Hands-on with the brand new URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold
With URWERK, you know the deal: super-bold, super-cool, super-technical… Well, we can’t hide our love for the brand here. URWERK is part of the indy watchmakers, meaning small structures full of creativity and with almost no limits. No marketing brainstorms, no year-long debates about the feasibility of a piece or a display… If these guys thinks the product is legitimate, they do it. Of course, this can sometimes lead to quite weird watches, but in the end, watches from URWERK are never cold. And that’s not about to change with this brand new URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold.
Reminder about the UR-105
The URWERK UR-105 isn’t a new watch. Indeed, it has been introduced in 2014, in a manual-wound edition, the UR-105M, with a dual intention. First, as simpler than the previous UR-202 or UR-210, it could be seen as the “entry-level” offer of the brand. Don’t be scared, this watch retains all the DNA of the brand and should not be seen as a poor-man’s URWERK at all. Then, considering its display and the more reasonable size of the case, I felt somehow the old UR-103 in it, a certain simplicity in the design, in the display and in the proportions, all together mixed with the more angular design of the last 5 years.
The UR-105M was all about URWERK: hours indicated by revolving satellites, minutes indicated on a semi-circular track, pointed by the hour index, a complex mechanism on top, a dashboard on the back to control the vital informations about the watch… All of that was encased in titanium (UR-105M Iron Knight) or black-coated titanium (UR-105M Dark Knight). In terms of design, the “baby URWERK” (with all due respect) was in the vein of the UR-210, however much easier on the wrist, due to reasonable dimensions. A bold watch that can almost be worn on a daily basis.
The UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange
Later, in 2015, came the second version, the UR-105 TA (turbine automatique) with same design (almost), same display with satellites but entirely different base movement, as the watch was now automatic, and featuring the brand’s signature turbines on the back, which can control the speed of the winding rotor. This watch (when laucnhed) was available in 4 editions: black, gold bezel and black, black and orange and finally, black and yellow.
Later again, URWERK made some variations around the UR-105 concept. The first one was the quite unexpected, very strange looking but clearly achieved UR-105 T-Rex, with its guilloche bronze bezel and a rather small opening on the front, just to reveal the indications and not the entire movement (again, something reminiscent from the UR-103). This year, at Baselworld, URWERK came with the latest edition, the Clockwork Orange, which, as you guessed, featured some orange accents on the indications, combined with a titanium case and black coated bezel. And a new edition is about to come…
The URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold
Don’t be surprised if this new edition, the URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold, looks familiar to you. It actually represents the union of two existing models: the gold bezel version and the T-Rex version. On one side, we have the case, display, color codes of the gold 105 and, on the other side, we have the same kind of pattern than the T-Rex applied on the bezel (almost the same, not entirely though). Familiar it is, but not void of interest. We know that collectors who own URWERK watches are not shy in wearing an extremely bold piece. That’s exactly what they are looking for – and we do perfectly understand them. Thus, without being timid, the gold 105 was probably a bit plain. On the other hand, the T-Rex edition, with its patinated bronze bezel, was probably not made for all. Here, with the URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold, we have the best of both worlds.
With the URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold, the brand wants to focus on multiple sense. Of course, vision… The pattern applied on the red gold bezel is definitely an eye-catcher. Not only it gives a great texture to the case but it also perfectly integrates with the guilloche pattern applied on the structure holding the 4 satellites. However, this pattern, which derives from the hobnail motif “Clou de Paris”, is not only a visual pleasure. It also brings a sensation often forgotten in watchmaking: touch. We can tell you that, after wearing this watch, you immediately start to touch it and, actually, you can’t really stop doing so. URWERk has become sensual… And even feels somehow historical, with this pattern that refers to antique watches. You see, the brand is not just about bold and modern watchmaking.
Once strapped on the wrist, you discover a watch that is not that difficult to wear, and which feels incredibly comfortable. First of all, the dimensions might be large (53mm high x 39.5mm wide), do consider it as a small watch for URWERK. Then, the way the strap is attached to the case makes it smaller than expected and perfectly balanced on the wrist. Another thing to consider is the titanium case (central container and caseback), which helps to make this watch lighter. Of course, the red gold bezel is heavier than the rest, but we can’t blame it. It remains a pleasant watch to wear, even on a daily-basis. After the comfort, there’s the look. Don’t look too much at the pattern in close-up photos. Once worn and seen in the middle of an attire, the URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold becomes much more subtle and in fact extremely elegant.
Inside the case, we still find the signature display of the brand, with wandering hours. The carousel, which carries the hours in groups of three on four satellite discs, is hidden. It silently and unerringly brings the right hour to the right place at the right time. 4 satellites rotate on their own axis and on a central axis, in a way that, when arriving on the lower side of the watch, the right hour is displayed, and travels on a 60 minute track, thus indicating the perfect time. Hard to explain, but very easy to use. The movement here is an automatic base calibre with an in-house module on top to drive the carousel and the satellites.
The back of the URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold reveals another signature element of the brand: the dashboard or control panel. It is composed of 2 distinct elements, closely linked however. The first one is a lever that can go on 3 positions (full, reduced, stop) and two turbines. While activating the lever, these turbine will use aerodynamic properties to actually slow or stop the move of the rotor, thus making this watch working on full automatic, reduced automatic (in case of strong activity) or in manual mode, to avoid excessive tension in the mainspring.
The URWERK UR-105 Raging Gold will be a limited edition of 22 pieces and should be priced around 70,000 Swiss Francs (before taxes). More details to see on www.urwerk.com.