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Brian M. Afuang

Tick Tock Tweak

Ulysse Nardin’s new FreakIT app lets users create their unique Freak Vision version

ULYSSE Nardin crows it’s a “customizing configurator unlike any other in the industry.” It’s called the FreakIT, and it’s an app that allows people a vast selection of individualization pieces for the already individualistic Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision timepiece.

Available exclusively in select Ulysse Nardin boutiques and retailers, FreakIT works on iPads and offers bespoke touches for the Freak Vision’s case, bezel, grinder, locker, side plate, some movement parts and straps — a total of 22 components can be tweaked.

For instance, straps can come in the usual alligator hide or fabric, but offered are a range of colors like Maverick Blue or Black, Freakshow Red or Orange, Rare Rose, Light Saber Grey or Radiant White; even the stitching can be matched. The watch’s case locker and side plate can be laser-etched one’s name, sign or other inscriptions. Once a user has settled on his or her personalized Freak Vision piece, the order can be placed directly using the app. The finished, hand-built, bespoke watch will then be delivered four months later.

Ulysse Nardin CEO Patrick Pruniaux explains FreakIT addresses watchmakers’ lag behind car companies in terms of providing bespoke services.

“The FreakIT app… is unprecedented in the watch world, which until now was far behind the car industry, where brands such as Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Bentley provide customers with a full set of bespoke options. Now in-store Ulysse Nardin customers, with a few swipes and taps, can create their own, one-of-a- kind Freak Vision — one that fully expresses their individuality,” Pruniaux says.

He further notes that “bespoke is the defining element of high-end luxury” as affluent buyers, especially haute horlogerie collectors, “place a strong premium on more emotional and personal priorities.”

“FreakIT allows these individuals to create watches as unique as they are,” he says.

Not that the Freak Vision lacks uniqueness. The piece features a “baguette” movement — meaning it is extremely narrow — that rotates around its own axis. It has a 3D-carved upper bridge inspired by a boat’s hull. It uses a balance wheel and an anchor escapement made from silicium. Its Grinder Automatic Winding System is revolutionary, involving a rotor linked to a frame containing four arms, which allows it twice the torque.

All this is made sweeter by the fact that the FreakIT customization package is offered at a fixed price of CHF10,000, regardless of the number of bespoke options availed. This means that for an all-in total of CHF105,000, one gets a Freak Vision that’s highly personalized.

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