Numbers can be reassuring in a world of change and upheaval. One constant and finite number is the speed of light, a numerical value used to measure distances with extraordinary precision. Urwerk‘s latest take on the UR-100V gravitates around the speed of light, or, rather, the time it takes the Sun’s rays to reach eight planets. Naturally, travelling at the speed of light requires an exceptional vessel, and the hull of the UR-100V bears markings to indicate the planet and the time taken to receive the first rays of sunlight. Still providing us with earthly hours and minutes via revolving satellites, the new UR-100V LightSpeed gives us a clearer picture of our relationship to other planets in the cosmos and our vicinity to the Sun.
The first batch of UR-100 models proposed a journey through time and space by using the minute pointer on the hour satellites to show the Earth’s rotation and the Earth’s revolution around the Sun in a 20-minute time frame. Introduced in 2019, the astronomical indication of the UR-100 might not be the most useful reference for Earthlings, but it befits co-founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner’s mission to introduce another dimension to time. Produced in high-tech materials with different names – SpaceTime, Electrum, Full Titanium Jacket, Ultraviolet, Magic T – the new UR-100V LightSpeed unites Time, Space and Light in one watch.
The UR-100V LightSpeed revolves around the constant speed of light captured numerically at 299,792.458 km/s and symbolically by the letter “c”. According to Martin Frei, the UR-100V LightSpeed is like wearing a “piece of the universe on your wrist” with a planetarium featuring eight celestial bodies and the time taken for a ray of the Sun’s light to reach each planet. For example, it takes the Sun’s rays 8.3 minutes to reach Earth and 4.1 hours to hit Neptune.
Unlike the distances reported in the earlier editions, these comparisons give us a much clearer vision of our position in the cosmos. Replacing the former indications posted at 10 and 2 o’clock, the UR-100V LightSpeed inscribes the names of the eight planets and the time taken for the Sun’s rays to reach them.
A new openworked domed black structure hovering above the wandering hours mechanism relays this information on two levels using green indications for the time and white for the planet. Printed on the peripheral disc are Mercury 3.2 min, Venus 6 min, Mars 12.6 min, Jupiter 43.2 min, Saturn 79.3 min, Earth 8.3 min, Uranus 159.6 min and Neptune 4.1 Hours.
Far from being a static indication of the different timings, there is another novelty. The small blue and green hand you can see popping up in the openworked areas of the new domed structure advances to indicate the different planets. To perform this task, the hand is attached to one of the three carrousel arms and completes a full turn around the dial in three hours. Once it has reached Saturn at 3 o’clock, it dips under the minutes track and resurfaces at Uranus at 9 o’clock.
True to the displays found on other Urwerk models, the hours are indicated on three revolving satellites fitted with a red arrow-tipped minutes hand that travels along a 120-degree arched track graduated from 0 to 60. For enhanced legibility, the hours and minutes are treated with blue emission Super-LumiNova.
The case is faithful to the design of earlier models with its screw-down crown at noon but flaunts new dimensions and an increased water-resistance of 50 metres. Measuring 43mm across, the length of the watch is 51.63mm and the thickness is 14.5mm. The case is made of 54-layer ThinPly black carbon with a slightly mottled, matte effect, and the caseback is DLC-treated titanium with a sandblasted and shotblasted finish. In deference to the starring role of the Sun, the rotor is star shaped.
The back of the watch reveals the automatic calibre 12.02. The full star-shaped rotor on the reverse side is drilled and governed by a profiled airscrew known as the Windfänger, a device used to minimise shocks and reduce wear and tear. The carrousel and triple baseplates are elaborated in ARCAP, an alloy that does not contain iron and is not magnetic. The automatic base movement, made with Vaucher, has a frequency of 28,800vph and a power reserve of 48 hours.
The Urwerk UR-100V LightSpeed comes with a red textured rubber strap and folding clasp. The price is CHF 65,000 (excl. tax). For more information, please consult urwerk.com.