The Urwerk UR-220 Falcon Project (Live Pics & Price)
The UR-210 is dead, long live the UR-220!
A few months ago, URWERK announced the final edition of what’s probably its most emblematic watch, the UR-210. A true time-indicating UFO, the UR-210 is a compendium of everything Urwerk stands for. But there is no reason to be sad because the brand has secured its successor. And today, it is presented. With its hand-wound movement and control board on its back, it picks up on URWERK’s earlier technologies, with the signature satellite complication in a case that is sleeker, more ergonomic and as stunning as ever. And the back reveals yet another surprise. Meet the new URWERK UR-220 Falcon Project.
The new UR-220 is part of the UR-2xx series, which gathers some of the boldest, most complex, advanced, emblematic watches ever created by URWERK – and knowing the brand’s style, you know that classical isn’t part of their vocabulary. The series started with the UR-202, which introduced the concept of wandering hours with a satellite complication and telescopic indicators. The design was (and still is) highly futuristic.
It was followed by the UR-203, an evolution of the previous models with the same time-indicating module but with additional complications, such as the iconic Oil Change indicator and a Horological Odometer (to keep track of the total number of years of operation of the movement). Keep these two in mind, as they will be important for today’s topic.
The model that most watch enthusiasts might know is the UR-210, a watch that has been in the collection for many years and introduced in several editions, such as the impressive Full Metal Jacket or the surprising CP version. The common ground for these watches is the movement and its display module, with hour satellites rotating over a carousel and an oversized retrograde minutes hand “holding” the hour module. The reverse side reveals another URWERK speciality, the winding-efficiency indicator that is linked to a complex system on the back to modulate the turbine that frees or slows the automatic winding.
The new Urwerk UR-220 Falcon Project
This new model is instantly recognizable as part of the UR-2xx family. Still, compared to the UR-210, everything has changed. Although the UR-220 has adopted some of the features of its predecessor, the entire movement has been reconceived, redesigned and reworked. The additional functions are different, yet entirely in line with the brand’s history. Finally, the case is new.
While the overall shape of the watch, with its complex surfaces and elaborately shaped sapphire crystal, is visually identical to the predecessor, the UR-210, the new UR-220 comes in a new case with a material never used before by Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner. The case is made from carbon resulting in an extremely tough but featherweight case. It is composed of 81 ultra-thin layers of high-resistance 150g CTP carbon compressed into a hard resin. Thanks to a precise disposition of the layers, once the carbon block is machined, it reveals patterns that emphasise the curves of the case on top, as well as its linear structure on the sides.
The proportions have been reworked with a noticeably thinner case (14.8mm vs.17.8mm for the previous model) and an ergonomic caseback that follows the curvature of the wrist. The UR-220 is by no means a small watch (43.8mm width x 53.6mm length), but it has gained substantially in comfort.
The crown is still inserted into the case at 12 o’clock adding to the comfort of this large watch and the special attachment system for the strap provides great balance on the wrist. Complementing the bold and sculptural look of this Urwerk UR-220 Falcon Project is a new strap, the company’s first one in rubber. The strap is cured, moulded and textured by the Vulcarboné process which gives it a velvet-like touch. Many years of research into nano-textures were needed to create this effect. Then the strap is secured by a black DLC buckle and a Velcro fastening to ensure comfort and strength.
In another reference to the brand’s codes, the UR-220 combines dark grey/black and radioactive green, two signature colours.. still bold, still cool.
What hasn’t changed, however, is the iconic, patented satellite display. The wandering hours are indicated on three rotating cubes. In turn, they pick up the minutes pointer as they enter the 120° scale of 60 minutes. At the end of the hour, the minutes pointer leaps back to the start of the scale to be picked up by the next hour. To minimise the inertia of the retrograde minutes, each side of the pointer has been pierced to make it as light as possible.
Fans of URWERK will have spotted the other novelties of the UR-220 Falcon Project. While the UR-210 featured a power reserve and a winding-efficiency indicator, its successor gets rid of the latter (the reason why will be explained later) and instead endows the watch with a pair of power reserve indicators. The power reserve is displayed on two up/down gauges, each of 24 hours. When the movement is wound, the right-hand gauge reacts first. As soon as it shows 24 hours of power reserve, the left-hand gauge takes over. Splitting the power reserve indication turned out to be a complex task, requiring 83 mechanical parts.
This evolution of the display responds to an important factor: the UR-220 is fitted with a brand new hand-wound movement, which explains the thinner case and the removal of the winding-efficiency indicator. The Calibre UR-7.20, developed by URWERK, has 59 jewels and stores up to 48 hours of power reserve, with a 4Hz frequency.
And even though there are no turbines any longer on the back, something as emblematic makes its comeback, a complication that was once found on the UR-110 models and the UR-203: the signature Oil Change indicator. In the UR-220, the Oil Change indicator takes the shape of a numerical counter calibrated in months and shown on two adjacent rollers. The log of the movement’s running time is started by the owner of the watch who removes a security pin and presses the pusher on the back of the UR-220.
From then on, the counter displays the accumulated running time of the watch in months. When it reaches 39 months, it is time to take the watch in for a service and oil change. URWERK’s watchmakers will set the counter back to zero and replace the pin at the end of the service.
The Urwerk UR-220 Falcon Project will be priced at CHF 145,000 (excl. taxes). For more details, visit www.urwerk.com.
Isn’t it automatic? I’ve seen the what is seen as the peripheral rotor..
No, this one is hand-wound. See the “manual power” inscription on the caseback (and it’s also written in the specs, and explains the two power reserve indicators, and the lack of turbines on the back)
So much money for a watch on which you can’t even read the time in a normal manner.