Ulysse Nardin


Ulysse Nardin dresses its Freak One in khaki and black to unveil the Freak One Ops, a military styled version of its groundbreaking flying carrousel movement watch.

The new Ulysse Nardin Freak One Ops.

This newest Freak retains the same specifications and black DLC case of the Freak One that the watchmaker debuted earlier in 2023. That watch (recently named winner of the Iconic Watch Prize at the 2023 GPHG) combined several favorite Freak designs from the past. These include the notched bezel of the original 2001 Freak, the open gear train seen on the 2013 Freak Cruiser, plus the high-legibility of the 2018 Freak Vision.

Here, Ulysse Nardin offers a more casual version of the earlier design. Instead of the earlier watch’s luxurious gold-finished bezel and movement we see a carbon bezel, a khaki green palette and a sunray patterned barrel cover, creating a stealthier version of the watch.

As noted, the 44mm Freak One Ops maintains all the Freak One’s ‘no hands, no dial and no crown’ technical features, anchored by the highly-visible UN-240 self-winding movement with a 90-hour power reserve.

The movement’s flying carousel, silicon balance wheel and escapement are suspended by a bridge that acts as the minute hand while the second bridge serves as the hour hand.

The Freak One Ops is regulated by a silicon hairspring (which Ulysse Nardin introduced in 2008) with an escapement treated with the synthetic diamond and silicon plasma treatment called DIAMonSIL, which Ulysse Nardin added to the Freak in 2007.

Ulysse Nardin offers the Freak One Ops with a choice of two integrated straps: one in black and khaki “ballistic” rubber, and an alternate two-tone recycled-rubber strap, also in black and khaki. Both have black DLC titanium and black ceramic folding clasps.

Price: $66,500.

Ulysse Nardin adds the sparkle of aventurine to two of its nautically themed watches, adding natural glitter to a dive watch and a marine chronometer. 

The new Diver Starry Night and the Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine each now display an artisanal dial created at the watchmaker’s own extensive dial making facilities.

The new Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine.

A limited edition of 300, the new Marine Torpilleur Moonphase Aventurine is a 42mm steel watch powered by the excellent UN-119 manufacture automatic caliber, a movement equipped with an anti-shock silicon balance spring and a DIAMonSIL escapement wheel and anchor.

On this watch, the moon phase display is especially fitting within the celestial pattern of the aventurine dial. The watch is water-resistant to fifty meters and is attached to a blue alligator strap with folding clasp. Price: $13,600. 

The Ulysse Nardin Diver Starry Night.

The new Diver Starry Night also displays an aventurine shimmer, but adds several brilliant components. Here Ulysse Nardin’s artisans superimposed two plates, one in iridescent mother-of-pearl and the other in blue aventurine glass, to compose this dial. In addition, note the row of diamonds set around the bezel and to indicate hours on the dial.

Even the hands and the 12 o’clock hour marker glow as each has been generously coated with SuperLuminova.

Inside Ulysse Nardin fits its own Caliber UN-816 that features an anchor and escapement wheel in silicon.

The polished and satin-finished 39mm steel diver’s watch is water-resistant to 300 meters and is attached to a dark blue textured rubber strap or a white alligator strap. 

Price: $14,700. 

We continue to highlight a few of our favorite watches from among the more than sixty watchmakers that have created timepieces for the Only Watch charity auction, which commences Sunday, November 5, in Geneva. Christie’s will auction these incredible one-of-a-kind watches to raise funds that benefit research in the battle against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

While you may have seen a few of the watches set for auction earlier this year when Only Watch announced them, we thought you’d enjoy seeing many of these impressive designs again just ahead of the event.

The watches are currently touring the globe. After concluding their U.S. visit at Christie’s in New York on September 17, the tour will visit Monaco next, followed by stops in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai and back in Geneva. See the Only Watch website for tour dates and details.

In this post we highlight the entry from Ulysse Nardin. 

For Only Watch 2023 Ulysse Nardin create the Freak S Only Watch (above), an iteration of the Freak S launched in 2022. This one-of-a-kind edition features a colorful interpretation of the watch’s UN-251 caliber, with red, pink, blue, green, yellow and orange coloring based on the Only Watch colors.

To review, the Freak S is a 45mm carrousel watch in a black DLC titanium case with no hands, no dial and no crown. Two bridges rotate around its center to indicate the hours and minutes. An arrow shows the hours while the nose cone of the spaceship indicates the minutes.

Furthermore, while a classic tourbillon balance wheel makes one rotation per minute within a cage, here entire movement makes a complete turn on itself in one hour. To set the time the wearer rotates the bezel in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Estimate: CHF 160,000 – CHF 200,000.

