The big news in the watch world this past week was the official unveiling of URWERK’s latest timepiece, the UR-105M, codename: The Knight.
The launch of the new UR-105M is significant for a number of reasons, not least of which is its entry level price point. Not since URWERK retired its now legendary UR-103 collection has the brand been so accessible, and not surprisingly, people love it.
In large part I think the excitement can be attributed to the fact that unlike so many other entry-level collections we see the UR-105M still offers quite a lot of bang for your buck in terms of complexity and finishing.
Plus it’s absolutely unmistakable on the wrist. You’re not wearing something that looks remotely like one of the brand’s more expensive models, you’re wearing an awe-inspiring, futuristic looking URWERK that will turn heads no matter where you go.
The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, the distinctive looking titanium case, the design of which according to URWERK has been inspired by the knights in shining armor of the Middle Ages, is superbly machined, offering a level of detail and finishing that simply demands attention.
From front on it looks like a shield, which was no accident says Martin Frei, URWERK’s co-founder and Artistic Director:
“The case of UR-105M was developed as an armor. The visible screws on the bezel not only bring a distinctive aesthetic 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.”
It’s a very cool concept and one that I believe has been executed extremely well with the UR-105M. Even just looking at the pictures you can tell It’s the kind of watch that you want to touch, to hold up at different angles and examine closely, running your fingers along the side to appreciate all the little details.
It’s Still Complicated
The second major draw-card is of course the satellite time-display. In many ways similar to the original UR-103, the UR-105M uses rotating discs and a fixed 60-minute scale to indicate the time in a clear and concise manner. Unlike the UR-103 however this new model is far more subdued, with the focus more on the specific time display than the complex mechanism itself.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this somehow makes it less impressive technically however. In fact it is the exact opposite thanks to the inclusion of the circular PEEK (PolyEtherEthercetone) canopy over the top of the satellite complication. Whilst the openings enhances the current hour making it even easier to read the time, this canopy has to rotate precisely in time with the movement to ensure accuracy is maintained.
Felix Baumgartner URWERK co-founder and master watchmaker re-enforces the importance of this point, saying:
“…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 of its excellent mechanical properties and chemical resistance.”
Like everything URWERK does, there is always a technical reason not just an aesthetic one. In this same vein another of my favorite touches is seconds indication. If you look closely at the bottom right-hand of the dial you will notice that a small honeycomb seconds disk indicates the passing of each 10 seconds.
Don’t worry about strainging your eyes though, as this indicator is actually synchronized to another seconds indicator situated on the side of the case and is joined by a power reserve indicator shown through a second aperture. It’s a small touch perhaps but an extremely impressive one from a technical point of view, adding kust that little bit extra innovation you wouldn’t normally expect to find in an “entry-level” watch.
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.
All in all the new UR-105M is a very solid offering from URWERK and it is not hard to see why this watch is generating so much positive buzz. There are two versions available, the Iron Knight with a titanium case and steel bezel, and the Dark Knight, also with a titanium case but with an AlTin treated steel bezel.
Pricing for the Iron Knight is 57’000 CHF (approx. US$64,500), whilst the Dark Knight will run you 63’000 CHF (approx. US$71,500).
For more information about the new UR-105M collection please visit the official URWERK website.
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