Launched a year ago, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X is the entry point to brand’s landmark Freak collection. The Freak X dispenses with the idiosyncrasies and innovation of its predecessor – though it still boasts a large, high-performance balance wheel in silicon – but makes up for it with a streamlined case and notably affordable price tag.
Already iterated into numerous variants, the entry-level watch now available in two additional versions, the Freak X Ice and Freak X Magma. Diametrically opposed in aesthetics, both nonetheless share the same specs: a 43 mm case with gently tapered lugs and most notably for a Freak, a conventional crown, which makes the Freak X more practical all of its larger, crown-less predecessors.
Perhaps the more sedate of the two, the Freak X Ice is the first all-white Freak, apart from the experimental Freak nExt concept watch.
The Freak X Ice is dressed entirely in matte, brushed metal and matte white. The case is brushed titanium, while the bezel is titanium coated in matte white.
And the dial is also matte white, with the central bridge, fixed ring gear and hour wheels in brushed, rhodium-plated brass, creating a contrast against the dial that emphasises the carousel.
On the other hand, the Freak X Magma is all about striking contrast of textures.
The case is a carbon-fibre composite that is made up of carbon fibres with a red polymer, creating a strong and light material that is scratch-resistant – and one that makes a real statement on the wrist.
It is paired with black-coated titanium bezel with brushed and sandblasted surfaces. An inverse of the carbon composite case, the dial is predominantly black, and with red Super-Luminova for the markers and hands.
The watches are otherwise mechanically identical to the existing versions. They are powered by the caliber UN-230 which is essentially a carousel display module on top of an automatic movement.
In contrast to the original Freak, the Freak X features larger wheels that are integrated into the revolving hour plate, with much of the gear train hidden underneath. The escapement and balance wheel form the minute hand, revolving around the dial once every hour.
The movement is equipped with a conventional lever escapement rendered in silicon, along with a large silicon balance wheel featuring micro-blades that use air resistance to stabilise its amplitude and increase accuracy, along with nickel adjusting weights to increase inertia.
Key facts and price
Freak X Magma
Freak X Ice
Diameter: 43 mm
Material: Red carbon fibre and DLC titanium (Magma); titanium with a matte white coating (Ice)
Water resistance: 30 m
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Textured black leather (Magma) and white leather with rubber coating (Ice)
Availability: From May onwards exclusively at Ulysse Nardin boutiques (Magma); from June 2020 onwards (Ice)
Price: €27,000 (Magma) and €24,000 (Ice)
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