urwerk - Urwerk UR- T8
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
urwerk - Urwerk UR- T8

Urwerk UR- T8

urwerk
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114'000 €

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

Parce que l’on n’a pas tous les jours 20 ans

URWERK celebrates its 20th birthday in 2017 in style. No fireworks, candles nor even congratulations but instead another opportunity to step out of the ordinary, to swim against the current and to amaze. 

URWERK, the independent watchmaking company, today presents the UR-T8. It’s not only a new timepiece but an URWERK that could again transform our concept of the wristwatch.

The UR-T8, which marks the 20th anniversary of the brand, is URWERK’s first transformable watch. A series of precise actions unlocks the case from its cradle, flips it over and returns it with a satisfying click to protect the time beneath a titanium shield.  

It then becomes a mystery object on your wrist. From its shape and its intriguing, highly textured pattern, it is impossible to guess that it is, or even could be, a wristwatch. 

Squeeze again the two buttons on the side of the case to release it, lift it vertically, rotate it 180° about its axis and click it back into its cradle to return to the present time.

There you discover a new version of URWERK’s trademark wandering-hour indication — the most intuitive way of telling the time.  The 12 hours in groups of four on a three-armed carousel successively sweep across the scale of 60 minutes to show the time both digitally and analogically. It is the biggest and most elaborate carousel configuration yet applied by URWERK, with each arm supporting a satellite carousel bearing the four hour numerals. A complex planetary gearing transforms a tangle of wheels, screws and jewel bearings into a meticulously orchestrated ballet.

Another technical feature unique to URWERK is the pneumatic control of the selfwinding system. A gilded spinning vane connected to the winding rotor absorbs any sudden and violent movements of the rotor without compromising its winding efficiency.

 

For URWERK’s designer and co-founder, Martin Frei, a wristwatch is an object that invites interaction, appealing to your visual as well as to your tactile senses. You don’t just wear your UR-T8, you engage with it. “Our UR-T8 of course recalls the Reverso watches, we have deconstructed the concept to create a genuine URWERK model. The UR-T8 features all the characteristics that we have made our own: the huge crown, the organically shaped sapphire-crystal glass, the textured case that invites your touch, a strong personality and a recognisable visual signature.”

URWERK’s convention-defying time indication and mechanical elegance are the result of painstaking efforts by the company’s chief watchmaker, Felix Baumgartner. “Our UR-T8 is a milestone in the story of URWERK. Our first 20 years were dominated by the wandering hour; the rest of the story has yet to be written for there are so many areas we have still to explore. It’s now the time to turn a page and we want to do it with style. “

Felix and Martin founded the company in 1997. Together they have developed an original vision of time, creating wristwatches that are revolutionary in both design and engineering.

The UR-T8, an exemplary expression of that vision, is available in an initial series of 60 watches in natural titanium or with a black PVD coating.

 

Technical specifications

Technical Specifications UR-T8

Movement

Calibre: Selfwinding UR 8.01

Balance: Monometallic 

 

Frequency: 28,800v/h, 4Hz

Balance spring: Flat

Power: Single barrel 

Power reserve: 50 hours

Winding system:  Uni-directional rotor connected to a spinning vane

Finish:   Brushed, circular grained and diamond-cuts 

 

Indications

Satellite complication with rotating hours modules mounted on planetary gears

 

Case

Flip-over case in Grade 5 titanium 

Dimensions: 60.23mm X 48.35mm X 20.02mm

Water resistance: 3 ATM

 

 

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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