SIHH 2016 – Hands-on with the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex, the bronze reptile (live photos & price)
Love it or hate it… Whatever you say about the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex, one thing is sure: it creates emotions and feelings. It’s bold, creative, unseen, and terribly outrageous but still, that’s the reason why here, at Monochrome-Watches (and we know that we’re not the only one), we love URWERK. We love the unusual display, we love the unexpected shapes and we love the mix of complex watchmaking and highly personal design. And here is our hands-on with the new iteration of the URWERK UR-105, the T-Rex with its bronze engraved bezel and very unusual look.
You probably all remember the very first editions of the URWERK UR-105, the manually wound ‘Iron Knight’ and ‘Dark Knight’, that we introduced to you in 2014. This was the first attempt of URWERK to go a bit in the lower range – just a bit, not too much, without losing the DNA of the brand. Then, in 2015, came a new edition that, without renewing the shield-like design, modified the entire base movement to become automatic: the URWERK UR-105 TA Automatic a.k.a. URWERK Knight. One thing in common between these two (and this is also the case with the rest of the URWERK production) was the very modern, almost industrial and robotic design. This year, the brand keeps the industrial look but not from a modern era, with something more steampunk and also more organic: the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex.
This new URWERK UR-105 T-Rex is based on the UR-105 TA (the automatic edition, the only one still in the actual catalogue, as the early manual 105M edition is now discontinued). No technical changes, just an update of the look – in fact an update of the bezel / shield that covers the top of the watch. Usually, URWERK watches are made of steel, titanium of black PVD coated metals (sometimes in gold too) – all grained or matte to reinforce the technical look. For the first time, the independent brand goes for Bronze and a choice of a very bold pattern. This simple change of material drastically changes the aspect of the UR-105.
First, the bezel is made of bronze, with this typical dark green tone. it’s not the first time that Urwerk plays with exotic materials – remember the uber-cool URWERK UR-110 EastWood, with bezels made of ebony or red ivory wood. In the case of the T-Rex, it’s again different and again unusual, totally strange. Furthermore, this bronze bezel is patinated to obtain a warmer colour with golden hues. Each model is treated as one-of-a-kind. It is decorated, bead-blasted, micro-sandblasted, purified and then oxidized with a brush. One thing to keep in mind is that bronze is a lively material, and thus not only is this watch a very limited edition of 22 pieces, but each of them, depending of the way collector’s will wear it, will gain a unique patina.
The style of the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex is also slightly different than the normal TA edition, with a bezel that covers almost entirely the top of the case – only the 60-minute track and the lower part of the satellites are still visible. To finish this bold design, the bezel is engraved with a pattern reminiscent of a reptilian skin – and the mix of this colour and pattern led to the name of T-Rex. The rest of the case is equal to the classical edition, with casebands and caseback made of black PVD coated titanium. Finally, the crown evolves too and shows a similar pattern as the case. Overall, it has to be said: the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex is kind of too-much, somehow outrageous and really, it won’t meet everyone’s tastes. Clearly, people love or hate it. However, after the first shock, there’s a certain subtlety in this watch, a new feeling once worn, more organic, less mechanical, which perfectly suits the concept of the brand.
Mechanically, the base used in the URWERK UR-105 T-Rex is the exact same as the TA edition, meaning an automatic movement (finished with circular graining and bead-blasting) but not visible, as the point is not in the base calibre but in what this movement drives; the satellite complication. Four satellites, each bearing three hour numerals, successively run over the 60-minute track. This specific display, unique to URWERK, is driven by a central carrousel then fitted with 4 Geneva cross that smoothly rotates to engage the right numeral, which will appear for the coming hour. As here the focus is clearly made on the bronze bezel and its reptilian pattern, the ballet of the satellites and the carrousel won’t be visible like in the normal TA edition. The caseback reveals the typically URWERK turbines that allow to regulate the winding of the watch (with 3 positions: Full, Reduced and Stop). Two turbines are acting like aerodynamic brakes to reduce the speed of the rotor and thus protecting the watch against excessive tension on the mainspring. Very classical to URWERK, very unusual for the rest of the industry…
The URWERK UR-105 T-Rex is actually a very interesting piece, a very pleasing surprise. The first view on this watch (on the press release and with press photos) was not enthusiastic for us. However, once on the wrist, it feels livelier. By just changing the look of the bezel, URWERK achieved to renew a watch highly mechanical into something more organic, with a steampunk approach that was absent of the recent URWERK production. Of course, it’s a watch that needs to be assumed. It won’t be a daily beater. We could totally understand that some will hate it but we’re certain that at least 22 collectors in the world will love this watch as much as we do. Price: 65,000 Swiss Francs before taxes. More details on www.urwerk.com.
Ps. Stay tuned as soon we’ll have a complete review of the URWERK UR-105 TA Turbine Automatic online on Monochrome-Watches.