Introduced in 2001, the Freak model is one of the most revolutionary timepieces ever featuring innovative design including its Dual Direct escapement, no crown, no hands and no dial. It is the very first watch to innovate with silicium escapement parts, thus making anchors and escapement wheels as unnecessary as rubies for friction reduction or oil for lubrication. The Swiss manufacturer did not stop with the Freak and continues to research in the innovative use of new technologies and materials, such as silicon, nickel and nickel-phosphorus or diamond. In 2007, the brand presented InnoVision 1 using the entirely new range of materials and technologies which amazed watch connoisseurs. All major parts of this model were made from silicone which was a kind of the revolution in watchmaking industry. Now, it is time for a second Freak timepiece boasting InnoVision name.
The overall design of this exquisite novelty remains the same as on the original Freak model. The revolving mechanism boasts a gear train and escapement rotating once every hour and displaying the minutes. Considering the fact that there is no crown, the time can be set by turning the bezel. The movement itself can be hand-wound by turning the case back.
Just like the InnoVision 1, the second model bearing the same name makes extensive use of silicone, but in an avant-garde, next-generation style. There are ten innovations in the InnoVision 2 and I will point some of them.
One of the most important parts of the watch is the Dual Constant Escapement which performs two elementary tasks in a mechanical wristwatch by using two silicon escape wheels. The escapement is responsible for preventing unrestricted unloading of the spring mechanism and for transferring steady pulses to the oscillation system to maintain the oscillations from the balance wheel and the balance spring. This became possible thanks to flexible pre-tensioned silicium blades designed to absorb energy and release it accurately until the power of the watch is drained. The dual constant force escapement is an evolution of the brand’s Anchor Escapement.
Direct Silicium Bonding: Silicon components are mainly crafted from a single piece, but the Swiss watchmaker fused two micro parts into a single one. As it is reported by the manufacturer, the sealed bond was created by compressing surfaces at high temperatures (1000 to 1200 °C), and by adding oxygen.
Silicium balance wheel with gold mass elements and stabilizing micro paddles: The third innovation includes a silicon balance wheel with four solid gold paddles to offer constant accuracy. Silicium is light, non-magnetic, shock and corrosion resistant and highly flexible, which makes it a perfect material of choice without compromising quality. The final result is a balance wheel that can be adjusted just like the traditional one, while its mass becomes much lower.
Grinder: In order to eliminate idling and drag in the InnoVision 2’s winding, Ulysse Nardin redesigned its self-winding mechanism and for the first time ever equipped the Freak model with an automatic winding system dubbed Grinder. The new mechanism does not operate in the same way as the other self-winding systems. Furthermore, it provides an increased efficiency and transforms tiny amounts of kinetic energy into potential energy so there is virtually no idling. Instead of two, it has four levers for consistent energy.
Other innovations include a sapphire-coated silicium bridge, 24-karat hard gold wheels, a glass bridge with integrated shock protection for the balance wheel, the three-dimensional glass minute hands, etc. For more information please visit Ulysse Nardin’s official site.