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Watches Jewellery Inside Out: Ulysse Nardin Unveils The Art Of Silicium Marquetry

Inside Out: Ulysse Nardin Unveils The Art Of Silicium Marquetry

Assembling silicon pieces by hand
By Brian Cheong
By Brian Cheong
February 14, 2019
Ulysse Nardin has gone from revolutionising the use of silicium for its escapement to creating an artistic expression out of the material for the dial.

Having mastered silicium technology for a more efficient and resilient internal operation of a watch, Ulysse Nardin turns its focus to the external, wondering what more it could do with silicium to give the watch an extra distinction.

This train of thought somehow led to idea of decorating the dial with silicium. Since it has never been done before, the artisans had to devise a new method of assembling tiny pieces of silicon to create a decorative pattern that is viable and attractive.

Also see: Last year's Freak Vision was the first automatic Freak watch

Silicium marquetry
Silicium marquetry

Silicon is extremely fragile to work with; a slight wrong move could chip the edges. Wafers of silicion are first cut into segments with a plasma accelerator. About 120 of these silicon segments are then hand-assembled with utmost precision to create a mosaic, which Ulysse Nardin describes as “resembling a bevy of interacting laser beams”.

ICYMI: Discover the rare handcrafts of Patek Philippe

Since the Freak watch was the first timepiece to feature silicium parts, it is apt that the silicium marquetry makes its debut in the Freak X, the entry-level model in the Freak collection. There are two versions to choose from: blue or purple dial. Either way, it lends the Freak a fresh, dazzling face.

Freak X with blue (left) and purple silicium marquetry
Freak X with blue (left) and purple silicium marquetry

Distinguished by its innovative baguette carousel movement that doubles as the hour hand and a hull-shaped central bridge for the minute hand, the Freak X is different from its predecessors in that it has a crown for setting time; its predecessors are dependent on a movable bezel for this function.

This artistic Freak X is available in either a titanium blue PVD or a black DLC titanium case measuring 43mm in diameter, with blue alligator strap and black alligator strap respectively.

 

Tags

Watches & Jewellery Ulysse Nardin Silicium Marquetry Freak X

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