Without a shadow of a doubt, this URWERK collection has been anticipated more than any other. Contrary to popular belief, it is neither the most complicated nor the only one of its kind. However, this one marks the official beginning of the journey. A round URWERK watch that doesn’t require any manipulation on your part, instead relying on the smooth movement of an hour unit along a semicircular track.
The 102 collection, introduced in 1997 at Baselworld, shows no signs of having aged. The UR-102 “reloaded” has been updated to fit modern standards and is now available in a boxed set with two colour options: titanium and the trademark URWERK black.
“The UR-102 is more than just a symbol”, says Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker and co-founder of URWERK. “It represents my entry into the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). It embodies the first collaboration with Martin Frei, our first steps into the world of fine watchmaking, our first dreams of independence.
The UR-102 has been “reloaded” and is once again in production at the URWERK workshops. This timepiece has strengthened and expanded in size over the course of twenty years. Its previous diameter was only 38 mm, but now it measures a respectable 41 mm. Even though it’s smaller than it used to be, it still has the same eye-catching appeal. Its crown has been relocated to 4 o’clock, where it blends seamlessly into the case.
Above all, this model set itself apart by its clean-cut design and innovation: “Right the very beginning, we had the deep and intimate conviction that focusing on the wandering hour was our path. In my sketchbook, I started to draft a few designs. These served as a basis for our work. We were more than just enthusiastic, we were euphoric”, he recalls. “For this UR-102, our concept featured a time indicator that looked like a celestial body. It picked up the vibe of Sputnik, the first man-made artificial satellite. The satellite trajectory of our hours pointer followed a semi-circle from minute 0 (ascension) to minute 30 (the firmament) and disappeared at minute 60 (descent). Like Sputnik, the ‘body’ of our UR-102 was made of a shiny metal offering a mirror-like reflection of any bodies that might cross its path”, says Martin Frei, artistic director and co-founder of URWERK.
Its larger lugs are reminiscent of the ones used to attach the Sputnik space satellite; they are solid and angular, and they are made to place the “machine” in the most comfortable position on the wrist. New data appears on the dial alongside a new design for the hour and minute hands. That’s why the “reloaded” version of UR-102 represents a revolution in all its subtlety.
The “reloaded” UR-102 still has the same reflective power and primary features as the original. The UR-102’s 26-year gestation period corresponds to URWERK’s 23,500,000,000-kilometer solar orbit.
“We redesigned and shifted the crown slightly. The migration of the crown led to a change in the opening for reading the time. No longer a perfect semi-circle, this ‘window’ is wider with sloping edges, giving it a fresher, more dynamic look”, adds Martin Frei.
Priced at CHF 56000 and the “Titanium” and “Black” versions of the “reloaded” UR-102 packaged together in a boxed set that is part of a 25-piece limited edition, what a way to make a move to ‘back to the future’.