Urwerk's impressive new UR-111C, a descendant of the 2009 Urwerk King Cobra, once again artfully converts the timekeeping results of an unusual horizontal movement into a fascinating series of vertical time displays.
This deceptively light 42mm by 46mm steel watch comfortably occupies the wrist (with its gently curved caseback) as if transported from the future. Considering how many new inventions Urwerk founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have built into this UR-111C, I won’t totally rule out their exploitation of time travel.
First there’s a reworking of Urwerk’s emphasis on digital display, veering away from the satellite systems we’ve seen in recent releases.
Here, new linear minute and hour projections are both creative and practical. You’ll find the minutes displayed twice. Minutes can be seen on a truncated cone within a sapphire glass at the right side of the case (for optimal viewing while driving) as well as along the front of the dial, where they progress in a linear and retrograde fashion, jumping back to zero at the start of each hour. To the left, within another truncated cone, you’ll find the hours rotating.
The seconds display is also entirely new, representing a world premiere, according to Urwerk. This consists of a sapphire window that projects the digital seconds (in five-second increments) through a cluster of fiber optic tubes. As two rotating discs rotate below, within the movement, the seconds indications on those discs are projected directly through this fiber optic pathway to the window one-tenth of a millimeter above them, at the top of the case.
Indulge me if I consider this optic path a sort of time travel.
Baumgartner and Frei’s inventive minds also devised an unusual winding and setting mechanism. Instead of a conventional crown, the pair has made a thumb-sized roller situated at the top of the case, fluted for an easy grip. Turning it winds the mainspring via an impossibly complex series of gears.
Need to set the time? Why just swing that lever from the right side of the case and turn the roller in either direction.
The case represents yet another innovation, allowing the movement to be slid into place from the side during construction.
The UR-111C is yet another exquisite, awe-inspiring example of how, over an industry leading twenty-one-year run, Urwerk has consistently pushed forward the technical and aesthetic boundaries of high-end watchmaking.
Urwerk is offering the UR-111C with a polished steel case and a steel case with a matte gunmetal finish. Only twenty-five of each will be made.
SPECIFICATIONS: Urwerk UR-111C
Caliber: self-winding, with stop seconds, 48-hour power reserve, anodized aluminum cylinder; LIGA-processed nickel second wheels, finished with circular graining, sanding, côtes de Genève, polished screw heads.
Jumping hours, retrograde linear minutes, digital minutes, digital seconds via fiber optic display.
42mm x length 46mm x 15mm steel, sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 30 meters.