The introduction of the Ulysse Nardin Freak in 2001 created a sensation among watch enthusiasts and inspired many other companies to take mechanical timepieces to a new level. The Carrousel Tourbillon and the Dual Direct Escapement devised by Ludwig Oechslin were innovations never seen before. Evolution is an integral part of any Ulysse Nardin product and this year the Freak returns with some major modifications, such as the Dual Ulysse Escapement which allows a balance frequency of 28’800 vibrations per hour.
The two wheels that form the central element of the Dual Ulysse Escapement have 18 active teeth each compared with 5 active wheels in the Dual Direct Escapement, thus improving the flow of energy. The winding mechanism in the case back is stabilized with a ball bearing system, resulting in reduced friction and facilitating the winding of the main spring. Very visible is the ingenious lock system of the case bezel, which prevents the time adjuster from moving unintentionally.
The Freak 28’800 V/h is a 7-day Carrousel Tourbillon, without hands, without dial or crown, and with an amazingly simple, novel escapement that needs no lubrication. The Freak 28’800 V/h is produced in 18 ct white and rose gold, and is available on a leather strap with an 18 ct gold folding buckle.
The 7-Day Carrousel Tourbillon, an invention of Dr. Ludwig Oechslin
No hands, no dial – this watch does not need them. The Freak 28’800 V/h indicates the time by the rotation of the movement. The arrow decorating the main spring barrel indicates the hour while the upper bridge, fitted with the balance wheel assembly and its revolutionary Dual Ulysse Escapement, revolves once every hour indicating the minutes. During its 60 minute rotation, the upper bridge lays bare the mechanics of time. The center axis pivots in the sapphire crystal of the watch case. This is a spectacular sight, accentuated by the finishing skills of Ulysse Nardin’s watchmakers in Le Locle.
In other Tourbillons, the balance wheel assembly moves once every minute in a cage. In the Freak 28’800 V/h, the entire movement, including the balance wheel assembly, rotates once an hour inside the watch case.
The 28’800 V/h Oscillator
The 4 Hz frequency and the 7 mg*cm2 moment of inertia provide the FREAK 28’800 V/h an accuracy comparable to the mechanical Chronometers. The Balance wheel represents a new Ulysse Nardin design and concept. It bears 4 inertia adjusting screws which are hidden within the rim, thus avoiding the creation of air turbulence. The spiral length is not adjustable, the frequency is found by adjusting the inertia of the balance.
The Dual Ulysse Escapement
The Dual Direct Escapement which was developed for the first generation Freak opened a new field of discovery and potential improvement in the vast domain of the escapement. The Dual Ulysse represents the next step in that development, showing several novelties and incorporating the advantages brought by its predecessor. The Dual Ulysse Escapement has 2 wheels, allowing natural force transmission: the force and the move have the same direction, alternatively clockwise with the first wheel and counter-clockwise with the second.
The wheels have now 18 active teeth, guaranteeing a good energy transmission to the oscillator. No lubrication is required – the transmission is made through a “gear like” mechanism. The impulse is given to an alternator which passes it further to the balance shaft. This alternator is a gear which turns alternatively in one direction and then the opposite direction.
The innovative principle of the Dual Ulysse Escapement permits a dramatic reduction of the lift angle from the usual 50-52 degrees (Swiss Anchor and Dual Direct) down to approximately 30 degrees. The lift angle is the arc run by the balance between its first contact with the escapement and its last contact. The shorter the arc is, the lower is the disturbance of the natural oscillation of the balance.
Main spring and Winding Mechanism
The main spring is located underneath the movement and spans across the entire case diameter. A ball-bearing consisting of 196 balls maintains the barrel in a very stable position, minimizing friction. The main spring’s extra large size provides the Freak 28’800V/h with a power reserve of one week.
Ref. 020-88 18 ct white gold
Ref. 026-88 18 ct rose gold
Caliber UN-200, 13 ¾’’’
Power-Reserve: approximately 7 days
Winding: Manual winding mechanism over the back case
Functions: Carrousel Tourbillon
Display of the hours and minutes
Patented Dual Ulysse Escapement
28’800 V/h (4 Hz)
Turning bezel with lock device to set the time
Case and band
18 ct gold
Diameter of case: 44.5 mm
Crystal: Anti reflective sapphire crystal
Case-back: Anti reflective sapphire crystal
Band: Alligator leather strap, with 18 ct gold folding buckle