Patrik Hoffmann, president and CEO of Ulysse Nardin, and I go way back, back to when he was the president of Ulysse Nardin USA, living in Boca Raton, FL. We bonded over watches and motorcycles and have since become good friends.

But, surprisingly, after all these years, we never rode motorcycle together, not even once. We talked about it every time we got together, but something always got in the way.

Until August 27, 2016, that is. We picked this date back in March at Baselworld, and promised to stick to it.

When I showed up at the Chateau d’Ouchy in Lausanne at nine am on the appointed day, I half-expected Patrik to be a no-show, but there he was, riding in on his new BMW K1600GT.

After remarking how we couldn’t believe we were actually riding together after all these years, Patrik pulled out a watch for me to wear-test on the ride…and what a watch it was.

This year is the 15th anniversary of the ground-breaking, and polarizing, Freak. The one Patrik gave me to wear was #1 of the Freak Diavolo, a prototype that Patrik himself wears and has engraved “not for sale” on the caseback.

I have always been a fan of the Freak, but have never worn one, so I relished strapping it onto my wrist. With no crown, the watch, though large, is very comfortable and easy to wear.

Looking at the Freak Diavolo is captivating, with its carousel tourbillon acting as a minute indicator, making one complete rotation an hour, and a flying tourbillon sitting above the carousel, displaying the seconds. So, just watching the dial is a treat!

The four of us – Patrik, me, Ahmad Shahrier from the US and Sales Director Wolfgang Sickenberg – rode out of Lausanne and into the vineyards around Lake Geneva.

Led by Sickenberg on his silver Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, we started climbing into the Jura, keeping the lake, glistening in the bright late-summer sun, on our right.

We jumped onto the Autoroute for a quick blast past Montreux, then the serious twisties began as we rode up into the Swiss Alps on what seemed to be secret roads with absolutely no traffic, roaring past shuttered ski resorts and sleepy mountain villages.

Just before going up to a pass between two mountains, we stopped in front of a single lane tunnel with no signs, no lights, no barriers, just the tunnel.

Sickenberg explained that the tunnel was one way going down for 15 minutes past the hour, then it was one way going up for the next 15 minutes, then down for…you get the idea. I checked my Freak and all we had to do was wait five minutes, then we roared through the tunnel and up, up and away.

After about 100 miles of the best roads I’ve ever ridden with stunning scenery and breath-taking drops, we stopped for lunch at the Sonnenhof Restaurant (http://www.restaurantsonnenhof.ch/en/).

On the way to our table, Patrik stopped to chat with a gent wearing the UN Marine Diver. As all four of the “Freaks” were wearing Ulysse Nardin watches, Patrik felt comfortable saying, “Even with the Pateks and Rolexes on the wrists of the diners here, Ulysse Nardin is the most popular watch at the Sonnenhof – five UN watches in one restaurant!”

Gourmet food eaten and a coffee imbibed, my Freak told me it was time to go. We fired up the bikes and headed for the Jaunpass, which was a joy to ride, with switchbacks, fast sweepers and beautiful vistas around every corner.

After the hour and a half Jaunpass, we stopped for a snack in Charmey, where I interviewed Patrik about the Freak. You can watch that interview in the video at the end of this article.

Charmey was our last stop, as we were all heading our separate ways, which meant I had to give back the Freak Diavolo. I really enjoyed wearing it, even for only a day, and it is now on my “bucket” list of watches.

All the Ulysse Nardin “Freaks” rode off into the fading light, vowing to get together for another ride soon.

Fun Fact: The Freak was the internal designation for the watch when it was in development. No one at UN could come up with a better name, so it was named the Freak.

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