Ulysse Nardin gives its Freak X a layer of military garb with the Freak [X OPS], which boasts a new khaki green carbon fiber case covering and a matching fabric strap.

The new Ulysse Nardin Freak [X OPS], pictured with khaki fabric strap.
The new hue and material are inspired by the irregular patterns of Damascus and nicely complement the Freak [X OPS]’s 43mm black titanium case, bezel and crown. A model with a black strap is also available.

As you might recall, the first series of Freak X models in 2019 were aimed at a new generation of Freak collectors with its somewhat simplified case and the addition of a crown to the formerly crown-free Freak. Ulysse Nardin refers to that original Freak X as “the easy-going Freak.”

Yet despite its pared down nature, the Freak X retained all the Freak’s primary characteristics, including movement bridges that double as hands.

With no dial, the watch’s one-hour orbital carousel tourbillon becomes the minute hand, and the hour hand is a pointer set on a rotating disc that sits under the movement.

Here, Ulysse Nardin coats the hour and minute indicators and hour markers in a matching khaki green SuperLuminova that glows green in low-light conditions. 

Ulysse Nardin has built the new Freak [X OPS] by combining that original Freak X design with the case covers, or flanks, that echo those found the 2020 Freak X Magma. But instead of the patterned red epoxy resin found on that model, this watch is created from carbon fiber and green epoxy resin. With the swirling resin mixture, each case will look marginally different.

Inside Ulysse Nardin fits its automatic UN-230 movement, itself a hybrid of the bedrock UN-118 and the high-tech UN-250 found in the Freak Vision. The watch is water-resistant to 50 meters. (See additional specifications below).

Price: $33,800.


Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Freak [X OPS]

(2303-270-2A-KAKI/0A (black strap) 2303-270-2A-KAKI/0B (green strap))

Movement and Functions:
Caliber UN-230 Manufacture automatic, flying carousel movement rotating around its own axis, balance wheel and escapement in silicon, oversized oscillator in silicon, black movement with indexes and bridges in khaki green Super-LumiNova, oscillations at 21,600 vph. Power reserve is 72 hours. 

Case:  43mm by 13.38mm black DLC titanium case and bezel, black DLC titanium caseback with transparent sapphire opening, khaki green carbon flanks in ‘Magma’, an original composite, blending black carbon fibers and green epoxy resin.

Strap: Khaki green fabric or black fabric strap (recycled fishing net), hook and loop fastener. 

Price: $33,800.

Ulysse Nardin places its silicon Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement at the center of a new watch, the Blast Free Wheel Marquetry, which dramatically utilizes silicon as an artistic material. The watchmaker pioneered the use of silicon components for watchmaking, debuting them in the first Ulysse Nardin Freak in 2001.

The new Ulysse Nardin Blast Free Wheel Marquetry.

The 45mm white gold watch, which debuts during Geneva Watch Week, joins the watchmaker’s collection of impressive Blast Free Wheel models characterized by raised, free-floating components.

The components are part of the innovative UN-176 movement, are here set amid an eye-catching blue pattern made from a multi-colored silicon marquetry disc, a debut for the Blast collection. 

The dial includes 103 radiant blue marquetry slivers made of a variety of thin matte and mirror-polished silicon surfaces. The surfaces vary in thickness from 0.30mm and 0.35mm, with their changing reflections and contrasts creating the dial’s visual splendor.

Ulysse Nardin also decorates the back plate with blue silicon, here in a single-plate form with a series of well-placed apertures that frame a few of the movement’s gears and pivots.

To review, the Free Wheel concept is Ulysse Nardin’s ode to historic mystery clocks, with a few visible components floating above a dial operating in harmony thanks to cleverly placed gearing below.

A dual barrel at the top of the dial is wound manually, delivering seven-days of power through the Ulysse Nardin flying tourbillon set with Ulysse Nardin’s unusual in-house, silicon Anchor Escapement. 

Also seen on the dial: The flying barrel (at 12 o’clock, without any visible attachment on the surface), flanked by an intermediate wheel on its left, a power reserve differential, and a reduction gear on its right.

The one-piece gold case is also unusual, featuring a cutout exposing the sapphire crystal box that offers a stunning, wide-open view of the movement through the sides.

The focus of the movement, the Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement, is circular with a pallet fork fixed in the center supported on two ultra-thin blade springs. These spring are mounted perpendicular to each other and bend to provide a perfectly even impulse on the balance wheel regardless of power reserve.

The Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement with escapement wheel, anchor & balance spring in silicon.

The Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement is a major departure from the traditional Swiss anchor escapement. Its inclusion in the Ulysse Nardin Anchor Tourbillon is the likely reason it won the Tourbillon Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2015. 

Price: $137,200