Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ulysse Nardin - FREAK InnoVision


10 technological innovations united in one watch perfectly sum up Ulysse Nardin’s vision on the future of mechanical watchmaking.

Innovation 1- Barrel on ball bearings. A 96 balls, non lubricated ball bearing guides the barrel both vertically and laterally. This solution is on the market since 2005.

Innovation 2 - “Dual Ulysse” escapement.
The “Dual Ulysse” escapement does not need any lubrication. Its reduced angle of lift (31 degrees) provides a great advantage. It is on the market since 2005.

Innovation 3 - Silicium bearings.
Lubrication free bearings in silicium are fitted into the brass base plate. No oil recesses are necessary.

Innovation 4 - DRIE precision and low friction advantages put together.
The escapement bridge made in solid silicium benefits from the high precision of the process. The good friction coefficient of silicium is another advantage. The movement designer is free to design holes very close to the exterior of the bridge as no jewels are required.

Innovation 5 - The reinforced silicium bridge.
Due to the combination of 2 technologies DRIE and LIGA, Sigatec, Mimotec and Ulysse Nardin have produced a bi-material bridge which performs extremely well. The exclusive process stands for precision, silicium stands for low friction and nickel stands for mechanical toughness.

Innovation 6 - Exploiting the elasticity of silicium.
Ulysse Nardin developed the revolutionary shock absorber bearing into the balance wheel shaft which pivots in the centre of the silicium disc. The elastic spiral shaped silicium disc deforms itself when shocks arise and returns to its original position immediately after the shock has been absorbed.

Innovation 7 - Silicium spring.
The Silicium hairspring is an excellent solution and we have the know-how to produce it.

Innovation 8 - Roller and Pin.
The roller and pin are made in one precise single component in the double sided DRIE process developed by Sigatec.

Innovation 9 - Stopper fork and security pin of the “Dual Ulysse” escapement.
The” Dual Ulysse” escapement « blocker » is a multifunctional element. Similarly to the anchor of the Swiss Anchor escapement, it bares a safety-pin which must be perfectly aligned. Thanks to the double side etching process created by Sigatec, this former multi part unit can be made as a single component not requiring any assembly or touch up.

Innovation 10 - Two-level process.
The escapement wheel and pinion are made in one single piece thanks to the two level etching process created by Sigatec. This new technology will seduce many movement designers all over the world.

Ulysse Nardin has presented quite a number of “World’s Firsts“ in the past years, and many of them have used the „Freak“ as a showcase. The “Freak“ was the first watch with a silicon escapement. It was commercialized in 2001.
Some Freak prototypes housed the first hairspring made of polycrystalline diamond which showed astonishing elasticity. The “Dual Ulysse” escapement with parts made of nickel-phosphor (NiP) and silicium (2005). The first watch with an escapement made of polycrystalline diamond was commercialized in 2005. Escapement components made of silicium can be used as skeletons to “grow” on them polycrystalline diamonds.

The succession of “Freak” models illustrates the continuous technological developments at Ulysse Nardin!

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