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Ulysse Nardin Freak “Blue Cruiser”

For nearly one hundred and seventy years Swiss brand Ulysse Nardin has been at the heart of fine watchmaking. The company was established in 1846 by Ulysse Nardin and has thrived ever since. In fact they are one of the only watchmakers to achieve this amount of uninterrupted longevity. Essentially this is because they produce beautifully crafted timepieces and are progressive thinking. In 1983, Rolf W. Schnyder and Professor Ludwig Oechslin relaunched the business. It was this partnership that yielded some incredible results and took the company in a whole new direction. Last year (in 2014) French luxury goods group Kering became their new guardians.


The last time I featured Professor Ludwig Oechslin on Total Watch Reviews was in conjunction with Ochs und Junior. In the scheme of things this brand is fairly young and is unusual because it offers a bespoke customization service. This means that consumers can choose aspects of the design like colour, materials and case size. In comparison to some of the complications Professor Ludwig Oechslin has devised for Ulysse Nardin (like the Planetarium Copernicus, Astrolabium Galileo Galilei and Tellurium Johannes Kepler) the mechanical aspect of these watches are pretty basic. However it pertinent to mention that the (Ochs und Junior) Moon Phase Watch is equipped with the most precise moon phase mechanism in the world.


Although I have written several articles featuring Ulysse Nardin timepieces I have never actually personally tested one. Fortunately on a recent visit to The Hour Glass in Singapore all this changed and I was allowed access to the wonderful Freak “Blue Cruiser”. With a generous diameter measuring 45mm the watch asserts its authority without being too imposing. Generally I found the timepiece felt fairly lightweight and sat comfortably on my wrist. Primarily this is down to ergonomic crownless design and the choice of luxurious 18-karat white gold in production. Realistically this exclusive piece would be reserved for special occasions and not everyday usage.


Visually the Freak “Blue Cruiser” has a wonderful three-dimensional appearance. What makes this timepiece so extraordinary is the sublime blue multi-layered dial. This characteristic perfectly exposes the intricate mechanics of the sophisticated flying tourbillon movement. Other exceptional features include exquisite handcrafted open-worked hour/minute hands and an innovative manual winding system operated by rotating two ornate bezels. Overall the composition has been carefully considered and the finishing is absolutely first rate.


Beneath the striking façade lies a highly accomplished flying tourbillon hand winding movement. The Caliber UN-205 comprises 19-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Each of the mechanisms components (including the silicon escapement and hairspring) have been meticulously assembled in house at the company’s Swiss based workshops. Functionally the Freak “Blue Cruiser” features hours, minutes and seconds (indicated on the flying tourbillon). The timepiece also has an impressive power reserve of 7-days.


The Freak “Blue Cruiser” has a hand stitched blue alligator strap with matching 18-karat white gold clasp. Priced for the serious collector at: $95,000.

For more information about Ulysse Nadin visit the company’s website: http://www.ulysse-nardin.com

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