Posted on

Urwerk UR-100V Time and Culture

URWERK is exploring the culture and perception of timekeeping through the ages with a new series based around its 100V.

The first watch in the UR-100V Time and Culture series is engraved with the motifs of the “Sun Stone” described as one of the “most emblematic works of Aztec art” which dates from 1479 and is housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.

The design depicts the Aztec Calendar, with the third circle representing the 20 days of the month, the fourth the 260 days of the year.

“This line is about history, cultures, our place beneath the stars, the research and observations that have been conducted around the world using the same sky above our heads as a source of knowledge. I am always fascinated to see that these unique observations, made thousands of kilometres away, have given birth to a universal language, that of time”, says URWERK co-founder Martin Frei. “We are therefore literally being treated to a journey through space-time. And to materialise such a journey, the UR-100V Time and Culture, combining indications expressed in minutes and kilometres, proved to be the ideal vehicle.”

The engraving is carried out using a milling cutter with a point measuring just 0.05mm, while the ridge lines of the motif are satin-brushed and the troughs are micro-sandblasted to highlight the relief of the engraving.

Singapore-based watch journalist Su Jia Xian, better known as SJX, approached URWERK with the idea for the series three years ago.

I always enjoyed history lessons at school, but most of the history taught in UK schools revolves around Britain. So, that’s the Romans and the Celts, the Saxons and the Norman Invasion, as well as the likes of Henry VIII. Of course, World War One and World War Two also received extensive coverage. The likes of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, the Aztecs, and the Mayans, however, were left entirely untouched. Thankfully I had my trusty Horrible Histories books to cover that part. Now that my beloved URWERK has introduced the new and fantastic UR-100V Time and Culture I, I’m feeling ready to dive into “The Angry Aztecs” all over again!

That’s right, the UR-100V Time and Culture I is inspired by Aztec culture. It is also supposedly partly based on an idea from our friends over at SJX Watches. SJX suggested adding an extra dimension to the UR-100 by closing the top just like the first edition of the UR-103. It is not, however, a collaboration with SJX.

Upon a recent visit to the new URWERK atelier in Geneva (in what is supposedly the oldest building in the city!), the brand told me more about the Time and Culture collection. But let’s start at the very beginning. As you may or may not know, the UR-100V received its inspiration from an old clock. In fact, the original concept of the satellite hours complication was inspired by an old clock too. Interestingly, these clocks now reside in the URWERK atelier, and URWERK co-founder Felix Baumgartner’s father, Geri, restored them both. So you can see there’s a solid sentimental connection here. The clock that inspired the UR-100V, however, doesn’t tell the time… I know, how weird! After some in-depth research, Geri Baumgartner worked it out. He established that the clock measures the distance traveled through space by someone standing on the equator.

I’m not going to try and explain the concept in too much depth. Honestly, it’s more complicated than my mind can handle. But, our friends at Quill & Pad have a rather excellent article that helps explain it in more detail, so I’d suggest checking that out right here.