URWERK UR-111C Two-Tone (Live Pics)
Meet the latest version of URWERK's spaceship time-display instrument.
URWERK is known for several signature elements, the first being its bold, futuristic design language. The second has to do with the truly unusual, not to say unique way to display the time, thanks to wandering hours and satellites – a concept introduced on the brand’s first watches. Sometimes though, the two men behind URWERK, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei stray beyond their unconventional comfort zone with a line named “Special Projects” that doesn’t rely on wandering hour indications. Still super-bold, still unusual, still very URWERK. This gave birth to the UR-111C collection and today we have the latest version of this watch, the UR-111C Two-Tone.
Alternative ways of displaying time via satellite hours on board futuristic vessels are URWERK’s signature. So when the brand introduced the UR-111C back in 2018, it came as a surprise. No more satellites, no more rotating displays with retrograde indications… The UR-111C watches come without the signature satellite hour complication. Still, it doesn’t come out of the blue and pays tribute to one of the brand’s most striking watches, the former King Cobra model. Presenting time in multiple formats (linear and digital) located in different portholes on the case, the other surprising feature of this watch is the new interface. Dispensing with a conventional crown, Urwerk has incorporated a novel roller in the centre of the case with an extractable lever to set the time.
The URWERK UR-111C was presented in 2018 in two versions, one in brushed and polished steel, the other in matte gunmetal-coated steel. It was followed by an even more striking version in black with red accents, the UR-111C Black Cobra – a favourite of Robert Downey Jr. Today, the brand adds a new 25-piece limited edition to its growing collection, with the new UR-111C Two-Tone – but don’t expect two-tone in the 1980s way, mixing steel and polished, shiny gold. After all, it’s URWERK we’re talking about here.
This new version is a visual update of the already existing models with new colours and finishes. The case of this UR-111C Two-Tone plays on its architectural design to mix colours. The central part of the case is executed in brushed stainless steel with polished accents and grooves. So is the central part of the caseback, entirely polished and, again, textured. The sides of this two-tone watch are executed in matte black PVD-coated stainless steel. And the watch is worn on a black fabric strap.
Other than that, we’re looking at the same impressive construction and design, with three portholes on the front of the watch. Like a driver’s watch, the display of the UR-111C is designed to let you consult the time without having to lift your hands off the steering wheel or flight controls. Jumping hours are read on the left side of the dashboard thanks to a rotating cone that performs a brisk jump on the hour.
Occupying most of the allotted space in the central window is the linear representation of minutes placed along a diagonal track and read by a rotating helix with a thick yellow marker. The barrel with the minute markers is fixed and has a diagonal slash in its middle to reveal the position of the slanted yellow marker and indicate the minutes. Behind the minute barrel is another, larger barrel. Thanks to the coiled spring, the drum with the yellow marker twists its way up the minute track and, upon reaching the red 60-minute marker, performs a larger, instantaneous jump back to zero forcing the hours to jump ahead. Finally, the cone on the right repeats the minute readings in a rotating display, providing the watch with two very different formats to consult the minutes.
But that’s not all, as there are more things happening with this URWERK UR-111C Two-Tone. On top sits a seconds indication, composed of two separate wheels with odd and even numbers. The fun thing here is the way the digits seem to push up against the glass. Instead of a conventional Cyclops lens, Urwerk has performed a world-first in watchmaking by using optical fibres (an image conduit) positioned 1/10th of a millimetre above the numerals to create the illusion of proximity, while in reality the numbers are ensconced far below.
And then comes the way you interact with the watch. No classical crown here, but instead two special features. First is a roller on top of the case to wind the movement. Adjusting the time is done by the same roller when the small lever to the right side of the case is released.
The movement of the URWERK UR-111C is composed of a classic automatic base with 48h power reserve and a 4Hz (28,800vph) frequency. On top is a complex module that is developed and assembled internally by URWERK.
Price and availability
The new URWERK UR-111C Two-Tone is a limited edition of 25 pieces. It will be priced at CHF 130,000 (excl. taxes). More details at urwerk.com.
Although these gentlemen are obviously highly successful and creative. I personally do not like their designs. Which is just a personal opinion not a criticism. I would be really impressed if these creations were about one half their current size. They now appear to be unwearable in most daily scenarios. I encourage them to keep creating just at a “normal” size.