Here’s the new Ulysse Nardin Freak X, a disruptive optical illusion watch inspired by a WWI aesthetic that somehow makes chaos and disorder look elegant.

The idea of camouflage is perhaps best known for its use in the military, but what do you do when you’re on a hulking warship in the middle of the ocean? Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle, first made waves in WWI for its ability to well, literally dazzle enemies. British marine artist Norman Wilkinson‘s creation saw complex patterns of geometric shapes in an unpredictable swirl of contrasting colours that interrupted and intersected in the most confusing fashion.

Ulysse Nardin Freak X

The intention, however, was never to hide. Instead, this form of camouflage aimed to make it difficult to estimate the target’s range, speed, and direction, as well as to deter enemies from recognising the class of ships instantly. Post war, the style continued to inspire some of the greatest artists, one of which was Picasso, who let it influence some of his best contemporary art. 

With its passion for both the seas and all things bold, it was only a matter of time before Ulysse Nardin applied the disruptive print onto one of its timepieces and for best visual impact, it’s chosen the Freak X.

Perhaps the most beautiful embodiments of disorder and confusion ever, the Freak X Razzle Dazzle sees the captivating tapisserie applied onto the edgy flying carrousel movement, made famous for rotating around its own axis without a traditional dial or hands.

The decorative movement plate stands out here more so than ever, creating a hypnotic dance as it turns on itself every 60 minutes to indicate the time. The central bridge acts as a minute hand while one of the wheels indicates the hours. Inside, the innovative movement UN-230 is a fusion of the manufacture calibers UN-118 and Freak Vision UN-250, with ba 72-hour power reserve and a water resistance of 50m.

The extraterrestrial-looking Ulysse Nardin Freak X Razzle Dazzle will be limited to only 30 pieces and come in two variations: in titanium with a black DLC case and a black openwork rubber leather strap with “point de bride” stitches and rubber, or a white openwork calfskin leather strap with the same finishing. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that these wild watches are far from convention, each defying all known codes of design and watchmaking within its sleek 43mm package.

All images: Courtesy brand

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Shatricia Nair
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.
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