ulysse nardin screening watchmaker watch freak one
ulysse nardin screening watchmaker watch freak one
Ulysse Nardin Spotlights its Iconic Freak One with Short Film by Watches of Switzerland
The screening was followed by a panel discussion from François-Xavier Hotier, Jay Gullion, and Joel Hyppönen.

Ulysse Nardin recently celebrated its award-winning Freak One in SoHo with some of today’s most in the know watch enthusiasts and collectors. Hosted in partnership with Watches of Switzerland, the event brought together New York’s finest for a night of fun that transcended borders and cultures.

The evening featured unique Polaroid photo opportunities, custom cocktails named after signature watches, and an electric set by DJ Lady S. Watches of Switzerland’s ground floor transformed into a gallery featuring the best of Ulysse Nardin including the recently launched Freak S Nomad, for the first time in North America. Guests also had the chance to put their watchmaking skills to the test and assemble a model themselves under the guidance of Ulysse Nardin’s Head Watchmaker and proclaimed “Freakologist.” But the main attraction of the night was a screening of “46.2194º N 7.3431º E,” Watches of Switzerland’s latest short film that pairs the ever-shifting terrain of the natural world with the high-tech Ulysse Nardin silicon labs of Switzerland.

From the creation of its first marine chronometer 178 years ago to its undeniable place in watch culture as a disruptor, Ulysse Nardin is driven by exploration of both the world at large and horological innovation. The documentary chronicles this intertwined relationship. Explorer Joel Hyppönen is seen traversing the snowy terrain of Svalbard, Norway while wearing the Freak One throughout the expedition—a metaphor for exploration of many kinds.

ulysse nardin screening watchmaker watch freak one

Along with the scenes of Norway’s ice fields, “46.2194º N 7.3431º E” also surveys the high-tech R&D lab, Sigatec, where Ulysse Nardin produces its micro-mechanical components that it first ushered into watchmaking back in 2001. The independent Swiss watchmaker is one of the few brands in the industry that manufactures its high-precision components and movements in-house. The film illustrates the intricate connection between nature and human engineering through dual frame shots of glaciers and the lab.

Furthering Ulysse Nardin’s commitment to fostering meaningful conversations, the screening was followed by a Q&A discussion moderated by Hypebeast’s Associate Creative Director, Courtney Kenefick. Panelists included the feature’s protagonist, Hyppönen; the President of Ulysse Nardin Americas, François-Xavier Hotier; and the Head of Creative of Watches of Switzerland, Jay Gullion. The discussion centered on the team’s creative process and how they brought the film to life. The speakers also touched on the enduring impact of the Freak on haute horlogerie.

“Ulysse Nardin is all about duality,” Hotier shared. “There is this spirit of exploration in the brand and its collectors, but at the same time, we are known for being innovative. I think what’s so amazing about this film is its ability to showcase both of these qualities.”

“46.2194º N 7.3431º E” is part of Watches of Switzerland’s ongoing “Anytime. Anywhere.” campaign, where the US retailer partners with leading watchmakers to produce a series of short films. Gullion shared that this partnership with Ulysse Nardin was born out of shared passions and came together naturally. “We have so much respect for what UN does for the watch industry,” Gullion expressed. “Not to mention, François loves cinema as much as I do. So once we knew we wanted to work together, the challenge was balancing this crazy expedition with this high-tech lab in the film.” Hyppönen later added how he got involved: “When I heard about this concept for the film, I was immediately interested. I was familiar with Jay’s work, so I knew it would be fantastic. Also, we shot in Svalbard, Norway—just two hours from the North Pole—which is a very special place to me.”

ulysse nardin screening watchmaker watch freak one

As a very special gesture, Ulysse Nardin armed each of the panelists with a Freak watch for the event. The timepiece was first launched in 2001 when the watchmaking industry was by and large conventional. The Freak—defined by no dial, no hands, and no crown—is heralded by serious collectors as the first superwatch and is the most complicated time-only watch to date. At the heart of the Freak One, which won the most Iconic Watch Prize at the Grand Prix of Horology of Geneva, is the idea of a watch with nothing to hide. The Freak’s movement is fully exposed and celebrated, shifting a watch as an object to just functionally tell the time into kinetic art for your wrist. The Freak collection, through its 23 years of evolution, embodies Ulysse Nardin’s technical excellence and innovative spirit.

Discover Ulysse Nardin at Watches of Switzerland here.


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