On 6 March 2019 a London, during a press conference held under the minimalist curves of the Serpentines Galleries, In presence of Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of the brand and of Stéphane Von Gunten, Research and Innovation Director, Ulysse Nardin unveiled its latest concept watch: the FREAK neXt, a technological concentrate that is continuously inserted in previous innovations.
We recall that Ulysse Nardin has been at the forefront of watchmaking since its foundation in 1846. More than a method, technological exploration is a philosophy, a raison d'etre, a daily engine.
With the new concept watch called FREAK neXt, the Swiss manufacture demonstrates that the adventurous spirit of the FREAK collection remains indefatigable and animates the technical offices of Ulysse Nardin today more than ever. Indeed, the new FREAK neXt, current quintessence of all the technical and watchmaking skills of the Ulysse Nardin manufacture, reveals an oscillator with spectacular architecture.
But what's new inside Ulysse Nardin's new “wrist workshop”?
After 10 years of research, development and continuous improvements in collaboration with Sigatec, a company specializing in the production of silicon micro-components of which Ulysse Nardin is co-owner, the manufacture is now able to present what seems to be a real breakthrough in the paradigm shift in mechanical watchmaking already begun in 2015 with the flying escapement Ulysses Anchor: the new flying oscillator neXt.
The new flying oscillator Freak neXt reveals a totally innovative multi-layered 3D architecture (four layers of blades and a massive layer that serves as a flywheel). Based on the principle, well mastered by the Maison, of flexible mechanisms that use the elasticity of silicon blades, this oscillating adjustment device eliminates the central pivot, its center being literally suspended in the void. The basic idea of this regulating organ is to completely suppress the balance wheel axis to create a virtual pivot point. This is a radical evolution that clearly improves the traditional balance-spiral regulation principle presented in 17o century.
This new oscillator composed of 32 silicon micro-blades, 16 micrometers wide connected together without any contact with the platen (which form 16 triangles superimposed on 4 parallel layers) beats at an ultra-performing frequency of 12 Hz, allowing a considerable power reserve of 70 hours and allowing the movement to do without pins and rubies, offering a heart capable of beating "suspended", in "levitation", without a balance wheel. The direct result of this system is nothing more than the total suppression of bearing friction, optimizing the overall quality and therefore the energy consumption of the movement. The only friction that remains is the one with the air.
True architectural gem, the FREAK neXt displays a high-tech and ultra-contemporary look. The House's designers imagined an immaculate white with phosphorescent touches to highlight their latest invention. The bridge of the baguette movement (the gear train) takes a slightly trapezoidal shape, inspired by the spaceships of StarWars, and is framed by four luminescent tubes filled with Superluminova for a play of phosphorescence visible only at night.
A small logo in Ulysse Nardin's colors, placed on a transparent lens made of glass with a 3D subtractive manufacturing process, completes the decoration of the baguette movement.
The “Grinder” automatic charging system capable of using the smallest movements of the wrist has revolutionized the transmission of energy by being twice as effective as existing systems. The oscillating weight is connected to a frame with four teeth or blades, which allow the automatic system to double the angular travel, a bit as if a bicycle were equipped with four pedals instead of two
Evoking purity, simplicity and minimalism, the FREAK neXt is dressed in platinum and titanium. This watch, not available for sale, shows the brand's commitment to extend and enrich its collection by taking watchmaking eXpertise to the next level. For those of the Maison, it is a call to adventure. This extremely sophisticated mechanism, which must be implemented between now and the end of the year on commercial products, opens up still unexplored prospects for Ulysse Nardin.
X as eXploration, Xtraordinary, eXcess, eXexperience, eXcitation, eXtremo and compleXso. More than just a slogan, it is a true statement, reminding us of the audacity and creativity embodied by the new FREAK neXt.