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01-16-2009, 06:58 PM #1
L4P Review, Ulysse Nardin FREAK Ver. 1.0
Ulysse Nardin FREAK Ver. 1.0
Ulysse Nardin is a watch manufacturer founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. Historically Ulysse Nardin was best known for being a manufacturer of marine chronometers, but today Ulysse Nardin produces complicated mechanical watches.
The Freak was original a concept watch, with its case acting as part of the movement of the watch and a simple dual direct escapement was chosen to run the watch.
UN quickly realized that with this movement the typical materials for the escapement would not work, and for this they looked to a new material that would allow the watch to work as designed... CSEM came to the rescue with silicium. and the watch came to life.
Some of the 1.0 versions were very problematic and noone had an idea why, some watches would build up magnetism or just cease to function all together randomly... while others would work perfectly all the time.. it was decided that simply fixing them and replacing the problematic old parts with the same parts but new would not work... this is when the 2.0 came to life.
The watch was totally redesigned with a larger case and movement changed, a new dial direct escapement invented that would run perfectly at a higher rate.. 28,800.. and it worked perfectly, but now instead of producing more of the new watches UN had to fix some of the old versions, upgrading them to the new 28,800 escapement with the new gears that would not fail... this brought upon the FREAK 1.5 (old 1.0 with upgraded escapement)
The majority of older 21,600 freaks run fine... yes they have some problems here and there but nothing to the point of it demanding an instant cure.. and also collectors seem to prefer the original "concept" idea of the FREAK 1.0 as it is the true concept watch... sadly, when the watch needs service (a minimum $5,000 procedure) they will all be upgraded to the more reliable 28,800 escapement.. so the allure of the Freak 1.0 will only last so long,
Originally available for around $45,000.00 with Cases of Rose Gold or White, the movement "drives" around the inner bezel of the watch on a giant gear, since the movement makes a rotation and is not static it can technically be considered a tourbillon. The hour hand is rotated by a gear at the bottom of the minute hand that advances it 30degree's per rotation of minute hand. One might notice the lack of a crown!... how does it get wound? how does one set the freak? this only adds to the exotic nature of the watch... for the caseback is turned to wind the watch (power reserve of 8 days stated, but actually has been known to last almost 10) the bezel is turned to set the watch, forwards and backwards, setting the watch backwards actually winds the movement because you are "going back in time" with the movement and giving it back the life you turn back... if you turn back time 3 hours... it will last 3 hours longer... its a very genious movement!
Although the FREAK was an all time "grail" of mine for 3 years prior to buying it, the watch screams 'fragile" in the hands... for any wrong move could result in a service bill with a minimum of $5,000... one might ask why 5k? well the case is the movement, so great care must be taken disassembling the watch... this process results in a $5,000 charge for opening the watch... not even including any repairs that must be done.. so at the end of the day, while the watch is "amazing" in every way... is it worth the risk to wear daily? i didn't think so.
Last edited by rijowysock; 01-16-2009 at 07:14 PM.-Riley Wysocki
01-16-2009, 07:07 PM #2
Crazy watch! Thanks for another great review!
01-16-2009, 07:10 PM #3
This first pic is bad ass but I'd def be afraid of messing it up.
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01-16-2009, 07:19 PM #4Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
- Morris County, NJ
awesome looking watch.... but $5k just to open it is crazy....
01-16-2009, 07:35 PM #5-Riley Wysocki
01-16-2009, 07:39 PM #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
Another stellar review..more knowledge gained..thanks again Riley!
07-19-2009, 07:31 PM #7
07-24-2009, 09:31 PM #8
love this watch, but agree the Freak is def not an everyday piece
05-03-2011, 12:00 AM #9Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
I really like this watch but still haven't found a video source yet to show it's movement at work.