Indie brand Urwerk is doing their bit to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The avant-garde watchmaker is auctioning one watch from its new limited edition UR-100 Gold Edition series in aid of organizations that are fighting the pandemic.
Remember the UR-100 Space Time? First unveiled in 2019, the time was a hat tip to the early days of Urwerk (the reference number precedes the first Urwerks UR-101/102). However, while this timepiece reference some design elements from the early Urwerks, the UR-100 was an entirely new timepiece that debuted two astronomical complications that appear for the very first time on a wristwatch.
The watch was presented it titanium and steel versions last year. The latest UR-100’s octagonal case is carved out of a solid block on 2N yellow gold. The surfaces are satin-finished and a domed sapphire crystal dome reminiscent of the shape of early Urwerk models tops the yellow gold case. Urwerk’s PR spiel suggests that yellow gold color scheme of the watch is inspired by the Star Wars droid C3PO. The case is 41 mm wide; 49.7 mm long and 14 mm thick and is water-resistant up to 30 meters.
The UR-100 has Urwerk’s recognizable orbital hour satellite display, the bulky case cover that would typically hide the watch’s relay-display system. The central axis of the watch maintains a three-arm carousel system made of lightweight aluminum. Each of the three arms hosts its own angular pyramid structure (made of beryllium bronze) that hosts four hour markers, with each hosting every third hour, given the rotational frequency of the display. While the carousel is partially open-worked, aluminum bridges block the numerals not in use.
At the end of each arm, three identical, red-tipped hands traverse the entirety of the dial over the carousel’s full, three-hour rotation, indicating a different complication each hour. The lower portion of the dial houses the minutes display, while the hours are placed directly above the specific hand indicating the minutes via the aforementioned orbital hour. After 60 minutes have gone by, the hand displaying the time disappears (immediately replaced by the hand at its rear), and passes beneath and between subsidiary dials, reappearing to display one of two astronomical complications.
The first celestial complication, located between the traditional 9 and 11 o’clock positions, showcases the distance in kilometers traveled by the wearer on Earth at any given moment. On average, the Earth rotates at a rate of 555 km every 20 minutes, this display highlights that fact. On the opposite side of the watch face, near the traditional 2 o’clock position, the final hand indicates the distance the Earth has traveled in its orbit around the sun – a journey spanning some 35,740 km every 20 minutes.
The watch is powered by Urwerk’s Caliber 12.01, a base Zenith Elite movement that has been completely reworked by Felix Baumgartner and his team. The three baseplates that make up the tiered construction of Caliber 12.01 are made of ARCAP, an alloy that Urwerk has incorporated into its timepieces for years. It has a power reserve of 48 hours.
The movement is winding system visible via the caseback. While the self-winding rotor might not like too out of the ordinary, it is actually a flat/planetary turbine system that minimizes over-winding and wear. This system is described by Urwerk as a “Windfäng” — a Swiss-German word that effectively translates to “air trap.” In addition to the turbine system that prevents excessive rotation, there are a large number of holes placed around the rotor that reduces its overall mass.
While the watch is numbered limited edition of 25 pieces, the first watch of the series will be marked “Fight C-19” and will be auctioned off on the brand’s website. The auction will be held on May 8, 2020, at 4 pm (CET) and run over two days. According to the Urwerk, the brand and the winning bidder will jointly select the beneficiary organization.
The rest of the numbered editions (#2 onwards) will be priced at CHF58,000 (excluding tax).