While the bezel adjusts the time, the case back is used to wind the mainspring. So yes, you need to take the watch off to wind it. Having said that, the movement has a power reserve of a full week. There is a cut-out on the back of the watch into the large mainspring barrel where you can see how tightly wound the spring is. In addition to the view of the spring, the window is flanked with two indicators which are a more precise power reserve indicator. It is a nice feature to have on the watch.
Inside the Freak Cruiser is the totally in-house made Ulysse Nardin caliber UN-205 manually wound movement. Like I said, it has seven days of power reserve and indicates the time with minutes and hours. The movement further makes use of dual escapements (both in silicon) that feed from the balance wheel. The balance wheel is exposed and placed at the opposite end of the minute hand – always nice looking. A new design element for the Freak Cruiser is the anchor shapes on the minute hand, which of course relate to the brand’s anchor logo.
I happen to like the dial, though it is a matter of taste for sure. As I experienced in the above linked review of the Freak Diavolo, this is in fact a decently legible watch. As I alluded to earlier, like Ulysse Nardin did with the Freak Diavolo, the center pin that used to be in the middle of the watch through the sapphire crystal is gone in this new Freak. That means the movement rest only on the lower bearing point in order to look more attractive from the top. It works.
Ulysse Nardin has also ensured that the watch is water resistant to 30 meters. It isn’t a dive watch or anything, but it does mean you can splash it a bit without worrying. A rather necessary thing I would say in a brand whose logo is a ship anchor. The Freak Crusier is also something that feels good on the wrist, and is fun to show off. There are few watches that are so crazy and yet so imminently acceptable at the same time. On the wrist the Freak Crusier is 45mm wide and the case is in 18k rose gold. Ulysse Nardin has kept up improving the Freak because it has been a great seller for them. Ulysse Nardin is an independent high-end watch brand – one of the few remaining ones. That means they are free to experiment and be wild with their watches, something which at least I consider to be an incredible company asset. The Freak Cruiser ref. 2056-131 is not part of a limited edition, and will retail for $87,500. ulysse-nardin.com