Our first encounter with the Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat model was in October 2021, a signature creation of extreme mechanical complexity and sleek design forged for the brand’s Special Projects collection. Equipped with jumping digital time displays, the streamlined black and grey titanium case of the first reference leans on design cues of the mythical Bugatti Atlantique. Today marks the launch of the Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat Odyssey, a second model bristling with curved, grooved, sculpted and flat steel and titanium surfaces with alternating matte sandblasted and gleaming polished finishings.
Described by the brand as a “wrist spacecraft,” the references to science fiction movies abound. Its gleaming surfaces are compared to Padme Amidala’s J-Type 327 from Star Wars; its grooved hull to the spaceship in Battlestar Galactica, and its large, eye-like windows to Archie, the Owlship from Watchmen.
Besides its formidable technicality, the mission of the new UR-112 Aggregat Odyssey is to showcase its top-quality finishings. The dimensions of the case – 42mm width x 51mm length x 16mm thickness – are identical to the earlier edition but crafted in steel and titanium. The upper part of the case, the grooved steel cover that opens vertically to reveal the digital seconds and the power reserve indicator, is mirror-polished on top with a bead-blasted edge. The central titanium body is treated to satin-brushed, sand-blasted and bead-blasted surfaces giving the watch a slightly grainy surface and more texture. As co-founder and head designer Martin Frei explains: “Like the pencil strokes that draw and refine the outlines of the watch on paper, the traces of machining on the titanium and steel render its creative process visible. It then takes all the magic and mastery of the craftsman’s hand to transcript this emotion in the finished product, which is bead-blasted, satin-brushed and polished. In the case of the UR-112, this was a particularly long and trying process, a real odyssey, which enabled us to convert the strength of the raw material into the refinement of the finished product.”
The Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat belongs to the brand’s Special Project line and marks a departure from some of the brand’s signature features. Replacing the brand’s famous wandering hours, the UR-112 displays jumping hours and minutes placed on prisms. The digital hour and minute indications are housed in two cylindrical sapphire crystal containers separated by the central seam, a position reminiscent of driver’s watches. Each indication relies on triangular-shaped prisms that move in sharp, precise jumps, almost like old airport split-flap (Solari) displays (without truncating the numerals). All the hour numerals and the minutes, which advance in 5-minute intervals, are engraved on the satin-brushed aluminium prisms and filled with Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark. However, since the minutes advance in five-minute increments, there is an additional trailing indicator to point to the precise minutes.
By pressing the two pushes on the sides of the case, the top cover pops up to reveal the power reserve indicator on the left – the only analogue display on the Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat – and the small seconds etched on a silicon disc that advances under a magnifying lens framed by a bright red anodised aluminium bridge.
To transmit the power required for the jumping hours, minutes and seconds, the UR-112 Aggregat relies on a long, thin rod known as a cardan shaft, spanning horizontally across the central area between the seconds and power reserve gauge. Although it is hidden by the seam, the transmission shaft has double gearing – one at each end – and transmits all the energy required through a complex set of cogs and gears.
Calibre UR-13.01 is an automatic movement with a Swiss lever-type escapement, a 4Hz/28,800vph frequency and a 48h power reserve for the jumping digital hours, minutes, trailing digital minutes, digital seconds and power reserve indicator. Like all Urwerk’s movements, the finishings are top-notch with circular graining, Côtes de Genève and polished screw heads.