The new URWERK UR-100 GunMetal is one hell of an astronomical watch trailing our journey into the solar system

The new URWERK UR-100 GunMetal is one hell of an astronomical watch trailing our journey into the solar system

There is no such thing as a typical watch when it comes to URWERK’s range of offerings. Sure they all have a very similar appeal within the brand’s portfolio, but take them in consideration with other watch brands out there, and they truly stand apart. The new 2020 watch release URWERK UR-100 GunMetal is no exception. It’s a bold and futuristic watch that has its design seeds sown in the brand’s SpaceTime models. 

Yet this coming of age model manages to start the genesis of an entirely new collection that is devoted to the concept of ‘sun’ and how the sun according to URWERK acts as our celestial clock and a point of reference. 

The Nostalgia Factor 

Collectors of the brand will notice that there’s a familiar look to the case of the UR-100 GunMetal. By taking into account the stylistic features of their first models and then deconstructing them, the new watch is sort of a tribute to URWICK’s UR-101 and UR-102.

“The steel dome of our early models is now in transparent sapphire crystal. The hard outlines of the titanium case highlight its perfection. Because I’m always at odds with the dictates of symmetry, I have used different proportions to catch the eye.”

Martin Frei, artist, chief designer and co-founder of URWERK
Courtesy © 2019 URWERK – All rights reserved

The Standout Feature

The notion behind the existence of this watch series — starting with the UR-100 GunMetal — is that humans orbit around the sun through time (at an average speed of 30 kilometres a second) and this watch is meant to depict that. 

A bit far-fetched concept in terms of watchmaking and perhaps chasing after fairies some traditionalists may say, but we would like to disagree.

Featuring a sleeker matte grey case, it is an astronomical wristwatch with a difference as explained below.

When the minute hand on the new URWERK UR-100 GunMetal has completed its 60-minute journey, it reappears on a 20-minute scale of 555 kilometres. 

This is the distance mankind would travel in 20 minutes standing on the equator of our rotating planet. The opposite scale tracks the journey through space around the sun: 35,740km every 20 minutes. 

“The way I see it, a watch is both a physical and conceptual representation of our position on the rotating Earth. It fixes us on an exact, but ephemeral, time and longitude.” 

Martin Frei, artist, chief designer and co-founder of URWERK
Courtesy © 2019 URWERK – All rights reserved

The Movement of the UR-100 GunMetal

The heart used — calibre 12.01 — is a mechanical movement with a bi-directional self-winding rotor that is governed by a profiled airscrew known as the Windfänger. 

The movement drives the carousel carrying the hours on three satellites that travel in succession along a 60-minute scale. Each is forged from anodised aluminium then sanded and shot-blasted. The satellite screws are each circular sanded. The satellites rest on a carousel of sanded brass plated in ruthenium. The structure on top of the hours display is in sanded and shot-blasted aluminium.

It is very similar to the UR-111C TT reviewed here beating at the same frequency of 4 Hz (28’800 V/h), featuring a water resistance of 30m (3 ATM) and the same 48 hours power reserve, though the number of jewels in this are 39, an increase of two compared to the UR-111C TT.

Courtesy © 2019 URWERK – All rights reserved

The Casing

All this is encased inside an overall bold watch made from titanium and stainless steel with a GunMetal PVD finish that measures in at: width 41mm x length 49.7mm x thickness 14mm. 

Visually appealing, the watch has contrasting surface finishes — circular graining and sanding (again like the UR-111C TT), chamfered screw heads, and hours / minutes painted in SuperLumiNova — and the dial is covered with a sapphire crystal but without anti-reflective coating.

The Dial

In the display on the UR-100 GunMetal, time and distance are on a par, with the hours and minutes being in vivid green, and the kilometres in bright white.

The ultra high-tech dial shows the following indications:

  1. Satellite hours and minutes 
  2. Rotational distance at the Equator in 20 minutes 
  3. Orbital distance in 20 minutes 
Courtesy © 2019 URWERK – All rights reserved

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It?

If you share the universal habit of looking skywards for guidance and like to have a futuristic looking time machine (not THE time machine) on your wrist, the new 2020 watch release UR-100 GunMetal is for you. 

The UR-100 GunMetal is a complicated wrist machine that symbolically trails our journey into the solar system. For an avid collector and a space buff, it would be hard to resist the appeal of this watch. Limited to only 25 pieces — and costing 48’000 CHF (without tax) — this new offering is both intriguing and mesmerising.

For more information on this watch and other URWERK watches, head to their website here.