“We don’t try to bring out new versions of existing complicated mechanisms,” explains watchmaker Felix Baumgartner, co-founder of URWERK. “Our watches are unique because they are all designed as original works, which makes them rare and priceless. Our main aim is to go beyond the traditional horizons of watchmaking.” The original styling of each URWERK model is signed by chief designer Martin Frei, the company’s other co-founder. “I come from a background where creativeness has no limits. I am in no way prisoner of the traditional constraints of watchmaking, and I can therefore be freely inspired by my cultural heritage.”
Although URWERK is a young company established in 1997, it is recognised as one of the forerunners of the new wave known as nouvelle horlogerie. Producing just 150 watches a year, the company sees itself as a craftsman’s studio where traditional expertise coexists with avant-garde styling. The company manufactures modern and complex watches that are unprecedented and in keeping with the most demanding criteria of fine watchmaking: independent design and research, advanced materials and handcrafted finishes.
The name URWERK comes from the ancient city of Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, founded nearly 6,000 years ago where the Sumerian inhabitants first established units of time based on the shadows cast by its monuments. Ur in the German language also means primeval or original and Werk means an achievement or a mechanism. Thus URWERK can be translated as an original movement — a tribute to generations of watchmakers whose work has resulted in what we know today as haute horlogerie, or superlative watchmaking