This year, Ulysse Nardin revamped its revolutionary Freak to evoke the Artemis Racing AC45 catamaran. The Swiss watch brand is sponsoring the challenger of the Swedish Royal Yacht Club in its bid to win the 35th America's Cup next year in Bermuda.
When it launched 15 years ago, the Freak's radical architecture stunned the watch world. The design dispenses with dial, crown and hands and uses the rotating movement to indicate the time. The lower bridge displays hours, while the turning upper bridge—which carries the gear train, balance spring and escapement—doubles as a minute hand. FreakWing's spinning tourbillon takes center stage, and an aperture at 4 o'clock shows the date.
Limited to 35 pieces, FreakWing ($78,000) evokes the high-tech boat with its carbon-fiber bezel and case-back and a rotating hour disc that is textured like the vessel's mesh netting, while the design of the minutes bridge took inspiration from the internal structure of the huge, rigid sail that is shaped like an airplane wing. The black DLC titanium case is fitted with a carbon-style strap accented with yellow stitching, one of Artemis' team colors.
And like the sailboat, FreakWing is outfitted with cutting edge technology including the UlyChoc safety system of shock absorbers. Ulysse Nardin's engineers conceived a single silicon component, replacing three traditional components, to eliminate slack and friction so the balance wheel can perfectly re-center after the watch sustains a jolt. The silicon Dual Ulysse escapement is another proprietary development that eliminates a traditional pallet fork and escape wheel as well as the need for lubrication.
Visit ulysse-nardin.com for more information.