Last year, URWERK introduced a new watch that could be regarded as their entry level watch, a (slightly) simpler edition of their crazy creations. URWERK is known to design watches like no one else, with a unique design, a groundbreaking way to indicate time with satellites and this futuristic, nearly robotic look. When the URWERK UR-105 was launched as the value-proposition, we could have been ‘shocked’. However, the result was far from being shy, and shared all the typical attributes of URWERK. For 2015, here is a new edition with automatic movement, the URWERK UR-105 TA a.k.a. URWERK Knight.
In our daily job of watch journalists, when a creative brand or an independent manufacture with timepieces that we’re craving for, that we applaud for their creativity or that are coming with unique sense of design or unique complications is announcing a value-proposition, something more reasonable and accessible, we’re always scared and skeptical. Why? The explanation is simple. Imagine Ferrari or Lamborghini creating a 4-door sedan car with a diesel engine. That would be a betrayal of the main purpose of such brands. Passion and dreams are emerging from inaccessibility, from non-rationality. If everyone could afford such a car, where would be the envy? Comparing independent watchmakers to such car brands is not so silly, as their business is ruled by consumers with the same behavior (and mostly, they are the same people). So when brands like MB&F or URWERK are announcing something reasonable – like for instance the LM 101 from MB&F – that’s always a risky bet, as aficionado could see it as a betrayal of the main reason why they love the brand.
Concerning MB&F, the result was far from disappointing. So is the result with URWERK and its UR-105. Of course, this watch is not as exclusive and bold as the King Cobra, the Torpedo Eastwood or the UR-210S Full Metal Jacket. These are the limited V12 supercars. The UR-105 is more like the Ferrari California – something easier, more accessible to new-comers and to non-aficionados but that keeps the DNA, the passion and the spirit alive. The UR-105 shares the same satellite complication, the same dashboard on the caseback, the same design and the same boldness but in a smaller, easier, less hard-to-wear-on-a-daily-basis concept. With the URWERK UR-105 TA, the idea goes even further in practicality, as it now boasts an automatic movement – plus new cool colours combinations.
The new URWERK UR-105 TA Automatic a.k.a. URWERK Knight
The new URWERK UR-105 TA Automatic is visually very close from the (now) classical UR-105. The evolutions are mainly technical ones, except for a few finish updates. We found a perfect mix between a URWERK UR-103 for the display – 4 hour satellites that evolves on 360 degrees and that are pointing the minutes on an horizontal track – and a UR-210 for the overall shape of the case – a sort of angular shield that fully covers the watch. There are 4 editions of this watch (the previous UR-105 manual winding was available in steel or black PVD only):
- All Black – black PVD titanium case, black PVD steel bezel together with bright yellow indexes on a black background
- RG – black PVD titanium case, red gold bezel with circular brushed finish together with white indexes on a black background
- Black Lemon – titanium case non-coated, black PVD steel bezel, bright yellow minute track and satellites with black inscriptions
- Black Orange – titanium case non-coated, black PVD steel bezel, bright orange minute track and satellites with black inscriptions
Talking about aesthetic evolutions, we can also notice a new guilloché finish on the black satellite cover, made in PEEK (polyetheretherketone). Previously featuring concentric circles, this part now comes with a superb geometric pattern. Concerning the visual aspects, it’s only (and fortunately) small updates. New colours, new materials, new combinations and new finishes but no main changes. However, there’s more to see under the hood – or the shield in that case.
Technical updates on the URWERK UR-105 TA
Before talking of the changes, let’s go back on what it still in place on the new URWERK UR-105 TA. As said, even if this timepiece is an entry-level for URWERK, it keeps the DNA and spirit of the brand alive, mainly because to comes with what created the success of the brand for almost 20 years (already…): the satellite complication. No hands, no jumping discs, no retrograde gauge… URWERK has something unique in its display. To understand, let’s say that the hour satellite disk orbits along the arched minute track. Once the hour has elapsed, the satellite – guided by a Geneva cross – rotates and continues around its orbit for another three hours before returning to the center stage.
What changes is the base of the movement. Turning the piece over to the back of the watch, you’ll see that a classical feature of URWERK – the dashboard – had been replaced by another classical feature – the turbines (something that can be found on the UR-210 or the UR-202). From URWERK, that means that the movement is automatic and that it features the typical winding selector. Based on two air-turbines, you can select 3 positions for the rotor:
- Full (the rotor will be more reactive and provides a smooth winding when you’re not active)
- Reduced (while having a more active occupation, the air-turbines create resistance and aerodynamical frictions in order to slow down the rotor)
- Stop (if you plan to have a very vivid activity with your URWERK on the wrist, you can protect the movement and stop completely the rotor. The watch then runs on power reserve)
The Calibre 5.02 UR is a modern movement that ticks at 28.800bph / 4 Hz and that boasts 48 hours of power reserve. It is, as usual with the brand, not visible from the case back but be sure that it’s very well finished (with perlage, bead-blasting, satin-finishing and beveled screw heads).
On the wrist, once again, no question about it, it is a proper URWERK – in a more reasonable taste, at least concerning the dimensions (width: 39.50mm; length: 53mm; height: 16.80 mm). The choice of colors however is not shy but once again, it fits the spirit of the brand. Even if we do have a preference here for the Gold and All Black editions – easier to match and to wear on a daily basis – the orange and yellow versions are also very cool and in a way, expected by collectors. On the wrist, it is comfy, quite light and easy to wear. The ballet of the satellite is a slow complication but it remains impressive. This URWERK UR-105 (manual or automatic) might a value-proposition and a more practical watch, it is certainly 100% URWERK – and a superb watch again. More on Urwerk.com.
- UR-105 TA RG (red gold) – CHF 66.000
- UR-105 TA “All Black” – CHF 64.000
- UR-105 TA “Black Orange” – CHF 58.000
- UR-105 TA “Black Lemon” – CHF 58.000