A watch shaped like no other… A display that indicates the time in a unique way… Complications that you won’t find anywhere else… URWERK’s latest creation, the UR-100, takes the unusual spaceship-looking watch and makes it even more unusual. After two inaugural editions in steel or in black-coated steel, followed by a GunMetal model, the brand unveils its fourth watch, a warmer and more luxurious edition. This is the URWERK UR-100 Gold Edition.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a spark shot out of the ether. Radio telescopes reveal that the shining golden object hurtling toward earth appears to be trying to communicate, emitting signals in six million languages. Could it be C-3PO, the protocol droid in the Star Wars saga? No, it is URWERK’s new yellow gold UR-100!” The first lines of the press release concerning the new UR-100 Gold specify the provenance of the watch, now in its fourth episode in the UR-100 intergalactic saga… It is May the Fourth, after all.
Unless you’re new to the independent watchmaking scene, you will be familiar with the name URWERK and its spaceship-inspired watches. As co-founder and designer Martin Frei, a self-confessed “sci-fi geek since childhood” explains, “science fiction has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration since the creation of URWERK.” And without surprise, the UR-100, the brand’s latest creation, is true to its origins.
What is this watch? The watches produced by Frei and Baumgartner are all fascinating time-telling objects, without a doubt. But they can also be relatively large, massive and disruptive – to the point of questioning if you can actually wear them. The UR-100 is a more reasonable timepiece – in URWERK standards – a watch that can be worn on a daily basis, by most enthusiasts. It is slim, at only 14mm in height (which is quite good considering the complex display) and its angular case is 41mm across, and below 50mm lug-to-lug. However, the brand makes no concessions to the way time is indicated.
Under an ultra-domed sapphire crystal hides a typically URWERK display. A combination of rotating satellites displays the hours and minutes and jumps back to zero in a sharp retrograde way – the satellite carries the current hour on a 120-degree arched track, graduated from 0 to 60, to indicate the minutes until the following hour occurs and the minute module jumps back to zero to be caught by the hour satellite. While surprising at first, this display is actually pretty easy to read and always faces the wearer.
The new UR-100 Gold Edition
The case of this new URWERK UR-100 Gold is cut from a solid block of 18k 2N yellow gold and its surface is satin finished to the same pale shine as the Star Wars droid C-3PO. The shape, viewed from the top of the watch, takes cues from Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon. And for the occasion of this new version, the elements of the dial are either black or gold coloured – matching the black-and-gold scheme of the case/strap.
In addition to the hours and minutes, the dial also includes two unusual complications placed on the left and right sides. These are astronomical indications: distance travelled on Earth (at 10 o’clock) and distance travelled by Earth (at 2 o’clock). Basically, it uses the speed of Earth at the equator or the Earth’s orbital speed around the Sun to display the distance travelled from these different perspectives in about 20 minutes. For instance, at the equator, the circumference of the Earth is 40,070 kilometres, and the day is 24-hours long so the speed is 1,670 kilometres/hour. That gives you the 555.55km travelled in about 20 minutes by the indicator at 10 o’clock. In a similar fashion, the indicator at 2 o’clock shows the distance Earth has travelled around the Sun, a journey spanning some 35,740 km every 20 minutes. Although they are not really useful, the indications are totally in line with the brand’s characteristic space-inspired designs. For more details on this, you can check out our video in the in-depth article here.
Speed Controls in space
Powering the watch is an automatic based movement (delivered by GP) with 4Hz frequency and a 48h power reserve – a movement used only for timekeeping. On top of it sits an in-house module for the complications. The back reveals another speciality of the brand, a speed-regulated automatic winding system. Thanks to the Windfänger’s regulation of the oscillating mass the planetary gear limits the speed of rotation of the rotor, minimizing both excessive winding and wear and maximizing reliability and lifespan.
Availability and Price
The URWERK UR-100 Gold Edition is a limited edition of 25 pieces, worn on a black alligator strap with an 18k gold pin buckle. It will be priced at CHF 58,000 (excl. taxes). More details at www.urwerk.com.