A Closer Look at The Ulysse Nardin Freak NeXt

Any true watch lover has probably poured over the Ulysse Nardin catalog at some point and appreciated the varied designs from the unique and modern to the classic and timeless. Whether you like minimalist pieces or intricacy, there is something perfect for you in these gorgeously wrought timepieces. However, there’s more than meets the eye going on at Ulysse Nardin. The technology that goes into these truly next-level watches is ready for the next millennium despite the fact we’re just getting started on the current one. It stands to reason that “NeXt,” is the perfect name for this watch and it does not disappoint.

It is strange to consider that the company producing these technological wonders has been around since 1846. With such solid roots in the past, it is never the less impossible to talk about any Ulysse Nardin watch without discussing innovation. As futuristic as the NeXt appears, it is even more forward-thinking than the looks may suggest. Where other watchmakers are still using jewels and other time-honored traditional parts to smooth the friction in their watches, Nardin watches have moved well beyond that need. It is not an overstatement to say that the NeXt is the watch of the future.

What Makes The Difference

No single piece alone makes the leap complete, but the flying oscillator comes close. It is the combination of revolutionary ideas, materials, and pieces that make this watch lightyears ahead of the nearest competition. The collaboration with Sigatec, which is admittedly co-owned by Ulysse Nardin, has been a decade of mutually brilliant exchanges and improvements. The flying oscillator used in the NeXt is one of the fruits of this labor, and it is spectacular. The use of silicium micro-components produced at Sigatec is part of what makes the revolutionary NeXt into the truly advanced piece of technology it is.

The flying oscillator does away with a traditional central pivot and is suspended mid-air. They have pushed the limits of what is known to be possible with the 3D multilayer oil and bearing free part that drives this watch. Because it beats to a 12 Hz frequency there is a surprising 70-hour power reserve. Another noteworthy inclusion, the “Grinder,” self-winding system is twice as efficient as other existing systems and has a flexible guidance system. What this means effectively is that the friction is extremely limited which gives smoother movement.

Design

It may not come as a surprise to learn that this stellar watch is inspired, in part, by the space ships of Star Wars. Ulysse Nardin courted the “Ultra contemporary,” appearance with it’s white and phosphorescent combination and a trapezoidal bridge to the baguette movement that reminds us of the angular entry ports in the galactic empire. Another nod to the Star Wars color scheme is the dark blue “point-de-bride” stitches. When it comes to the finest details like these Ulysse Nardin is truly a master of their craft. They manage to use Superluminaova white, platinum and titanium together to show a minimalist yet evocatively stunning timepiece that lives up to the mystique of its own self proclaimed “X” factor.

The Downside

There is much to love and be genuinely impressed by in this watch. The nighttime profile is as stunning as the daylight countenance. Anything that appears to have come from a time machine that is used to import future technology is worth a second and even a third look. What could possibly be wrong with the NeXt? Only one thing… you can’t have it. There is no list price whatsoever. It is a concept watch that is simply not for sale. Money can’t buy you everything, but you can join the rest of us in looking. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come and we’ll see sibling pieces for sale soon. Until then we can only enjoy it from a distance.

Final Thoughts

As much as any other piece of fine art, the NeXt is clearly inspired by the Greek muses themselves. The level of refinement and sheer enchantment that must possess the soul of a designer in order to cause them to produce works like the NeXt is inconceivable. When you look to the future and consider space age technology making the first forays to the stars, it isn’t hard to imagine the owner of the first interstellar cruise ship sporting a timepiece like this on his wrist. For the rest of us, only time will tell when and if we can have a watch like the NeXt.


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