urwerk - UR-110 Torpedo
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
urwerk - UR-110 Torpedo

UR-110 Torpedo

urwerk

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

The UR-110 is a watch with attitude. From the base of its unusual asymmetrical case to the three arrow-shaped "torpedoes" flying in formation with the mission of indicating the time, the UR-110 has serious attitude. Enveloped in a secure titanium case, planetary gearing keeps the three hour satellites in parallel formation as they take turns to indicate the time as they pass the 60-minute track. An "Oil Change" indicator alerts the user when it is time for a service; a “Day/Night” indicator helps keep track of changing time zones; and twin turbines on the back minimize wear in the automatic winding system. The UR-110 continues Urwerk's radical tradition of telling the time using orbiting satellite complications. In the UR-110, the time is always shown on the right side of the watch. The satellites follow a vertical line, graded from 0 to 60 minutes, in a downward motion. The ingenuity of this layout lies in allowing the wearer to view the time discreetly and elegantly without the need to pull a cuff or sleeve back. The colour of metals prevails on the dial, a colour given pride of place on the predominately titanium case. Turning the watch over, the titanium back encloses the innovative automatic winding system regulated by dual turbines.

Technical specifications

Case
  • Grade 5 titanium aLTIN  with bezel in 316L stainless steel
Dimensions
  • 47 mm x 51 mm x 16 mm
Caliber
  • UR 9.01
Functions
  • Hours, Minutes, Day & Night indicator, Oil Change Service Indicator
Dial
  • Satellite complication with rotating hour/minute modules mounted on planetary gears
Strap
  • Black alligator

Who's who

Laurent Picciotto has been a partner for many of the watches at Chronopassion right from the outset. And in some cases, he’s there even before the start. Urwerk is one of those instances, working as it does on the principle of subscription. In 2002, when the brother of one of the brand’s founders went to rue Saint Honoré, all he had in his pocket were drawings; all he had in his mind were projects, or even just visions. But these were enough to win over the owner of the premises. The idea involved of a new way of telling the time, satellites, and more besides. So did Urwerk’s founders have their heads in the clouds? “In appearance only,” says Laurent Picciotto. “Urwerk’s staff and its work are very discreet, but the roadmap is anything but approximate. It’s meticulous, professional work, perhaps somewhat on the fringes of our little watchmaking universe – but with a very clear vision of who they are and where they’re going.” The first Urwerk fulfilled all this promise: it imposed its style, a completely new movement and an all-new way of telling the time. The watch made its own mark amongst more familiar ranges of contemporary watches. However, the new features did not win everybody over right away: “When the first watch arrived in 2004, by subscription, we had to do a lot of evangelism,” admits Laurent Picciotto. In the end passion, pragmatism and this educational approach won the day – and the timepiece was a great success. Chronopassion quickly became established as the exclusive retailer for Urwerk in France. The store now accounts for a significant share of the brand’s worldwide sales. Some ten years after its launch, Urwerk is still cultivating its individuality. It remains faithful to its founding principles – displaying the time using satellites – but makes constant changes at regular intervals: “I’m still amazed by the brand’s ability to bounce back,” stresses Laurent Picciotto. That’s why Chronopassion’s boss has continued to work with Urwerk, offering every one of the models developed so far. Certain limited editions have been literally snapped up. The beginnings of a queue actually formed in rue Saint Honoré for these timepieces – or at least, enough people to be sure that demand would definitely outstrip the scarce supply. Laurent Picciotto believes this is due to “customers who suddenly rediscover the child inside themselves. There are some who have very traditional tastes but who really go to pieces when they see an Urwerk.” Is it rational to swear by the likes of Bréguet or Audemars-Piguet and then abruptly go overboard for the satellite craziness of Urwerk? Of course not. But then again, as playthings go an Urwerk is anything but rational.

Journalist : Olivier Müller (01/13)

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