Ulysse Nardin Explores the Timeless Legacy of the Freak in New Short Film

Embark on a journey from the ends of the earth to the high-tech silicon labs of Switzerland with the award-winning brand behind the Freak.

Watches
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Switzerland-based Ulysse Nardin has consistently redefined the boundaries of watch design and technical innovation. From its roots as a leading manufacture of marine chronometers to pioneering the use of silicon (a metalloid) into watchmaking, the renowned watchmaker has made significant contributions to haute horlogerie history for over 175 years. Now, the brand is showcasing one of its most iconic timepieces—the Freak—in a cinematic light.

Ulysse Nardin celebrates the watch’s legacy with a new short film, “46.2194º N 7.3431º E.” The documentary brings viewers on an immersive journey through the ice fields of Svalbard, Norway and the brand’s high-tech R&D silicon lab in Switzerland to uncover the technical exceptionalism of the Freak. Through the team’s creative lens, the film encapsulates the intricate connection between nature and human engineering. Trailblazing storyteller Joel Hyppönen, who stars in the film, skillfully investigates this dynamic interplay by leveraging his expertise in film and expedition.

“In storytelling, I aim to portray a specific timeframe, whether it’s about a place, a person—or the relationship between the two,” shares Hyppönen. “Time tends to change all the variables in the mix, forcing creative thinking to capture the essence of subjects. Being open and adaptive has proven to be the key to the most meaningful narratives.”

Ulysse Nardin teamed up with industry leaders Watches of Switzerland to debut the short film. The pair hosted a director’s cut screening at the Watches of Switzerland showroom in SoHo. The night also saw a panel discussion, discussing the future of watchmaking with Hyppönen, President of Ulysse Nardin Americas François-Xavier Hotier, and Watches of Switzerland Head of Creative Jay Gullion.

The Freak collection was launched in 2001 as the first superwatch and became the first watch ever created where the movement rotates to tell the time. In traditional mechanical watches, the inner workings are hidden under the dial. But the Freak has no dial; instead, its movement doubles as its minute hand, while the hour hand is a pointer set on a rotating disc that sits under the movement. Because of its unique, disruptive design, the Freak One has emerged as a favorite among discerning watch enthusiasts who are unafraid to transcend traditional watch design.

Discover Ulysse Nardin at Watches of Switzerland here.

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