What’s improved in the Freak Cruiser over the Freak? First, there are a few non-improvement aesthetic changes such as the design of the movement bridges and the dial. There is also a new style of bezel design. These are just a matter of taste. I like them all, but I sort of prefer the bezel design of the original Freak. Having said that, I like the dial/movement design of the Ulysse Nardin Freak Cruiser more. Functional changes include better water resistance – which means just some water resistance at 30 meters – as well as no more pin through the sapphire crystal.

That’s right, the original Freak was impaled by a spike. Well, it was functional. A pin acted to secure the movement and it needed to be mounted to the top sapphire crystal. Running you hand over the crystal of a Freak allowed you to feel the rounded metal nub of the pin, but with the Ulysse Nardin Freak Cruiser, all that is gone. The UN-205 movement is fully mounted from below, so the Freak no longer has a pin through it. Note that this improvement first started with the Freak Diavolo.

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At 45mm wide on the wrist and in 18k rose gold, the Ulysse Nardin Freak Cruiser is certainly not inconspicuous or “under the radar” when it comes to looks or wear. It is, however, comfortable on the attached brown alligator strap. The black part of the bezel is filled in with vulcanized rubber (for looks more than anything else). If you like large watches with a bold style, then a watch like this is most certainly for you. If you prefer more understated elegance and luxury, then the Ulysse Nardin Freak Cruiser will feel like an obnoxious sidekick on your wrist. That, for me, is where people disagree on the watch. If you like odd things and are attracted to “different” (as many watch lovers are), then the Ulysse Nardin Freak is perhaps your grail watch. If you are very conservative in your tastes and only like those things which are highly refined and familiar, then you’ll never want to wear one of these, even though you likely appreciate what went into its design and construction.

At the end of the day, I think there is a lot of mutual respect for the Ulysse Nardin Freak concept, but it is one of the major dividing points where lovers of watches are separated in their opinions on wearing it. Are you a Freak kinda person? I’d love to hear why or why not in the comments below. As I’ve stated above, those who know me aren’t surprised by my preference for watches like this. To be different, and highly successful at it, fits my definition of cool. The reference 2056-131 Ulysse Nardin Freak Cruiser watch retails for $87,500. ulysse-nardin.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Ulysse Nardin
>Model: Freak Cruiser ref. 2056-131
>Price: $87,500
>Size: 45mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Well-funded and seasoned watch lover who enjoys mechanics as much as they enjoy being different.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent concept that deserves acclaim for rethinking how a watch movement looks while being successful at it – a concept that is aging very well, at that.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Case is thick and chunky – a thinner Freak would be amazing. Winding the movement is a chore and can be painful.

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