The Urwerk UR-105 CT Streamliner, is Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner’s way of celebrating 20 years of the brand that they’ve so lovingly nurtured. So, if the watch reminds you of a few other Urwerks from over the past two decades, you’d be spot on.
We start with the UR-103.01, which was this super sleek watch with slender, vertical lines down its shroud. This was, also, the first watch that was made in the signature shape that we relate to Urwerk now without a second thought.
Thing is — as is the reason for why so many modern watches have see-through casebacks — when people first got hooked on what Martin and Felix were doing, they wanted to see the magic of the mechanism that enables Urwerk’s flavor of wandering hours. This concept of satellite hours turning on a carousel.
But, of course, in the UR-103.01, its beautifully crafted shroud kept its mechanism hidden. Therefore, later in 2005, Martin and Felix went on to create the UR-103.03, in which they pulled back the proverbial — and literal — shroud to reveal the hidden hour satellites and the four-pronged carousel that holds them.
It wasn’t until later in 2006 that Urwerk would attempt a completely open top watch: The UR-201. No shroud here, just a sheer sapphire crystal with much of the watch’s mechanism laid bare for admiration. For the UR-103, it was only in 2008 with the announcement of UR-103T that we got the same treatment.
In marking their 20th anniversary, to create a watch that traces the journey that it must’ve been —from the 2003 UR-103.01 to the ever-bolder watchmaking phenome they’ve become today — sounds like a tall order. But you best believe that this is exactly what the UR-105 CT Streamliner manages to do.
First, in its state of stasis, its highly reminiscent of the UR-103.01 — albeit a more aggressive version, with the same sort of vertical lines down its front, ‘cept that these are deeper and wider.
Then you notice this grooved portion of the shroud that almost looks like what you see on battery compartment clasps on electronic devices. Which is why, you are going to compelled to reach out to it. Depress this switch ever so gently and the shroud pops open like the hood on a car revealing the engine within.
The engine — movement — fitted in the UR-105 CT Streamliner is generally based off of what is the typical Urwerk caliber, but with a few major new additions. You now have the power reserve indicator and a running seconds right next to the minute track. Although, in case you’re worried that the wandering satellites would cover the power reserve indicator and the running seconds as they pass over these, fear not — because the satellites have been skeletonized to address this very matter. Gotta love it when these technical solutions also end up adding to the watch’s overall aesthetics.
If you ask Martin and Felix about the UR-105 CT Streamliner, they’ll share that they’ve put a lot of the city where Urwerk was sparked into the watch: New York City.
Towards the start of 1997, Martin had just graduated from the College of Arts and Design in Lucerne and moved to the Big Apple. While Felix was still in Geneva, the two friends created Urwerk and launched their first watches, the UR-101 and UR-102.
As well received as those watches were, Urwerk’s early days were tough days. With doubt and concern on his mind for the brand’s future, Felix decided to join Martin in New York in hope that being close by to one another, they could find new vigor and inspiration for their next watch. Much weighed on this watch because, one way or the other, it would seal their fate.
Lo and behold, it was New York that ended up being their biggest source of inspiration giving rise to the UR-103.01, some five years later. And the rest shall we say, is history — well just 20 years’ worth, but with plenty more to come.
Technical Specifications: URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner
Self-winding UR 5.03 with the system governed by twin turbines; wandering hours with minutes, digital seconds and power reserve indicator; 48-hour power reserve
UR-105 CT in titanium and mirror-polished steel or black in titanium and PVD coated steel; width 39.5mm; length: 53mm; thickness: 17.3mm; water resistant to 30m
Price: CHF 65,000.00