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!