Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood

New materials on planet Urwerk

In 2015, Urwerk reinterprets two of its iconic models by using new materials: steel for the strap of the UR-210 and precious wood for the bezel of the UR-110.

By Marco Cattaneo

With its satellites that indicate the hours and its improbable complications, Urwerk is a UFO in the world of Haute Horlogerie, and a particularly weird one for that matter. Indeed, it lands for regular periods of time on the opera stage of the “Grand Théâtre de Genève”, during the “Grand Prix d’Horlogerie”. It was precisely there where, on 31 October 2014, its EMC model was rewarded with two prizes: mechanical exception and innovation.

Steel strap and new contrasts

However, early in 2015 the brand is paying tribute to other models. Urwerk has produced 35 copies of the UR-210 on a steel strap that was tailor-made to adapt to the piece’s peculiar case. This is the fourth version of the piece that was launched in 2012. This year, it features a crown guard that ensures the strap and the case are perfectly assembled. In this new version, Urwerk sought to simplify the time display as much as possible by working on the contrasts of color and materials.

URWERK UR-210S URWERK UR-210S with steel strap

The black DLC-treated titanium hand contrasts dramatically with the steel minute-track, the metallic grey of the satellites and the circular-grained plate. The latter can be seen through the components, which offer a three-dimensional view. The retrograde hand presents a very seductive movement, jumping to the next satellite every 60 minutes.

URWERK UR-110 Estwook Red ebony URWERK UR-110 Estwook Red ebony

The watch still features superluminova but in a different color. The hand’s beak is red and, more astonishingly, the numerals with satellites are black. We can obviously not expect them to deliver great performance but that was not the desired effect. Felix Baumgartner, co-founder of the brand, explains: “Its brightness is next to nil but what I was interested in was the texture the superluminova provided”. This version of the UR-210 still features the power reserve indicator at 1 o’clock and the winding efficiency indicator at 11 o’clock. This is an original function which indicates whether the watch has gained or lost energy in the previous two hours according to its wearer’s movements. Then, depending on the result, one can choose to increase the resistance of the oscillating mass with the regulator on the piece’s back.

URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Macassar Ebony URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Macassar Ebony

Tweed and precious wood for a last hurrah

Urwerk deliberately limits its annual production to 150 pieces and sometimes even less. With only 17 employees and driven by the constant desire to explore new territories, it renews its collection quickly, each model being produced only for a few years. The longest-lasting production was that of the UR-103 which went on for seven years. As for the UR-110 that was released in 2011, it will be reinterpreted for the last time this year in a version decorated in wood and will be called “UR-110 Eastwood”.

URWERK UR-110 Eastwood Red Ebony URWERK UR-110 Eastwood's strap is signed Timothy Everest

The piece’s bezel, cut in precious wood, and its tweed strap make it a true aesthetic revolution. In fact, the strap is signed Timothy Everest, the London-based celebrity tailor who dressed Elton John and designed Tom Cruise’s suits in Mission: Impossible. Each of the ten watches produced – five in Macassar Ebony and five in red ebony, also known as “red ivory” – will be delivered with a set of three straps. Two of them will be in predominantly brown or green Prince of Wales tweed and the third one will be in a fabric derived from Kevlar, a material which had already been used for the UR-210 Y.

URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Macassar Ebony URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Macassar Ebony caseback

We might be surprised to find that Urwerk has used a wood it had never worked with before, especially for a cambered bezel with such a specific outline as that of the UR-110’s. “It was a beautiful challenge that was thought to be impossible to overcome. But “impossible” just means more appealing, so we took up the challenge”, explained Martin Frei, co-founder of the brand. Felix Baumgartner also highlights that wood, being a noble and living material, manages to “arouse emotion rather than only insisting on technical performance at all cost”. In the future, he sees the satellites arousing emotion and pieces like the EMC deeply rooted in technicality.

URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Red Ebony URWERK UR-110 Eastwook Red Ebony

Photo courtesy: Amr Sindi from The Horophile - Swiss based watch blog

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