Ulysse Nardin Freak Rolf 75 Special Edition
by Kyle Stults on September 10, 2010
Pinit

Rolf Turns 75…Releases Freak special…

Rolf Schnyder, the owner and president of Ulysse Nardin, turned 75 this year, and to commemorate his many achievements, he decided to introduce a new limited edition Freak Diavolo.   It is a fitting commemorative piece because when it was first launched in 2001 “the Freak” shook up the watchmaking industry with its carrousel tourbillion without crown, hands, or dial and with a novel silicium escapement which required no lubrication.  Not to mention that it was the first silicum escapement wheel in watchmaking — and silicum was more or less unheard of in watchmaking at the time.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo “Rolf 75″

Limited Edition of 75 pieces

Platinum case, “Rolf 75″ case embellishment, 60-second tourbillon, manual winding manufacture movement w/8+ day power reserve

Looking back on the decades, Rolf is right to give himself some credit for being a visionary:

“Almost 30 years ago, I bought Ulysse Nardin, a calculated risk as I believed there was a strong chance that unique, innovative mechanical watches could thrive, and it turns out I was right,”

“I fell in love with this grand old brand and our new innovative direction. To celebrate my 75th birthday, I’ve chosen the Freak because it was an historic breakthrough for Ulysse Nardin and for the watch industry in general, and it is by far our most important piece.”

What a watch, eh?  Note the beautiful silicum escapement (blue colored thingy)

This is an amazing watch that builds upon the Freaks that have come before it.  The tourbillon (developed entirely in-house) is impressive with its 8+ day power reserve and that a a yellow-half circle cage which serves to mark the seconds.  Note also there is no crown on the watch — the watch is wound and the time is set by turning the split-level bezel.  Price is unknown, but don’t think anything less than $100,000.

Did you know?

During one of his annual visits to St. Moritz, where Schnyder competes on the famous Cresta Skeleton Run he learned that Ulysse Nardin was for sale. That was in 1983 when Switzerland’s watch industry was in the doldrums due to the arrival of the quartz age. Ulysse Nardin was little more than a shell, a carcass with a famous name he describes it, and he set about transforming the brand with an emphasis on unique, complicated watchmaking with innovation at its core. Watches like the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei, the Planetarium Copernicus, the Tellurium Johannes Kepler, the Minute Repeater Jaquemart San Marco, the Freak, the Genghis Khan and more followed, all having a common theme – innovation. Ulysse Nardin has been a leader in the adopting of new materials, new technologies and new ways of doing things since Schnyder relaunched the brand.