urwerk - The UR-110 "EastWood"  red ebony by URWERK
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
urwerk - The UR-110 "EastWood"  red ebony by URWERK

The UR-110 "EastWood" red ebony by URWERK

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Chef d'oeuvre limited to five pieces with this red ebony bezel

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

The UR-110 "EastWood" red ebony by URWERK

Precious wood, bespoke tweed strap, attractive mechanics: These elements have been united in the UR-110 “EastWood”. This ultimate recital of the UR-110, a.k.a. the "Torpedo", astonishes with a new, richly polished ebony bezel and modern take on tweed, blending cutting-edge technology with tailored flair and a vintage twist.        

 

“We aim to keep our total watch production to 150 pieces a year,” explains URWERK co-founder Felix Baumgartner. “However, maintaining this quota is difficult because, due to our limited resources, it forces us to stop manufacturing one model in order to concentrate our efforts on a new collection. For this final edition of the 110 collection our starting point was a bare watch, a stripped-down version of the 110 from which we created a new piece with a new character a radically different vision. To achieve the best result, we constantly ask ourselves one critical question: What is our ultimate desire? The EastWood was our answer. It is racy. It is incomparable. It is alluring.”       

 

“The thought process surrounding this final edition of the UR-110 and the creative decisions to be made often informed the discussions between Felix and myself,” continues URWERK co-founder Martin Frei. “For this last addition to the collection, we wanted something crazy. Sure, some people say that our designs are already eccentric enough but we still decided to take it one step further. Wood. Now here is a material that is at once noble and beautiful yet something we had never worked with before. Carving a rounded bezel out of ebony, one of the hardest, densest timbers on the planet would prove a great challenge. But to master that carving and have it marry perfectly with the precise construction of the UR-110 would be a near impossible feat. However, there is nothing more appealing than the thought of conquering the impossible: We were ready to dive in.”        

 

 It was Timothy Everest who added the final touch to the EastWood. This Welshman is the quintessential bespoke tailor for some of the world’s most celebrated people.        

 

“Martin Frei visited me on one of his travels to London and while here, he unveiled the designs for a new piece that the URWERK team had been diligently developing – the EastWood,” says Everest. “It has been nearly five years since I began collaborating with URWERK and I have come to discover that we have many things in common. We both share the same passion for tradition and craft but insert modernity into our work and always try to think one step ahead.               

 

“URWERK wanted a unique strap for their revamped UR-110, so we began discussing different tailoring methods and fabrics, eventually deciding that only the finest wool tweeds would do the trick. Known for its durability, tweed was the textile of choice for Britain’s upper class. Today, people continue to wear new and vintage checks, some handed down to them from family members dating from before World War II. One of the patterns URWERK has chosen to incorporate on its strap is the original Prince of Wales check worn by the Duke of Windsor. Contrary to popular belief, this tweed is actually brown and blue on ivory fabric but because of being seen mainly in newspapers, was generally thought to be black and white.”       

 

Having won the 2011 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève prize for Best Design Watch, the UR-110 is at the forefront of watchmaking excellence, continuing URWERK’s radical tradition of telling the time using orbiting satellite complications.         

 

In the UR-110 “EastWood”, the time is always shown on the right side of the watch. Three hour satellites follow a vertically arced line, graded from 0 to 60 minutes, in a downward motion. Planetary gearing keeps the satellites and their arrow-shaped “torpedoes” in parallel formation as they take turns to indicate the time as they pass the 60-minute track.          

 

This performance is made possible by means of an architecture featuring three levels of complexity:  

- A central carousel providing the complication with stability and equilibrium  - Planetary gearing assuring the parallel rotation of the three hour satellites as they orbit the dial  

 

- The three counter-rotating hour modules – each comprising an hour satellite, minute hand and counter balance – are each mounted on a planetary gear. These three modules are in constant counter-rotation to counter the direction of rotation of the central carousel.        

 

The UR-110’s technology can be appreciated through the large panoramic sapphire crystal. As well as indicating the hours and minutes, the UR-110 “EastWood” also features a Control Board on the dial side with indicators for “Day/Night” and "Oil Change" – URWERK's service interval display – as well as small seconds on a sub dial. Turning the watch over, the titanium back encloses the innovative automatic winding system regulated by dual turbines.

 

Technical specifications

Technical Specifications for the UR-110 “EastWood”

 

Case

Case in Grade 5 titanium with bezel made of precious wood 

5 pieces with fair trade, South African Red Ivory wood bezel

 

Dimensions: 47mm x 51mm x 16mm

Two-position crown (winding, time-setting) with integrated protection  

Strap: Tweed selected by tailor Timothy Everest

 

Indications 

Satellite complication with rotating hour/minute modules mounted on planetary gears 

Control Board: “Day/Night” indicator; “Oil Change” alerting service intervals and small seconds

 

Movement

Calibre: UR 9.01 mechanical, automatic winding 

Balance: Monometallic  

Frequency: 28,800v/h, 4Hz 

Jewels: 46 

Balance spring: Flat 

Power: Single barrel  

Power reserve: 39 hours 

Winding system:  Uni-directional rotor regulated by double turbines

Finishing: Matting, circular graining and diamond-cuts

 

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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