While the UR-100 is an addition to the URWERK collection that was only made late last year, we’ve already seen master watchmaker, Felix Baumgartner and chief designer Martin Frei issue several versions already.
These include the URWERK UR-100 SpaceTime — Iron and Black, the Gunmetal and, of course the Gold, which very quickly earned itself the nickname C3P0, for obvious reasons. So, if the question is asked as to whether the world needs a fifth version of the UR-100, that would be a very appropriate question.
Explains Martin, “The UR-100 is one of our latest creations, but we’ve been in discussion about it for a long while now. Now the reason why rather than following the generations of the various watches we’ve made so far, it bears a number that precedes even our first watch is because, the UR-100 was, for us, a cathartic exercise in looking back at our beginnings.”
The UR-100 was designed to have a pronounced, domed sapphire crystal that gives way to a clear unadulterated view of URWERK’s orbital satellite time indication. The movement in question here is the self-winding UR 12.01, which in typical URWERK fashion, indicates the time with the orbital satellite hours that sweep across the minute scale, towards the 6 o’clock position of the watch.
What sets the UR-100 apart from anything that URWERK has produced since its sart, lies in its case design. Have a closer look at the watch’s 10 and 2 o’clock and you’ll see that the watch has two further sub-indications. This is where the watch gets the SpaceTime part of its initial name.
The orbital hour hands pass through these sub-indications to give two forms of information. The scale at 10 o’clock tracks an approximation of the distance the earth covers as it spins on its axis, an average speed of 555 km per 20 minutes. The scale at 2 o’clock tracks the approximate distance the earth covers as it orbits the sun: a very rough, average speed of 35,740 km per 20 minutes.
That’s all fine and great (and things we know already); the question remains: why a fifth version of the UR-100 already? Well, the answer there lies in the fact that this isn’t just another UR-100. The UR-100V Iron features a refreshed calibre: the selfwinding UR 12.02.
The new movement now brings the aperture for the hour hands closer to the minute scale. The intention there being, simply to make the reading of time greatly more intuitive.
Shares Felix, “So, probably, when you look closer to the first editions of the UR-100 and now the V, you can see immediately that we moved the hour numbers from the center [of the satellite system] closer to the minutes [scale]. We switched the side of the satellite to indicate the hours, so that’s the evolution of the carousel.
“When we started on the UR-100 we wanted to highlight the satellite mechanism. Which is why have this expansive sapphire crystal and why we designed it so that you would check for the hour in the center and then to go out of to the minutes. Over time, actually, we understood reading the hours would be more natural if we moved it away from the center. So, this is now what we’ve expressed on the latest edition, the UR-100V. It’s an evolution of the UR-100 after we’ve now produced 100 pieces with the initial four versions. With the fifth version, this was our way of also making sure that this would be unique and new, in a way, compared to the earlier ones that would also be meaningful.”
Selfwinding UR 12.02 movement with the winding rotor governed by a Windfänger airscrew; hours and minutes; distance traveled on earth’s equator in 20 minutes (scale at 10 o’clock), distance earth travels around the sun in 20 minutes (scale at 2 o’clock); 48-hour power reserve
Titanium and stainless steel; width: 41mm, length: 49.7mm, height: 14mm; water resistant to 30m
Blue Alacantra with a titanium buckle
Price and limitation
CHF 48,000 / SGD 73,900; limited edition of 25 pieces