This won’t be a surprise… Here, at Monochrome-Watches, we love URWERK. We love the design, we love the complications, we love the display and, also important, we love the people behind the brand. We’re always quite excited when URWERK launches a new watch, and this year, we decided together with the brand to give you an exclusive sneak preview of the watch that will be revealed at Baselworld 2016: the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange. Why here? Look at it, it’s Orange (you’ll understand later). And in addition, we’ll explain in details how this complicated watch is manufactured.
Coming back to the question “Why here?” – Monochrome-Watches has been founded in 2006 (yes, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year) by Frank Geelen, our Executive Editor and respected watch expert, and he’s Dutch. Since he’s from The Netherlands, he has something special with the colour orange, because it is the national colour (all Dutch sporters wear orange shirts when playing in international competitions.) The reason for this is that the family name of the Royal family is Oranje-Nassau (the house of Oranje-Nassau) and the “Oranje” part of the name translates to “Orange” in English. The good people at URWERK were also aware of this and suggested we could give you an exclusive preview of their latest creation, the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange.
Overview of the new URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange
The URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange is based on an existing watch, the UR-105 TA, which we already introduced to you in 2015 in 4 editions (a full black one with yellow indexes, a black and gold one, a Black Lemon and a Black Orange). It’s also the watch that is used as a base for the somehow outrageous T-Rex edition, with an engraved bronze bezel, introduced just a few weeks ago, at the SIHH 2016. This watch, was and still is the reasonable offer of the brand, a watch a bit more simple than the UR-210 or the UR-110, but at the same time a sort of back to basics, with a display reminiscent of the iconic UR-103, mixed with the recent design codes of the brand. It still relies on the satellite hour complication but in a slightly more accessible price range. And as we said, we don’t see it as an entry level but clearly as the essence of what the brand is.
What characterises the URWERK UR-105 TA is its specific display that created the success of the brand for almost 20 years: the satellite complication. No hands, no jumping discs, no retrograde gauge… URWERK has something unique in its display. 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. In the mean time, a next satellite has arrived next to the arched minute track and will be indicating time for the next hour.
Important facts: every URWERK is a masterpiece of ultra light materials, with ultra smooth surfaces. Like every mechanical watch, every URWERK has a main spring that holds all energy that will be steadily released by the escapement. This makes the hands turn in a precisely adjusted speed so they indicate the time correctly. Normal hands are MUCH lighter than the satellite complication with rotating disks, numbers, crosses or whatever URWERK uses to indicate time with. You could say that this is the “invisible” complication that comes along with every URWERK.
Creating a different way to tell time, isn’t as easy as one might think. Since all parts involved are much more heavy than 2 or 3 normal hands, these materials must be as light as possible, and when they move the friction with parts they touch must be as minimal as possible. That’s why it’s no surprise that URWERK does a lot of research on materials and smooth surfaces.
Turning the piece over, the back of the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange reveals a classical feature of URWERK: the turbines (something that can also be found on the UR-210 or the UR-202). For URWERK timepieces this means that the movement is automatic and that it features the typical URWERK 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 life-style, 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 the rotor completely (the watch runs on power reserve, until the main spring is ’empty’.)
The Calibre 5.02 UR is a modern movement that ticks at 28.800 vph / 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).
What’s new on this “Clockwork Orange” edition of the URWERK UR-105 TA (don’t you think it is a cool name…)? Basically, it is a visual update. First, you’ll easily notice the orange accents on the dial. In contrast with the older Black Orange edition (which was very orange, maybe too orange?), now the bright accents are only applied on the minute track and the numerals, creating a nice contrast with the black case and the black guilloche cage over the satellites. These orange accents are also applied on the grills next to the air turbines, on the caseback.
Another evolution concerns the case. Once again, no question about it, it is a proper URWERK and comes in the same dimensions as previous UR-105 editions (width: 39.50mm; length: 53mm; height: 16.80 mm). However, while the previous black edition with yellow indexes featured an entirely black case, this URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange is a two-tone watch, sporting a black PVD coated stainless steel bezel and matte titanium (non-coated) case and caseback. As usual, despite the relatively impressive dimensions, and a design far from being shy, it remains an easy watch on the wrist, extremely light and comfortable. And even as URWERK’s entry-level, it is 100% URWERK.
Price: not officially revealed but expect it to be around CHF 60,000 Swiss Francs.
Making of: how the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange is manufactured
It might be difficult to properly understand how an unusual watch, like this URWERK, is manufactured. We’re going to show you how. This is also important in relation to understanding the a price for such a watch and why it takes so much time to develop and manufacture a movement able to display the time in the way the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange does. The UR-105 is complicated, and its movement requires many parts that all need to be perfectly finished and adjusted to have a smooth and regular functioning – and everything is adjusted and finished by hand!
The conception, design and assembly of URWERK watches is all done in-house, by a small team of watchmakers. And so are the cases and the finishing of the parts. In order to understand what is behind the creation of the URWERK UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange, we complied this video for you…