Ulysse Nardin’s FREAK neXt Watch

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A new chapter in the history of watchmaking.

After the launch of the Ulysse Anchor escapement in 2014 and the self-winding Grinder system on the Freak InnoVision 2 model in 2017, iconic Swiss brand Ulysse Nardin takes its innovative collection to a whole new level. The FREAK neXt Watch announces a new era in watchmaking. It’s a veritable “next generation” timepiece with a groundbreaking design. After 10 years of research and development, Ulysse Nardin introduced the FREAK neXt prototype at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Unlike any other watch before it, this innovative timepiece features a flying carousel baguette movement with a 3D flying oscillator. The watch not only marks a new technical milestone for the brand, but also proposes a blueprint for the timepieces of the near future.

The flying oscillator makes the most of the flexibility of the silicon blades. Suspended mid-air, its center creates a virtual pivot point and eliminates the need for balance wheels or jewels. This “levitating” system eliminates friction and thus improves the quality and durability of the movement as well as its energy consumption. The reduction of friction to almost zero allowed the brand to multiply the frequency while also increasing the power reserve. Featuring 32 silicon micro-blades linked to one another in parallel layers without any contact to the mainplate, the oscillator beats at a frequency of 12 Hz and has an impressive 70-hour power reserve.

The watch complements its revolutionary build with a futuristic design. Indeed, even the bridge of the movement, with its subtle trapezoidal shape, references Star Wars spaceships. FREAK neXt features an ultra-contemporary aesthetic, with both pristine white and phosphorescent details. Contrasting the white surfaces, the 3D multi-layered oscillator appears blue, purple, or green, depending on the viewing angle.

Other features include a 45mm platinum and titanium case, a white SuperLuminova bezel, white SuperLuminova shafts on the sides, and a white automatic winding support at the back. A white rubber strap with white and dark blue stitching completes the design. While presented only as a prototype, the FREAK neXt watch announces the arrival of a new era. The brand also aims to launch a range of watches by the end of 2019 using neXt’s highly sophisticated mechanism. Photographs© Ulysse Nardin.

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