Ulysse Nardin Introduces the Freak X Enamel Blue

A champlevé enamel dial for a Thai retailer.

Ulysse Nardin is introducing a more classical iteration of its affordable Freak to mark the 15th year of PMT The Hour Glass, a luxury watch retailer in Thailand. The Freak X Enamel Blue maintains the avant-garde styling of the model while introducing a touch of old school elegance with a captivating blue enamel dial embellished with vibrant guilloché.

Initial thoughts

Ulysse Nardin, known for its experimental designs, pleasantly surprises by integrating a champlevé enamel dial into a watch that is otherwise unabashedly modern. The standout feature is the dial that combines the artistry of enamelling and guilloché, made possible by the brand’s in-house dial factory. This infusion of classicism into the inherently contemporary watch results in an understated and surprisingly harmonious aesthetic.

As is always the case with a novel limited edition, hopefully Ulysse Nardin will maintain the exclusivity of this design and refrain from replicating too much in future models.

The Freak X Enamel Blue carries a price tag of US$40,100, almost twice the cost of the standard model. While the dial is traditional enamel – painted and fired by hand in other words – the construction and movement remain unchanged over the standard model, making the price hard to rationalise.

15th anniversary

The Freak X edition commemorates the fifteenth anniversary of PMT The Hour Glass, a joint venture between local jeweller Prima Times (PMT) and Singapore watch retailer The Hour Glass. Established in 2008 and led by Narun “Note” Thamavaranukup, the scion of a prominent family of jewellers, PMT The Hour Glass represents most major brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, along with independent brands like Ulysse Nardin and MB&F.

The anniversary watch is a variant of the Freak X, initially unveiled in 2019. The Freak X is a simplified and more affordable take on the original Freak concept that relies on a conventional automatic movement with a Freak-style carousel regulator on the front. The carousel contains the balance wheel and escapement, while also functioning as the minute hand – a remarkable feat considering the entry-level pricing of the model.

The PMT anniversary edition is pricier because of the dial. The champlevé dial is crafted by the artisans at Donzé Cadrans, a dial maker with a historical specialty in enamel dials that’s owned by Ulysse Nardin.

A meticulous process starting with guilloché on the dial base and then multiple layers of translucent enamel means the dial requires at least five cycles of painting and firing before completion.

While the dial features artisanal decoration, the design of the Freak X remains unchanged from the standard models. It is housed in a streamlined case measuring 43 mm in diameter with tapered lugs and a crown at three. 

The Freak X is equipped with the UN-230, an in-house calibre that combines an automatic movement with a carousel display module while providing a healthy power reserve of 72 hours.

It also has a lever escapement and a large balance wheel both rendered in silicon. The balance wheel is enhanced with micro-blades that leverage air resistance to stabilise amplitude and improve accuracy. Additionally, nickel adjusting weights are incorporated to increase inertia, further enhancing the movement’s performance. The result is probably the most complex and advanced balance wheel in this price range.

Key facts and price

Ulysse Nardin Freak X Enamel Blue
Ref. 2303-270LE-3AE-THG/3A

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: UN-230
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Alligator strap with deployant buckle

Limited edition: 50 pieces
Availability: Only through PMT The Hour Glass and its retail network
Price: US$40,100

For more information, visit Ulyssenardin.com


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