces as per client’s wishes. This means there might be new color options in the works. The Freak line-up is cool and I’m quite excited to see how this new technique can be utilized by the creative heads in the watchmaker’s talent pool.
Furthermore, we also see a titanium bezel with a blue-coated rubber lining against a platinum case construction. No doubt, it clearly reflects its source of inspiration that is the Coral Bay. The movement also cranks 50 hours of power reserve and is rated to 30m of water resistance. Finally, the new watches wear on a double-stitched leather straps with matching color options. At the moment, the price is only available upon request. For more info, visit Ulysse Nardin online.