New Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]
 

New Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]

3 min read
Richard Brown

Brands

Ulysse Nardin

Categories

Industry News

Richard Brown

Brands

Ulysse Nardin

Categories

Industry News

It wouldn't be a Watches & Wonders without a new Ulysse Nardine Freak. And for 2023, we are treated to the FREAK [X OPS].

The classic has gone all Special Operations and is allegedly stealthy. Which is a word not generally associated with this particular brand or model.

Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS] - Credit Ulysse Nardin

 
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£128.00
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Durbuy Ostrich Leg Leather Handmade Watch Strap
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Durbuy Ostrich Leg Handmade Leather Watch Strap - Black
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Durbuy Ostrich Leg Handmade Watch Strap - Grey

First, what does the title mean? Ulysse Nardine advise [X OPS] stands for X-Operations”. The X Ops has a black DLC titanium case, bezel and crown, khaki green carbon fibre composite flanks and fabric strap. The case mixes green carbon and epoxy resin, creating an outdoor, pseudo-military look. However, the PR people at Ulysse Nardine stress the intention is sporty and adventurous. More than anything, this unique splicing of materials gives the body of the watch the look of map contours, all of which are different. Another visual parallel which has already been drawn is that of Damascus Steel.

Beating at the heart of an X-Ops is a UN-230 self-winding movement which takes technology from the proven UN-118 and the high-tech UN-250 that gave the 2018 Freak Vision a unique look. It has a 72-hour power reserve. The watch is water-resistant to 50 metres, although it seems highly unlikely you would go for a swim with it on. Nevertheless, it will be appreciated if you live in a hotter climate.

Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS] - Credit Ulysse Nardin 

What is probably most astonishing is that this watch has no dial.

Mechanical watches tend to hide their workings under a dial with a few exceptions. However, the new 2023 Freak [X OPS] has no dial. In a stroke of design genius, reasonably as one would expect from a Freak, the movement doubles as its minute hand, while the hour hand is a pointer set on a rotating disc that sits under the movement.

Equally worthy of note this watch has no hands.

The radical Freak [X OPS] has neither a big nor a little hand. Instead, its one-hour orbital carousel tourbillon is the minute hand, and a pointer on a rotating disc replaces the hour hand. A challenging design on the brain but surprisingly easy to read.

Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS] - Credit Ulysse Nardin

 
Regular price
£48.00
Regular price
Sale price
£48.00
WatchGecko Vintage Tropical Style FKM Rubber Watch Strap - Brown
Quick Release
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£48.00
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£48.00
WatchGecko Vintage Tropical Style FKM Rubber Watch Strap - Green
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£48.00
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£48.00
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You cannot have Special Operations without Night Vision.

The hour and minute indicators and hour markers are coated in a matching khaki green Super-LumiNova® that glows green in low-light conditions. In all honestly, this watch is a million miles away from a traditional military watch but in fairness to Ulysse Nardin, it does show some familiar characteristics.

Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS]Ulysse Nardin FREAK [X OPS] - Credit Ulysse Nardin

  • Brand: Ulysse Nardin
  • Model: FREAK [X OPS]
  • Price: £29’700 (GBP) or $33’800 (USD)
  • Material: Khaki green carbon flanks in 'Magma', an original composite, blending black carbon fibres and green epoxy resin. Black DLC titanium case and bezel. Black DLC titanium case back with transparent sapphire opening
  • Movement: UN-230 Manufacture automatic movement. Flying carousel movement rotating around its axis. The balance wheel and escapement are made from silicon. Oversized oscillator in silicon. Black movement with indices and bridges in khaki green Super-LumiNova which gives the night time legibility. There are 206 components, 21 jewels and the movement beats at a frequency of 3 hz with oscillations at 21'600 vph
  • Complications: Hours, minutes
  • When the reviewer would personally wear it: This watch is very unlikely to see military service or go on a hike across the Kalahari, but it does give this vibe. However, this is a super smart, almost dress, watch and will be worn in a smart location in reality.
  • A friend we'd recommend it to first: Someone who thinks military styling is trendy but would never be seen with a Luminox or in camouflage clothing.
  • Best characteristics of the watch: The case. The Damascus steel pattern is superb and makes every watch unique. It has no dial or hands as these key components are made up of the movement, which is pretty special.
  • The worst characteristics of the watch: Most certainly, the channelling of the military and Special Operations look and feel. Spec Ops watches are serious equipment for serious people, and this watch is just for people who think this is in-vogue.

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Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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