At Dubai Watch Week 2023, the horology world converges at The Gate, Dubai International Financial Centre. Among the over 60 iconic brands present, Ulysse Nardin (Instagram) stands out with its introduction of the Freak ONE OPS. Jean-Christophe Sabatier, Chief Product Officer at Ulysse Nardin, shares his excitement: “This Dubai Watch Week will be the opportunity to unveil our very last novelty of the year: the Freak ONE [OPS]. This timepiece is a variation of the Freak One that was presented at Watches & Wonders 2023, this same piece was just awarded at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Geneve in a prestigious product category: Iconic Timepieces.”
The Freak, first launched in 2001, revolutionized Swiss fine watchmaking by discarding traditional watch elements like hands, a dial, and a crown, setting a new paradigm with its unconventional design and advanced mechanical movement. Today, the Freak remains a cornerstone of high-end contemporary watchmaking, particularly noted for its use of silicon, a material that has since become a standard in the industry.
Now, at Dubai Watch Week, Ulysse Nardin continues this story with the Freak ONE OPS, It’s a bold embodiment of the independent, free-spirited thinking that has always defined the Freak, and Ulysse Nardin. “This timepiece pays tribute to the spirit of exploration and adventure that we share at Ulysse Nardin. It’s a very cool design with a casual khaki green colour and new material combinations of rubber, titanium, and composite materials upcycled from the aerospace industry.”
Housed in a 44mm black DLC titanium case, the Freak ONE OPS features a unique sunray-patterned barrel cover and an integrated rubber strap in khaki green. The bezel, crafted from Carbonium®, boasts an exceptional strength-to-lightness ratio and a unique marbled finish. The watch’s calibre UN-240 Manufacture movement is clearly visible due to the absence of a dial, with its flying carousel relaying the minutes and a blue silicon oscillator enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
“The luxury timepiece market is evolving,” Sabatier observes. “Luxury watches are increasingly seen as collectibles and works of art. The historical background, design footprint, and technical creativity are crucial in this context, as collectors are very well informed and selective.” He highlights Ulysse Nardin’s strengths in this evolving market, “Ulysse Nardin is very well equipped in this context, as we benefit from a fully-fledged integrated Manufacture. We produce all our calibers in house including escapements. More and more collectors are coming to visit us to discover how we combine traditional watchmaking with technical creativity.”
Focusing on the GCC market, Sabatier sees Dubai as a strategic platform for growth, “Our colourful proposals and sporty materials align well with the local taste in the GCC, where technical content and integrity remain key drivers of recognition.” He mentions the importance of their partnership with the prestigious local distributor Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons for development in this region.
Since its inception, the Freak has continuously reset the boundaries of watch design and engineering. From the original Freak in 2001 to the latest Freak ONE, each iteration has contributed to the legacy of this iconic collection, blending traditional watchmaking with technical creativity.
With the Freak ONE OPS, Ulysse Nardin not only honours its legacy, but also propels it into the future, reaffirming its status as a leader in the world of luxury watchmaking. As Dubai Watch Week unfolds, watch enthusiasts and collectors will witness the exceptional artistry of Ulysse Nardin’s Freak ONE OPS, a timepiece that not only celebrates the past but also heralds the future of luxury watchmaking.
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