Energy. We all need it and, much like our mechanical wrist companions, we all need ways to both generate and store it. It is for this very reason therefore that the relationship between man and mechanical watch is an inherently intimate one. After all, without the physical movements of their owners, these tiny mechanical marvels would be doomed to a completely inanimate existence.
In recognition and celebration of this special relationship, URWERK has created the UR-210, an incredibly intuitive timepiece that communicates with its owner in the most personalized way possible. In a world first the futuristic watchmaker has developed a mechanical complication capable of calculating the difference between the energy generated and the energy consumed by the mainspring over the last two hours. The outcome of this calculation is then reflected on the dial in the form of a winding efficiency indicator at 11 o’clock.
So what does that all mean?
Well, according to the brand this means that when you are leisurely reading the paper in your favorite armchair, the indicator will start heading towards the red zone to let you know that your UR-210 is not being wound enough by its automatic rotor and is running on stored energy. However, if you are doing something more active, say rushing to an important board meeting, the indicator will point towards the green zone, a sign that you are replenishing your watch with new energy. You can then keep track of the additional energy that has been created and stored via the power reserve indicator at 1 o’clock.
It doesn’t stop there however. Now that you are equipped with this additional information you are able to actively intervene in the winding process to ensure that it is as efficient as possible. For example, if you’re feeling a bit sluggish and your UR-210 indicates an insufficient supply of energy, you can set the winding efficiency selector (at the back of the watch) to “FULL”. The rotor will then convert the slightest movement into stored energy. In this configuration, a turbine connected to the rotor provides smooth, unimpeded power.
On the other hand if you’re about to participate in some more vigorous activity that may provide more power than required and unnecessarily wear the mechanism, you can position the winding efficiency selector to “REDUCED” to engage the rotor damping system. In this position an air turbine compressor mounted on ruby bearings spins and creates internal resistance – enough friction to slow down or dampen the automatic winding rotor.
Finally there is also the “STOP” mode, whereby the automatic winding system is disabled completely and the UR-210 runs off reserve power and may require manual winding.
Back on the dial side we turn our attention to the latest iteration of URWERK’s highly recognizable satellite complication, now for the first time with retrograde minutes. The over-sized, three-dimensional minute hand encloses the hour satellite as it completes it 0-60 minute journey, giving the UR-210 a very distinctive look that dramatically sets it apart from all other models in the brand’s collection, whilst at the same time further enhancing legibility.
What is perhaps most impressive is the moment when it reaches the end of its hour-long journey. An audible “click” can be heard as the minute hand flies back to to its starting point in less than 0.1 of a second. To make this impressive feat possible the retrograde system is based on three key elements:
- A central axis set in ruby bearings provides excellent stability for the satellite/retrograde complication. A cylindrical marine chronometer type spring runs vertically around the axis and generates the optimal tension required for the retrograde minutes flyback.
- A minute hand, which also forms a frame for the hour satellites, displays the time in an extraordinary way. Milled from aluminum to exacting tolerances of approximately 3 microns, the whole structure has a total weight of just 0.302g and is counter balanced by a brass weight. This three-dimensional cage offers rigidity as it transfers energy from the cylindrical flyback spring in the top center of the carrousel to the double-star gear underneath.
- A double coaxial star-shaped cam regulates the retrograde mechanism through its gearing and its rotation defines the trajectory of the minute hand. When the minute hand reaches 60, the double star trips a (one of three) hockey-stick shaped spring under the mechanism, which liberates the minute to fly back to the next hour satellite at 0-minutes.
It’s as complicated as it sounds and represents the culmination of countless hours of research and development. What is perhaps most telling however is this quote from URWERK’s master watchmaker and co-founder, Felix Baumgartner:
“In terms of the degree of evolution of the satellite carousel, I feel with the UR-210 that we have reached the pinnacle of what we can do with this complication.”
A subtle hint perhaps as to what the future may hold for the brand.
The Final Word
The UR-210 is simply an incredible timepiece that features a level of personalization like no other. Not only does it capture the intimate relationship between man and watch but it also takes it one step further, for the first time allowing you as the wearer to truly do what you think is in the best interest of your mechanical companion.
No word on pricing as yet but I would expect it to be into six figures. For those who would like more information I encourage you to visit the official URWERK website: www.urwerk.com