Meet The New Ulysse Nardin Freak X Bucherer BLUE Edition
The iconic retailer Bucherer has teamed up with the iconoclastic watchmaker for an exceptional timepiece.
Lucerne-based jewelry and watch retailer Bucherer has been in business since 1846. Not because they play it safe but because they are willing to play the wild card once in a while. Recently, the retailer has opened the door to disruptive influences with its BLUE Editions, a collection of collaborations with leading watch brands. This initiative has led to a series of unique and innovative timepieces that use Bucherer’s signature blue hue as a jumping-off point.
In the past, we’ve seen such classic watches as the IWC Portugieser, Panerai Luminor Marina, and the Oris Sixty-Five Chronograph reimagined in indigo. And now Ulysse Nardin has joined the club with the Freak X Bucherer BLUE.
STORY OF THE BLUES
Since debuting in 2016, the Bucherer BLUE collection has had many unique limited editions. Apart from the previously mentioned IWC, Panerai, and Oris models, the BLUE collection has included an exclusive Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph and Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin, an eye-popping Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze Blue, a more demure Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Ultra Thin Date, a unique Piaget Altiplano, a lovely Longines Master Collection, a fun Chopard Happy Sport, a Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral, and an H. Moser Seconds. You can read more about these models HERE.
These collaborations are especially interesting because they came at a time when many brands were pivoting toward running standalone boutiques. The BLUE series signaled that multi-brand retailers still enjoyed a special relationship with collectors. And, as an exercise in branding, the BLUE collection went a long way toward making the name Bucherer more recognizable in the world of luxury.
GET YOUR FREAK ON
Ulysse Nardin is a brand that has always played well with others. Born in the 1980s, businessman Rolf W. Schnyder and horologist Ludwig Oechslin paired up to make Ulysse Nardin one of the most innovative watch brands in Switzerland.
Among the duo’s contributions to mechanical timekeeping is the Freak with its ground-breaking “dual direct escapement” with silicon escapement wheels. This baguette-shaped carousel concept has no dial, rather it turns on itself once an hour, using a central bridge as the minute hand while one of the wheels indicates the hours.
The Freak X, introduced in 2019, is the younger, more accessibility priced version of the Freak. This new-kid-on-the-block uses an in-house, automatic UN-230, which, like the Freak, features a dial-less, baguette-shaped carousel concept that turns on itself once an hour. It indicates times using a central bridge as the minute hand while one of the wheels indicates the hours. But unlike other Freaks, the Freak X Bucherer BLUE has a crown on the side of the case.
At the heart of the Freak X Bucherer BLUE’s new UN-230 caliber, beats the super-light balance wheel made from silicium with nickel flyweights and stabilizing micro-blades. Not only does this reduced friction engine provide extra accuracy but watching this machine through the sapphire case back is captivating. As you can see in our images, the UN-230 is a marvel of minimalist engineering.
While the BLUE series pays tribute to classic pieces by updating the look of the watch, the Freak X Bucherer BLUE ups the aesthetic ante with some subtle finishes.
The case of this watch is carved from Carbonium, a next-generation carbon composite. A robust material, Carbonium adds a nice textural surface without superfluous finishes. This effect shows up best when the light hits its tapered lugs and curved silhouette of the 43mm body of the watch. And because this material is so lightweight, it wears quite comfortably on the wrist. On the left side of the case is a screwed plate engraved with the individual limited-edition number.
Past BLUE editions have made the face the place to emphasize color. But because the Freak X Bucherer BLUE has no dial, the color scheme is found on details such as the indices, the gear train at 6 o’clock, and the Ulysse Nardin logo on the caseback to add visual intensity.
It’s a watch that you’ll be taking on and off just to admire its movement and architecture. Fortunately, the folding clasp of the black leather strap lets you examine the many details from every angle with ease.
The Ulysse Nardin Freak X Bucherer BLUE is limited to 88 pieces, in honor of the year 1888 when Bucherer was founded. Priced at the CHF 24,900 or GBP 22,650, it’s available now at Bucherer boutiques or online at bucherer.com.
(Images provided by Bucherer, Watchonista photography by Pierre Vogel)