Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]

Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]

Adrienne Faurote
By Adrienne Faurote September 26, 2023

Since its debut in 2001, the Freak has been synonymous with redefining the conventions of traditional high-end watchmaking. It defied norms by featuring no dial, no hands, and no crown, yet remained a mechanical marvel. Ulysse Nardin, the visionary behind this icon, has consistently pushed the boundaries of horology, and the Freak has remained at the forefront of this innovation.

In 2019, the Freak X brought a new perspective to this unconventional timepiece, introducing a crown while retaining its outlandish design. Now, Ulysse Nardin has taken this icon a step further with the Freak [X OPS], where “OPS” stands for “operations,” and it’s all about stealth.

Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ulysse Nardin

The Freak [X OPS] sports a black DLC titanium case, bezel, and crown, accentuated by khaki green carbon fiber composite flanks and a fabric strap. This adventurous design draws inspiration from the original Freak X Magma, where carbon fiber and red marbled epoxy resin created a unique look. In the [X OPS], green epoxy resin takes center stage, exuding a sense of casual luxury.

Underneath this distinctive exterior, the watch houses the UN-230 self-winding movement, a blend of the robust UN-118 and the high-tech UN-250 that made the Freak Vision memorable. With a water resistance of up to 50 meters, it’s a timepiece built for those who seek new horizons. But what truly sets the Freak [X OPS] apart is its lack of a traditional dial or hands. Instead, the movement itself serves as the minute hand, with an hour pointer on a rotating disc beneath it. This ingenious design is both a visual marvel and remarkably easy to read.

Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ulysse Nardin

The case flanks, crafted from Ulysse Nardin’s lightweight carbon fiber composite, create a unique three-dimensional appearance, inspired by the patterns of Damascus steel. Each case is distinctive, showcasing the material’s artistry. To ensure legibility in low-light conditions, the hour and minute indicators, along with the hour markers, are coated in khaki green Super-LumiNova┬«. This luminous touch adds a dash of practicality to the watch’s avant-garde design.

Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ulysse Nardin

The Freak collection’s arrival twenty years ago marked a pivotal moment in Ulysse Nardin’s history and Swiss watchmaking as a whole. Rolf Schnyder, a visionary in the industry, recognized the need for a fresh and daring approach to mechanical watchmaking. Collaborating with genius watchmaker Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, they birthed the Freak, a watch with no equal.

Ulysse Nardin Introduces A New Freak: The Freak [X OPS]Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ulysse Nardin

Its revolutionary use of silicon in the escapement set it apart, making it the first Swiss watch to adopt this cutting-edge material. Today, silicon is ubiquitous in watchmaking, but the Freak was its trailblazer. There’s no denying that 2023 is the year of the Freak for Ulysse Nardin, and the Freak [X OPS] continues to set a new standard within the legendary collection.