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ulysse nardin freak

What Makes the Ulysse Nardin Freak a Truly One-Of-A-Kind Watch

Do you consider yourself a “limited edition”? You should! If there’s one thing we’ve learned in over 100 years of selling watches, it’s that there’s as much variety in watch buying as there is in watchmaking! These days, there is more variety in watch design than ever before so finding a watch that matches your personality is easier than ever. One of our favorite expressions here at Feldmar is, “There’s a watch for every wrist.” If you subscribe to that wisdom, then getting to know one of the most unique watches ever made is a must – meet the “Freak” from Ulysse Nardin. With cutting-edge mechanical expertise and one-of-a-kind, disruptive design—the Ulysse Nardin Freak is truly one-of-a-kind.

uylsse nardin freak

What makes the Ulysse Nardin Freak unique?

The Ulysse Nardin Freak was introduced in 2001, but its creation took 20 years of innovation and partnership. To understand what makes it special, let’s take a look at its history.

The Ulysse Nardin Freak is a product of the Ulysse Nardin company, known for manufacturing accurate marine chronometers. The company had long been known for its traditional watches until its CEO and visionary Rolf Schnyder met and worked with an outstanding horologist and master watchmaker named Ludwig Oeschslin.

Together, Schnyder and Oeschslin worked on masterpieces that would be considered some of the most innovative watches of today. That included the legendary Freak watch.

When it arrived on the scene twenty years ago, the Freak stunned watch enthusiasts as it was the first time people saw such fascinating work.

The Freak was a watch devoid of a crown, the origin of the name within the watch community. While not all Freak models are crownless, the ones that are set themselves apart from the rest of the horological world. But the uniqueness doesn’t stop there. In addition, the Freak is notable because it has no dial. Instead, the skeletonized appearance features components rearranged in such a way to create a free-floating tourbillon. The watch has an unexpected yet elegant silhouette—all under space-age crystal. These characteristics are complicated and intricate, consistently making heads turn. If you wonder how it works, everything was made possible by the “dual direct escapement” and the help of the silicon escapement wheels.

Besides being the first watch to boast this brand new escapement, Ulysse Nardin was also the first company to use silicon for its escapement wheels. Talk about pioneers of transformation!

uylsse nardin freak x

How it came about

The idea was originally introduced by Carole Forestier, who inspired the whole project. She received the Prix de la Foundation Abraham-Louis Breguet for her central carousel tourbillon design. Rolf Schynder then decided to make a functional watch from this movement. He started a team, which included Ludwig Oeschslin, who focused on the evolution of the design.

The team managed to create a watch that would be powerful enough to drive the movement for seven days, with an in-line gear train and regulator that rotates for 60 minutes and a barrel that rotates for 12 hours. And from that, this fantastic, disruptive wristwatch was finally brought to life.

ulysse nardin freak

“The craziest watch ever made”

From its looks to  its many unique features, the Ulysse Nardin Freak gets “the craziest watch ever made” as its moniker for a reason. Many other breathtaking, unique watches have emerged since Freak’s conception, but nothing beats the advancement, innovation, quirks, and game-changing features that it brought to the industry.

Get your own Ulysse Nardin Freak at Feldmar Watch Company. We are an authorized dealer of luxury watches based in Los Angeles, providing service for more than a century.

About The Author: Tom Roth


Born in Washington state, Tom developed an interest in photography during college at University of San Diego. There, he got started in music journalism, interviewing artists and taking photos at concerts. A life-long tinkerer and collector, it wasn’t long before Tom became fascinated with fountain pens and watches.

Those interests collided in November 2020 when Tom started at Feldmar Watch Company where he lives out every watch geek’s dream: photographing and writing about timepieces. When he’s not tinkering with his watch collection, Tom can be found traveling, biting his nails while watching PNW sports teams, and taking flying lessons.

Read more from Tom Roth

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