You can call Urwerk watches by many names, but shy or conservative aren’t part of this vocabulary. Daring, bold, provocative, futuristic, unusual, these are perfect ways to describe these complex and avant-garde creations. Apart from the watches inspired by sci-fi and space exploration, one of the most striking models ever was the UR-105 T-Rex, a textured, patinated bronze reptile that, incidentally, also displays the time, in classic Urwerk style. This design is back, this time in the brand’s latest creation, with the new UR-100V T-Rex.
As said, bronze was used for the first time by Urwerk in 2016, with the UR-105 – back then, the simplest model in the collection. At first, the use of this metal, which somehow represents the past and antique objects, doesn’t really make sense in the context of ultra-modernism usually presented by Urwerk. But the brand likes to do things in a different way. Bronze isn’t used here to bring a vintage diver’s watch idea but to make an object with a more organic look, a more primal attraction, which is reinforced by the unusual texture of the case.
Now, in 2022, the brand introduces this same design concept on its new classic model, the UR-100V T-Rex. Presented in 2019, this watch is a sort of back to basics, the “essential” Urwerk with a focus mostly on its signature display. Since its debut in the 1990s, the independent brand created by Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner stands out with its radical, futuristic designs and its original way to portray time. The idea of wandering hours, like those on a sundial, is omnipresent. The stage was set from the very beginning with the creation of the UR101/102 displaying time on an arc. Then came the satellite time indication with a host of creative and complex iterations… satellites, cams, transporters, rotating cubes, telescopic hands, and retrograde indications. But with the UR-100, there was the intention to go back to the roots of the brand, with a display that echoed the first watches of Frei and Baumgartner.
The UR-100 features the emblematic satellite time display with orbital hour satellites. The red-tipped minute pointers on the hour satellites disappear after 60 minutes, later replaced by the next hour. Yet, the red tip reappears on another part of the dial, to display original astronomical indications: distance travelled on Earth (at 10 o’clock) and distance travelled by Earth (at 2 o’clock).
As explained in our article on the first models: “Basically, it uses the speed of Earth at the equator or the Earth’s orbital speed around the sun to display the distance travelled from these different perspectives in about 20 minutes. For instance, at the equator, the circumference of the Earth is 40,070 kilometres, and the day is 24-hours long so the speed is 1,670 kilometres/hour. That gives you the 555.55km travelled in about 20 minutes by the indicator at 10 o’clock. In a similar fashion, the indicator at 2 o’clock shows the distance Earth has travelled around the sun, a journey spanning some 35,740 km every 20 minutes. Naturally, these additional ‘space-time’ indications won’t be of any practical use in everyday life (at least to me) but it’s more an invitation to dream that matches URWERK’s space-age universe quite well.”
This year, the brand brings back the UR-100V T-Rex concept with this new Urwerk UR-100V model, which only differs in terms of colours and materials. The 41mm width x 49.7mm length case is made of bronze and PVD blackened titanium. The bronze has undergone three successive treatments. The first lies in the unusual composition of the alloy which results in a delicate patina. The bronze is then in the hands of a computer-controlled milling station that carves the pattern of scales on the top and sides of the case. The final processes, sand-blasting and Urwerk’s proprietary method of biochemical burnishing, give the watch its distinctive colour. Finally, these bevelled pyramids are truncated and polished to present a surface that is pleasing to the touch.
The display is here presented with a combination of dark colours – black background and bronze-coloured rotating elements – with bright yellow indications for maximum contrast. The watch is worn on a black alligator strap with bronze pin buckle.
The UR-100V T-Rex back of the watch reveals the movement, the automatic calibre 12.01. The drilled full rotor is regulated by a planetary flat turbine to minimise shocks to the rotor bearing and to reduce wear and tear. A traditional URWERK feature, the baseplates are in ARCAP, an alloy that does not contain iron and is not magnetic. The calibre 12.01 beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and its power reserve is 48 hours.