URWERK was established in 1997 with a single mission: to create watches of haute horlogerie that successfully fuse classical and contemporary aesthetics. The concept of “URWERK” was developed long before it was used in Switzerland, in the ancient Mesopotamian city of UR. In German, WERK means “to work,” “to construct,” “to evolve,” “to shape,” “to forge,” and “to provoke emotions.”
URWERK is one of the few high-end watchmakers to create really original timepieces that don’t adhere to any sort of standard template. In 1995, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei began talking about starting a company after coming up with the idea for a new product. The UR-101 and UR-102 were both introduced at Baselworld that same year; they were both inspired by science fiction and featured a roaming hour hand and a minute track that was half a circle. While straightforward by today’s brand standards, its design was a huge surprise twenty years ago. Felix and Martin’s ambition came true in 2003 when they released the UR-103.01, a watch whose design would set the tone for the rest of the decade for the company. Because of the company’s fresh take on the timepiece industry, the brand is highly sought after by collectors around the globe.