At the crossroad of technical advancement, watchmaking development and space-time inspiration, the UR-120 is a new stage in the constant mutation of the URWERK species.
This UR-120 furthers the codes of the UR-110 collection and reshapes its concept. Martin Frei, co-founder and Artistic Director of the brand, goes back up on the ring for a new challenge, 11 years after the UR-110 won the Design Watch Prize at the 2011 GPHG. «I just loved the 110, but there were so many other ways to go about it, to keep it evolving…That’s what a designer’s mind is like.
I just loved the 110, but there were so many other ways to go about it, to keep it evolving…That’s what a designer’s mind is like.Martin Frei, co-founder and Artistic Director Urwerk
The process is never-ending.» And so Martin Frei went back to the drawing board. «The idea was to go in a thinner, smoother, more elegant direction. To do that, we redesigned the entire satellite system. The watchmakers now made each satellite of two sub-elements to make it thinner, easier to read and to give it unprecedented fluidity.»
Urwerk UR-120 was born 16.5 million light-years from Earth
This new satellite display of the UR-120 was born 16.5 million light-years from Earth, in the Beta Quadrant. That’s where the original inspiration for its display, a V-shaped open hand, is customary: in Mr. Spock’s civilization, on Vulcan. It relies on rotating satellites which split open so they can spin, each on their own axis.
This unprecedented innovation allows for a substantial gain in thickness. It translates into a unique volume. At 44 mm long, 47 mm wide and 15.8 mm thick, the UR-120 case stands out with its perfect sense of ergonomics. Maximum height is reached in the middle of the sapphire glass, at the apex of a gentle curve. The upper part of the case is totally smooth, without a single screw or notch, offering perfectly fluid lines.
The satellite splits open, revealing two rectangular studs. They take on a V shape, thus recreating the Vulcan salute that ultimately gave the UR-120 its name. Once separated, both studs spin on their own axis and shut, all in order to display the new hour unit. There is a triple revolution taking place under the hood of this spacecraft: the satellite-bearing carousel spins on a central axis, each satellite counter-spins in order to remain upright and therefore readable and each stud spins on its own axis.
The other aspects of the display remain typical of the original URWERK species: the satellite carousel moves along the minute track sector, located at the right hand side of the case. The side shown by the satellite and its position on that scale tell the hour and the minute.
Driving Force: Calibre UR-20.01
The latest celestial object in URWERK’s constellation relies on splitting satellites. Inside calibre UR-20.01, the central carousel is fitted with three arms, each one bearing a satellite. All four sides of said satellite bears an hour marker. When it exits the minute track and reaches the left part of the case, it actuates a trigger that commands the changing of the satellite face. The latter then shows its true nature with an unprecedented kinematic sequence
The first edition
UR-120’s first series takes on an almost entirely gray form. Baumgartner and Frei made the upper-case part, the bezel, of finely sandblasted steel. They made the lower part of sandblasted titanium and opens up a new design era. A small window offers a direct view on the Windfänger, the star-shaped component which regulates the automatic winding intensity. In the center, a large medallion harbors two types of finishing: deep grooves all over and at 9 o’clock, a plaque bearing the URWERK monogram.
Enterprise’s warp engines
The crown is crafted out of steel and the strap is also gray. That monochromatic continuum is interspersed with golden shards. All Maltese crosses and lyre-shaped springs are 24ct-glod PVD treated, which underlines the technical aspects of this timepiece. Not unlike the Bussard ramjets at the front of the Enterprise’s warp engines.
Nick and Kristian discussed Urwerk’s latest creation in their DailyWatch Talks Podcast #151. You can listen to it here: