With URWERK presentation box and certificate.
URWERK was born from a meeting in 1995 between two brothers, both gifted watchmakers, Felix and Thomas Baumgartner, and their friend, a talented artist, Martin Frei. These young men were united by their common fascination with measuring and portraying time. A long discussion, sharing of philosophies and dreams, culminated in a decision to create their own vision of time.
Martin Frei sketched and honed the design of the timepieces while the Baumgartners spent the next two years developing the technical aspects of the movement and complication. Inspired by the 17th century Campanus Night clock created for Alexandre XII, the team aimed to distill timekeeping to its very essence, to calm the perception of time by removing all extraneous indications and distractions.
The URWERK 201, nicknamed "Hammerhead", is the result of three long years of research, experimentation, prototyping and testing by a five-man team in Geneva. The model was presented in 2007 and took the world of contemporary haute horlogerie by storm, not only with its unique design and complication but also its impressive technical prowess.
Time on the UR-201 is displayed using telescopic minute hands operating through the middle of three orbiting and revolving hour satellites. The hands precisely adjust their length to follow the three vector minute scale. There are four hours on each of the three satellites: 1/4/7/10, 2/5/8/11 and 3/6/9/12. As the new hour moves to the start of the minute chapter, its hand extends to indicate the minutes. As the hour passes, the other two satellites slowly rotate in turn to take the centre stage.
The orientation of the hour satellites and frontal time indication are in keeping with URWERK's tradition of crafting timepieces which are easy to read without having to turn the wrist. The shape of the hour satellites - angular truncated pyramids rather than square faced cubes ensures that the time can be clearly and instinctively read side-on as well as from above.
The patented Carousel is the critical component of the revolving satellite complication. It is responsible for not only the rotation of the hour satellites but also the integral telescopic minute hands. This rotating central hub is an immensely complex part to manufacture due to the extreme precision and tight tolerances required. Many of the Carousel's intricacies have to be machined and finished to tolerances of 1/1000 mm.
After the Carousel and satellites are milled, they are micro-sandblasted, carefully finished with fine cashmere brush, treated with a sophisticated PE-CVD treatment called "Blaktop" which hardens, colours and lowers the coefficient of friction. The back of the Carousel is satiné, a process which leaves a distinctive light matte finish without removing material. The 90° edges of the satellites are bevelled using a diamanté process resulting in perfect mirror finished angles.
There has been no detail spared in maximising both efficiency and readability of the hour satellites. Rather than being set perfectly perpendicular to the horizontal, they are slightly inclined at 85° so that the wearer does not have to tilt the wrist to read the time. While technically it may have been easier to have the satellites rotate to the next hour in one step, URWERK has designed the complication so that they rotate over three stages ensuring a more constant use of power.
The Transporters - one for each minute hand, allow the telescoping hands to precisely adjust its length to follow the vector of the minute marker. One end of the transporter follows a cam simulating the path of the three minute indication vectors, while the other controls the length of the minute hand. The cam's shape was designed by plotting 380 points of reference to ensure precision in the length of the telescoping minute hands.
Each transporter has a thickness of 0.895 mm. plus the lubricating surface treatment is 0.005 mm., thus making the total thickness of the transporter 0.900 mm. The dimension of the place in Carousel where the transporters work is 0.905 mm. A tolerance of just 0.005 mm.!
Hidden under the wings between the satellites, the transporters undergo a special MOVIC surface lubrication treatment so that lubricating oils are not necessary. MOVIC is just one of many treatments and/or process that URWERK developed for use in the UR-201 resulting in practically no oil being necessary for the lubrication of the entire revolving satellite complication.
The Telescopic Minute Hands, when extended to their maximum length of 4.8 mm. enable the UR-201 to display the time on a large and easy-to-read dial. The minutes are shown over 3 straight line segments. When they are not passing across the minutes, the hands retract to their minimum length of 1.8 mm. allowing for a very wearable and comfortably sized case.
Inside each telescopic minute hand is a minuscule spring. The longer a spring is the more uniform its elasticity. As the overall length and diameter of the space for the spring is fixed, the only way to make it longer is to lower the filament's diameter. With the Harry Winston Opus V in 2005, URWERK had already pushed the limits of lowering the springs' diameters down to 100 microns (0.1 mm.) - the size of a human hair. In the UR-201, the size is down ever further to an incredible 70 microns. This technological advancement has led to a considerable increase in power and efficiency.
The Control Board on the back of the UR-201 was inspired by gauges of a sports car. Therefore, it is only fitting that the ingenious features and completely original indications reflect that influence.
The Oil Change Indicator informs the owner that a service is due after the years of operation when the dial changes from white to red. Powered directly from the winding of the crown, this indicator has no detrimental effect on either the timekeeping precision of the movement or the power reserve.
While Abraham-Louis Breguet was one of the first to provide a facility allowing his clients to adjust the fine regulation of his pocket watches, URWERK was the first to incorporate the Fine Tuning Screw into a wristwatch. This extremely useful function allows the user to easily and precisely regulate the timing of the watch (+/- 30 seconds per day) without compromising the water resistance of the watch.
The Linear 100 Year Plus Indicator is a completely new and original indication in a wristwatch. Inspired by the odometer of a car, the 100 Year Plus indicator keeps track of how many years the movement has been in operation. Powered directly from the winding of the crown, this linear gauge has no detrimental effect on either the timekeeping precision of the movement or the power reserve. The indicator advances every 6 years up until a maximum of 118 years.
Production of the UR-201 ceased in 2008 and was replaced by the UR-202 featuring an innovative new winding system regulated by compressing air utilising miniature turbines.
UR-201 was available in white gold, pink gold and platinum. Ten examples were made in PE-CVD platinum, like the present watch, as a limited edition codenamed "Black Shark".