Two vibrantly striking and individual Freak Vision timepieces have swum out of the depths of Ulysse Nardin’s unique nautical universe. In a brand known for its colourful timepieces, these two Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision Coral Bay timepieces still catch and hold their own share of attention.
For marine aficionados, the namesake of these two pieces should be a familiar one. The famous snorkeling reef of Coral Bay in Western Australia is colourful and unique. Just like the watches it has inspired!
Horological Game-Changers, Freak Style
Launched at SIHH 2018, the Freak Vision contains a host of horological game-changers. Ulysse Nardin is famous for its exploration of new technologies from other domains, and this latest set of timepieces is no exception.
The best example of these technological advances is the Manufacture’s unique use of silicium, a material adopted from the electronics industry. Here it is used as the material for the balance wheel. A box-domed crystal also contributes to a new, super-thin case design.
Another innovation borrowed from the electronics industry is the technique of bonding, which uses thousands of 24 carat gold threads to create painstakingly delicate patterns. Computer chip manufacturers use this to convey electricity. Here, Ulysse Nardin uses it because the fabulously intricate designs it creates are a delight to the eye.
A bonding machine squeezes gold thread on each side, one thread after another. This delicate process is used to draw a coral reef motif on the watch movement’s barrel spring bridge. Each thread is a different size, and all are tied only at the top and bottom of the thread, not at the center.
To create blue and yellow gold coral reef patterns, the watchmaker colours the component and the coral reefs with a chemical vapour disposition process in blue. The entire surface is coloured except the departure and arrival points of the gold threads, which are laser cleaned.
A Miniature Coral Painting Masterpiece
The Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision Coral Bay also stands out for its miniature painting technique. During its making, the master artisan uses lacquer colours that are applied and mixed directly on the dial. The dial is in turn heated in an oven at 90 degrees between each colour application. This enables the colours to dry and remain firmly and vibrantly in place.
The master artisan thenhand colours the remaining details using extremely fine brushes and a magnifying glass. The complexity of the motif requires approximately 20 hours of painting time.