January 13, 2019
by Kenny Yeo
I have long had a soft spot for Ulysses Nardin’s Freak watches. While some of the company’s releases have been puzzling, the Freak has always been, to me at least, sophisticated and very desirable. The idea of having the entire movement acting as a minute hand and rotating around the dial is just super cool. Unfortunately, the complexity of the Freak and its movement also means that they are pricey watches. Luckily for 2019, Ulysses Nardin is lowering the barrier of entry to its Freak watches with the most affordable Freak watch yet. What you are looking at right here is the new Ulysse Nardin Freak X watch.
Brand: Ulysses Nardin
Model: Freak X
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Case Material: Titanium, carbonium, rose gold
Movement: Caliber UN-230
Frequency: 3 Hz
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator leather or rubber strap
Price & Availability: $21,000 in titanium; $24,000 in carbonium; $30,000 in rose gold
It would seem that the industry has finally realized that they can’t keep increasing prices every year and expect enthusiasts and collectors to keep coming back. There is only so much that the market is willing to bear. Besides, keeping prices sensible will not only help brands retain fans and collectors but also introduce it to a wider and possibly younger crowd. This helps explain the context in which Ulysses Nardin has introduced the Freak X – its most affordable Freak watch yet.
To keep prices low, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X is available in titanium and carbonium. For folks, who want something flashier, there’s also a rose gold model. Carbonium is a new material for Ulysses Nardin and it is a composite made out of aeronautical grade carbon fiber and looks like forged carbon. The case size of the new Freak X watches is 43mm, which makes them slightly smaller than the usual 45mm of the other Freak watches. So easier to get on the wrist both in terms of price and wearability.
Most of all, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X is less complex than the other Freak models. While most Freak watches are adjusted using the bezel, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X has a conventional crown. Inside the Ulysse Nardin Freak X is the new self-winding Caliber UN-230. The movement still doubles as the minute hand but most of the wheel train is concealed. However, the UN-230 does carry over the lightweight silicon balance wheel with nickel flyweights and stabilizing micro-blades as seen on last year’s Freak Vision watch as we saw hands-on here. The UN-230 beats at 3Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours, which is actually quite a fair bit shorter than the other Freak watches.
Although the new Freak X lacks the visual drama of the other Freak watches, it maintains the concept of the watch and is a very compelling piece for enthusiasts who are looking for a timepiece in that price range that is more interesting than your usual gold Rolex, Patek Nautilus, or AP Royal Oak. Speaking of price, the Ulysses Nardin Freak X in titanium is priced at $21,000, which makes it the most affordable Freak watch by a large margin. The Ulysses Nardin Freak X in carbonium is $24,000, and in rose gold, it is $30,000. Learn more at ulysse-nardin.com
Follow our pre-, post-, and live SIHH 2019 coverage here and on social media.