Ulysse Nardin, “Freak” tourbillon regulator, “Dual Direct Escapement”
Created by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, the “Freak” model features a carrousel regulation. Developed to be used without a winding crown or traditional hands, the escapement forms the minute indicator and the hours are displayed via a large triangular-tipped indicator sitting beneath the escapement. The mainspring is wound by rotating the case back and the time is set by rotating the bezel.
In the history of horology more effort has been devoted to the escapement than to any other functional part of a timepiece. In the 18th century, when most of the current systems were invented, the escapement was not only seen as fundamental, it was also a matter of prestige. George Graham (1673-1751), Pierre Le Roy (1717-1785), John Arnold (1736-1799), Thomas Earnshaw (1749-1829), Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), etc., were among those who made it a special study in the hope of solving most of the problems of reliability and accuracy that plagued timepieces of the era, including marine chronometers. As the interface between the going train and the regulating organ, the escapement is where force and frequency intersect in a complex interaction. Improving its efficiency has repercussions on the entire mechanism, its power reserve, its precision, life span and prestige.
In 2000, Ulysse Nardin introduced this escapement in the “Freak” watch and it remains exclusive to this model. The company has since switched its research from escapements and regulating systems to the development of proprietary calibres.Like the échappement naturel, it’s a double-wheel escapement with direct impulse to the balance. Its lever is so short that it’s more like a plate.The system looks simple but has its subtleties. The tooth profiles are particularly sophisticated. It aims to reduce friction and is suitable for high-precision LIGA production techniques.