As some of you might know (and we told you here, on Mono’), independent brand URWERK is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. Hard to believe, but the baby has grown up to become an adult… Will that mean becoming serious and void of creativity? Certainly not. This year, the brand presents the URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner, a modern watch inspired by the early years of the creators, Martin and Felix. A look back over the shoulder, but not with nostalgia or regret.
The URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner is built around one of the brand’s most emblematic modern models, as part of the UR-105 collection, which started in 2014 with the hand-wound UR-105M ‘Iron Knight’ and ‘Dark Knight’, and later followed by the automatic version UR-105 TA. This same watch, just like in the old days of the automotive industry, has been transformed into several other editions – using a common chassis and a common engine, but with a different “carrozzeria” (with the T-Rex, the Clockwork Orange or the Raging Gold versions). For 2017 and the 20th anniversary collection, the 105 undergoes another redesign, however this time with quite an extensive reworking on the bodywork.
As already noted, it uses the same engine and same “wheelbase” but this URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner changes category by becoming a Targa… Indeed, that’s a word usually reserved to open-roof cars, however in the case of this watch, it is the most fitting appellation – and if it’s not the first time URWERK has used this name, it makes even more sense here. In fact, on top of the watch is a “hood” that can be opened to reveal even more of the innards – while when closed, this hinged upper case only reveals the essentials, meaning the display of the time.
Slide up the button on top of this cover and the magic happens. While when closed the URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner is rather austere and “shy”, as only a small curved band is visible (however with the time perfectly visible), once the protective cover opened, the watch reveals a technical, cold and metallic environment – where the entire carrousel with the satellite complication is visible. The UR-105 CT Streamliner is available in two versions, both very URWERK: a full-grey titanium and mirror-polished steel version, only enlightened by one or two red accents, and a titanium and black PVD coated steel model with the usual bright yellow accents all around the dial.
The inspiration for the URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner is about New-York City… Why that? Well, in fact, it goes back to the early years of the brand. In March 1997, Martin Frei graduated from the College of Arts and Design in Lucerne (Switzerland), and moved to New York where he joined other Swiss artists in founding the United Swiss Artists (USA) association. Felix was still at that time in Geneva… but not for much longer. While the young company was struggling, Felix took a plane to New York to join his friend. Felix Baumgartner was 22, Martin slightly older. Together in the city of their dreams they wandered the streets, taking in the images of New York, its redbrick houses, its Art Deco skyscrapers and gleaming subway. These pictures filled their minds and would never leave them.
These images are now brought back in the real world with the URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner, whose design echoes with the Art-Deco style, often seen in NYC architecture. Its unique shape is a remarkable octagon with deep grooves along its length. The Art Deco influences are apparent in its geometric angularity and symmetry. A minimalist design with few frills and clean lines, just like the Empire State, the Chrysler and the Comcast buildings.
Inside too, the watch has been drastically redesigned compared to the earliest versions of the 105… The carrousel is now fully opened, the base-plate is lighter and more aerial. Also, the UR-105 CT Streamliner sees the addition of a digital second on the left of the time display, and a power reserve sits on the opposite side – two features that were absent from the standard UR-105. The digital seconds are remarkable in that they indicate tens of seconds. The mechanism was made using a photolithographic process, with each marker openworked to make it as light as possible. It thus weighs less than a tenth of a gram.
Elsewhere, the base movement remains the same, with its wandering hours running over a 60-minute scale, and the signature automatic winding with two pneumatic turbines on the back to govern the selfwinding rate, which can be set with a lever. In the FULL position, the slightest movement of the wrist is harnessed to rewind the barrel spring. Turn the lever to STOP to disengage the selfwinding system and wind up the UR-105 using the crown. An intermediate position, RED (for reduced) engages the turbines to dampen the winding rotor and avoid overstressing the mainspring, if you are particularly active.
The URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner is in perfect continuity with the recent evolution of the brand, and it is a nice, two-face watch in the usual style of the brand. Austere on one side, complex and avangardiste on the other… Price is CHF 65,000 (before taxes) for both versions. More details on www.urwerk.com.
Technical Specifications – URWERK UR-105 CT Streamliner
- Case: Width 39.5mm; length: 53mm; thickness: 17.3mm – titanium and steel, polished or PVD coated – sapphire crystal and protective cover – 30m water resistant
- Movement: UR 5.03, with in-house module on top – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 48H power reserve – selfwinding system governed by twin turbines – Wandering hours; minutes, digital seconds, Power reserve
- Strap: leather or textile, on pin-buckle
- Price: CHF 65,000 (before taxes)