Ulysse Nardin has also released a new timepiece dedicated to the 15th Anniversary of PMT The Hour Glass. Quite a few brands that work with the retailer have released dedicated 15th Anniversary editions, with another one of these brands being Girard-Perregaux (which we covered here).
This latest timepiece by Ulysse Nardin, unveiled in late June this year, is an update to their Freak X model. As we know already, the Freak X is one of Ulysse Nardin’s flagship timepieces. Making its first appearance back in 2001, it completely changed what we knew about watchmaking. The timepiece had no dial nor hands, with the movement itself telling the wearer the time. The Freak X was well ahead of its time, and to this day it’s still a standout piece in the world of horology.
Now, with the release of the New Freak X Enamel Blue, Ulysse Nardin has combined ancient métiers d’art with cutting-edge technology. Done all in-house, Ulysse Nardin explains their process of enamel dials carried out at the Manufacture of Donzé Cadrans in Le Locle (owned by Ulysse Nardin).
“A decorative technique perpetuated and transmitted over generations of craftsmen; enameling is today only used on watches produced by the most prestigious watchmakers. This technique is rare in all its processes, considering the delicate work of the enameller in all the gestures, from the preparation to the application of the enamel. As it requires talent, knowledge and
experience, only very few craftsmen can master it.”
This new Freak X Enamel Blue doesn’t simply just have an enamel dial either, it also comes with the beautiful artistic guilloché technique. The geometric lines achieved with this guilloché technique give the dial a lot more depth and character, making it seem artistic indeed.
After the guilloché technique is applied to the dial, Ulysse Nardin states that “Several layers of water-based enamel are
then applied to this base. Indeed, the enamel is first crushed in a mortar with a pestle and then water is added. Several layers of color dry between them in the oven at a temperature of about 800 degrees and between each layer, only one minute of cooling is needed. Three to four layers of colored enamel and at least five oven cycles are necessary before applying a final layer of translucent enamel, called «fondant». This layer is essential because the result of the process depends on it.”
The complex mechanical beauty of Ulysse Nardin’s UN-230 sits atop the dial, however thanks to its skeletonized nature, the enamel dial underneath can still be fully seen. The flying carrousel of the automatic winding movement turns itself once every hour to indicate the time. Seeing this intricate mechanical mechanism makes its way around the dial with the enamel dial in the background is certainly bound to grab attention.
The UN-230 Manufacture movement comes with balance wheels and escapement made from silicon, which is a specialty of the Swiss brand. The movement operates at a frequency of 12,600 VpH, and is able to give out a decent power reserve of 72 hours.
Ulysse Nardin has given the Freak X Enamel Blue a 43 titanium case and case back, which contrasts well against the blue enamel dial. The timepiece comes with an open case back, however, much of the movement is closed off, with the skeletonised rotor, blue jewels, and blue inscriptions being the stand-out features. To complement the dial, Ulysse Nardin has paired this latest Freak X with a blue alligator leather strap with white stitching and a titanium folding clasp.
Limited to just 50 timepieces, the Freak X Enamel Blue is a true artistic timepiece, both in the sense of mechanical and enamel/guilloché technique, and it shows Ulysse Nardin is playing a major role in the future of horology. s Patrick Pruniaux of Ulysse Nardin sums up this timepiece by stating “We sincerely value our partnership with Thailand’s most leading luxury watch retail group. We truly heralded a new era in mechanical watchmaking, using silicon. Bringing enamel, an ancestral know-how, together with cutting-edge technology, was a real challenge, and the meticulous work done on the Freak X Enamel Blue is mind-blowing”.
- Case: 43mm
- Case Material: Grey titanium
- Dial: Blue enamel on guilloché technieque
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating.
- Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
- Movement: Automatic Calibre UN-230
- Power reserve: Approx. 72 hours
- Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with white stitching Titanium deployant buckle