One could easily devote an entire issue of your favorite magazine to an exhaustive analysis of the model under scrutiny in this new test bench, in light of the impressive concentration of technological and architectural innovations within the Ulysse Nardin Freak collection as a whole and particularly this Freak Vision watch. We will therefore focus on its quintessential characteristics.
It is difficult to entirely disassociate the 45mm-diameter platinum case from the movement it houses, given their close interconnections. The rotation of the movement inside this watch precludes the use of a traditional winding and time-setting system operated via the crown stem. The Freak Vision is thus manually wound by rotating its case-back, while time-setting is done by turning its bezel after releasing it via a bolt bolt between the lugs at 6 o’clock. There are no hands or dial as such, since the hours are displayed by an index and the minutes by the 60-minute rotation of the entire movement. The overall result is a unique, understated and ergonomic result, while the various operations relating to winding and time-setting inspire a sense of absolute confidence.
Silicon is omnipresent on this first automatic caliber to join the collection. Ulysse Nardin has indeed played a pioneering role in introducing this technology to the field of haute horlogerie as early as 2001. Silicon has notably enabled the creation of a constant-force escapement and of a balance wheel with an attractive and high-performance design. The rim of the balance wheel is ultra-light and its inertia is achieved by nickel elements arranged around its circumference. Its precision timekeeping is further improved by the rotation of the movement which constantly mixes up the various vertical positions over 60 minutes in order to achieve an optimal mean rate. The four arms inside the frame of the Grinder Automatic Winding System guarantee exceptional efficiency that could almost eliminate the need for manual winding which is nonetheless wisely available. The single barrel ensures a 50-hour power reserve for the balance oscillating at a frequency of 2.5Hz.
This watch is scarcely comparable with any other, given the incredible number of innovations it comprises. The various measurements conducted confirm that the goal set by the Ulysse Nardin watchmakers does not consist in exploring new solutions but instead in achieving convincing results in terms of chronometry and rating stability. Given the relatively conventional 50-hour power reserve, we took measurements at full state-of-wind and after 24 hours of operation. Finally, since the movement rotation led us to consider the regulating organ as a karussel, we performed only one measurement of the entire set of vertical positions over a 60-minute period. This Freak Vision lives up to its hype and it is indeed the stability of the amplitudes and rates over time as well as between horizontal and vertical positions that turns out to be the most impressive asset of this new model.
|Top dial||Low dial||Average of vertical positions / 60 min|
This Freak Vision occupies an almost unique segment. Watches featuring such a large number of innovative technologies and materials generally carry three to six-times higher price tags, with results that are often disappointing compared with those observed during this test bench. Despite its complexity, this watch inspires a sense of confidence and exudes reliability, factors to which collectors are increasingly sensitive. The Freak Vision is therefore not an experimental lab concept, but instead embodies a tried and trusted, well-mastered application of cutting- edge technologies for which the purchaser will not serve as a guinea pig. A Vision that we share as one of the most interesting technological advancements of the past two decades.