Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The URWERK EMC with Technology from NASA’s Mars Rover

| By Frank Geelen | 3 min read |

Last May we already introduced URWERK’s new mechanical ‘smart’ watch called the Electro Mechanical Control or short EMC. The watch that will let you adjust your own watch to absolute precision. Allowing the wearer to adjust his own watch, isn’t new to URWERK. The legendary UR-103 already featured a small adjustment screw on the case back. However the new EMC offers an indicator that will exactly tell you how precise your watch is running!

When we showed you the EMC for the first time, it looks like a kit that had to be put together. And that was exactly what it was. URWERK’s designer Martin Frei had to design the case, dial, hands, well, the entire watch. But also technically they had to reduce size on some of the elektro parts. That’s all ready now, so we finally get to see the new EMC in all its glory. No rotating satellites this time; normal hands to indicate the time AND the chronometric rates!


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Clockwise from the top right sub dial: small seconds, hours and minutes, an 80-hour power reserve indicator and the precision indicator ranging from -20 to + 20 seconds per day. Although there are electronics in the EMC and the name also supports that image, the EMC is actually a fully mechanical watch! The electronics only work after they are engaged and “only” tell you the deviation of absolute precision. With that information you can adjust the watch.

Why ECM?

Precision has been the holy grail in watchmaking since the very beginning. Abraham Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon to erase negative influences of gravity on a pocket watch’s escapement and later there have been many improvements on escapements in order to make them more precise. Actually most timepieces these days are already extremely precise and precision mainly relies on how good a watch was regulated.

Regulating a watch accurately when it is in the controlled environment of a workshop is one thing. Regulating it for the real world is something else. Of course you wear a watch on your wrist, but at night you maybe put it on the nightstand? How do you put it there? Laying on the case back or maybe on one side with the crown down? And when wearing, do you have a very active life or is the most intense action of your wrist to put your signature on a new contract?

These changes in position, temperature (on the wrist it’s warmer than on the nightstand), shocks, etc will affect isochronism (timing regularity) of a wristwatch. ECM enables the wearer to obtain information on the watch’s performance and to adjust it to the finest chronometric performance. EMC is the first precision mechanical watch that enables timing to be both easily monitored and easily adjusted by its owner.


Turn the EMC over and you get to see the fully in-house movement with the integrated circuit board – the EMC ‘brain’ –, the top of one of the two mainspring barrels near the crown and the top of the balance wheel and optical sensor on the winding handle side. The winding handle is used to powers a micro-generator made by the Swiss company Maxon, which is well known for developing motors for NASA’s Mars rovers! And that powers EMC’s monitoring unit (the optical sensor and the computer).

We explained how the entire unit works, in our previous article (click here). The price is still indicative, but should be roughly around $ 120,000 USD.

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