urwerk - UR-105M Dark Night
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
urwerk - UR-105M Dark Night

UR-105M Dark Night

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The URWERK UR-105M: An iron knight ready to conquer time

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

UR-105M Dark Knight

URWERK’s UR-105M is inspired by the Middle Ages, an era of lances, legends, chivalrous conduct and noble deeds. An era when knights in shining armor would risk their lives for honor and glory, with only their faith and shield for protection. The UR-105M embodies their gallant valor in a titanium and steel arena, the satellite hours conquering time in an eternal jousting tournament. 
All of URWERK's iconic codes are present in the UR-105M. Satellite hours gliding slowly along the minute scale, darkened over-sized crown at 12 o’clock and a subtle technical feel. 
The UR-105M features an impressive titanium body reinforced by steel armor. At the heart of its time display four satellites slowly orbit. Each of these satellites is visible during their 60-minute journey along the minute scale. A circular PEEK (PolyEtherEthercetone) canopy with openings enhances the current hour. Once the hour has elapsed, the satellite – guided by a Geneva cross – rotates and continues around its orbit for another three hours before returning to the center stage. Completing the indications, running seconds and power reserve are displayed laterally on the case band. 
At the back of the UR-105M, URWERK’s signature ‘Control Board’ houses additional displays and functions: an ‘Oil Change’ indicator alerting when it is time for a service; 42-hour power reserve indicator; plus the fine-tuning screw allowing adjustment of the rate. 
Martin Frei, URWERK’s co-founder and artistic director, explains: “The case of UR-105M was developed as an armor. The visible screws on the bezel not only bring a distinctive esthetic to the watch, but also tack the steel armor onto its titanium body. This shield protects the movement (the heart of the watch) from the outside world’s aggressions. For me, the parallel with the chivalrous imagery is obvious. You have the power of the bezel-armor generating a feeling of invincibility.” 
“With UR-105M, we’re not trying to show off, but rather ignite a calmer and mellower dimension,” adds Felix Baumgartner, URWERK’s co-founder and master watchmaker. “We offer an intuitive time display, with playfully ergonomic time setting. Technical challenge is at the heart of all our creations, and the performance here is subtle. 
“First of all, the aluminum and PEEK structure has to rotate with absolute chronometric precision. We needed the lightest materials to achieve a high level of precision and PEEK was ideal: The PEEK polymer is used in surgery because its excellent mechanical properties and chemical resistance. The other challenge accomplished by UR-105M is of another type entirely: A honeycomb seconds disk on the right side of the case underneath the minute dial indicates the passing of each 10 seconds. This indicator is synchronized to another seconds indicator situated on the side of the case.” 
The UR-105M is available in two versions: the ‘Iron Knight’ with a titanium case and steel bezel and the ‘Dark Knight’ with a titanium case and AITiN-treated steel bezel. 

Technical specifications

Caliber
  • UR 5.01 manual-winding mechanical movement 
  • Jewels:  38 
  • Frequency:  28,800v/h - 4Hz 
  • Power reserve:  42 hours 
  • Materials:  Satellite hours driven by bronze beryllium Geneva crosses 
  • Orbital structure in PEEK (PolyEtherEthercetone) 
  • Carrousel and three main plates in brass 
  • Digital skeletonized seconds display in nickel (LIGA process) 
  • Seconds indications and lateral power reserve in aluminum 
  • Surface finishes:  Perlage and bead-blasting 
  • Countersunk screw heads 
 
Indications 
  • Dial: Hours, minutes and 10 seconds 
  • Case band: Lateral seconds and power reserve indications 
  • Control board: ‘Oil Change’ and power reserve indications, timing adjustment screw 
Case 
  • UR-105M 'Iron Knight': titanium and steel bezel 
  • UR-105M ‘Dark Knight': titanium and AITin-treated steel bezel 
  • Dimensions:  39.50mm x 53mm x 16.65mm 
  • Crystal:  Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating 
  • Water resistance:  Pressure tested to 3ATM / 30m 
Surface finishes: 
  • - UR-105M ‘Iron Knight’: sand-blasted bezel; circular graining; and vertical graining 
  • - UR-105M ‘Dark Knight’: AITiN-treated with bead-blasted bezel 

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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