The use of ground-breaking materials and state-of-the-art production technologies defines this incredible high concept watch.
When Ulysse Nardin launched its first Freak in 2001, it was the first watchmaker to use silicon in a watch. That material seems ubiquitous now, but it was nothing short of groundbreaking at the time. Under the steer of its owner Rolf Schnyder, who had purchased the mechanical watch company at a time when Japanese quartz had the industry in a stranglehold, necessity really was the mother of invention. Manufactures had to innovate or die. The ones whose names you wear on your wrists today did exactly that and the 1990s and 2000s were boom years not only in terms of growth but in terms of sheer creativity, technical achievement and exciting evolutions in a centuries-old
For Ulysse Nardin, the Freak was an emblematic watch that has become an icon of modern horology, as much for its use of silicon as its mechanical derring-do: its dual direct escapement made escapement wheels unnecessary, as energy was transferred directly to the balance wheel – a standard today, but then quite revolutionary.
The latest incarnation of Ulysse Nardin’s horological inventiveness is the InnoVision 2, which builds on several legendary Freaks. It boasts the previously seen self-winding mechanism, oscillator, escapement and time display but also ten new innovations that propelled it into the heart of SIHH as an exhibitor for the very first time. The watch features patented direct silicum bonding, a silicon balance wheel with gold mass elements and stabilising micro paddles that makes it among the lightest and therefore
accurate balance wheels ever created.
The way the watch shows the time is also highly inventive – it shows 1 to 11 first and then 13 to 24 digitally via apertures, and boasts a three-dimensional glass minute hand resting atop a fine metal plate, created through high precision laser cutting. A dual constant escapement is a fiendishly sophisticated constant force escapement; it prevents unrestricted unloading of the spring mechanism and transfers regular pulses to the oscillation system to maintain the oscillations from the balance wheel and the balance spring. The myriad innovations in this watch merit much closer inspection; it really is a staggering piece of contemporary watchmaking that seems destined to influence the watchmaking industry in a similar way that its predecessor did. And in an industry where so much has been achieved, that really is something.