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Ulysse Nardin’s Freak X Carbonium

A few months ago I become a contributing writer for one of the largest watch retailers in the world. It’s an amazing opportunity because they give me enormous creative autonomy to feature the timepiece I love. One of my recent reviews focused on unique carbon fibre watches. This topic resonated with me because I actually co-designed (with my watchmaker friend) the world’s largest carbon watch called the ‘Pure Carbon’ This timepiece is featured in my forthcoming book entitled ‘Independent Watchmakers’. Another really cool carbon watch is the Freak X Carbonium by Ulysse Nardin.

Normally when I write about Haute Horlogerie brands like Cabestan, MB & F, Richard Mille, Urwerk etc. the price tags are ginormous. However, at $24,000 the Freak X Carbonium (by comparison) seems fairly reasonable for a watch of this calibre. Certainly, Ulysse Nardin is synonymous with the production of high-quality timepieces with an innovative twist. The Freak collection revived the company’s standing within the industry and was one of the first lines to experiment with silicon components.

A few years I had the privilege of testing Ulysse Nardin’s magnificent Freak “Blue Cruiser”. This watch is an incredible piece of engineering and is priced accordingly. In contrast, the Freak X collection ranges between $21,000 for a stylish titanium version and $30,000 for a more luxurious rose gold model. Sitting in the middle is the Freak X Carbonium, which is my personal favourite. Dimensionally the watch is smaller than its predecessor and measures 43mm. These reduced proportions should appeal to a broad demographic including the lucrative unisex market.

Aesthetically the Freak X Carbonium has a really cool industrial appearance. The textured Carbonium® case, which is a special carbon matt composite trademarked by Ulysse Nardin is really effective. I love the multi-layered dial, which exposes mechanical elements of the movement. Other features include oversized skeletonised hands and raised markers. Whereas the Freak “Blue Cruiser” (I previously reviewed) has a setting device integrated into the bezel, this model has a more conventional crown. Powering the watch is the Caliber: UN-230, which oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and has a power reserve of 72-hours.

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