URWERK has added a new open-satellite design to its collection of unorthodox timekeepers, the UR-120 AKA Spock.
URWERK’s existing ‘satellite’ time displays feature rotating carousels of three arms, each tipped with four rotating hour numerals. Only one arm is ‘active’ at any one time, tracking against a 60-minute scale to display hour and minute, before the next arm moves into position to take over.
The UR-120’s new ‘open satellite’ system instead sees each arm tipped with two rotating cubes that display a numeral when side-by-side. When not being used for timekeeping the inactive displays separate, rotate on their own axis and then reform to change the numeral displayed before again being called upon to display the time. The whole movement is said to resemble the Vulcan salute from Star Trek, hence the Spock moniker.
“When we realized we were going to have to open the satellite, I was over the moon,” says Felix Baumgartner, URWERK’s co-founder and master watchmaker. “Our biggest challenge has always been to manage forces. At the exact moment of the salute, a lyre-shaped spring opens and then closes the satellite. Managing energy then and there is complex and very subtle. We need to manage the opening and the stud rotation. We ended up manufacturing the spring ourselves, in-house, because we had to go through so many trials while defining its geometry and thickness.”
TheUR-120 follows the now discontinued UR-110 and “furthers the codes” of that watch.
“The idea was to go in a thinner, smoother, more elegant direction,” Martin Frei, co-founder and URWERK’s Artistic Director. “To do that, we redesigned the entire satellite system. Each satellite is now made of two sub-elements to make it thinner, easier to read and to give it unprecedented fluidity.”
The watch – presented here in sandblasted steel – measures 44mm by 47mm with a depth of 15.8mm, while the case is constructed of interlocking upper and lower components, something Frei stated was inspired by the work of Gerald Genta, and articulated, spring-loaded lugs.