Prior to becoming a watch writer my background was deeply grounded in the art world. With a degree in design I was commissioned to illustrate everything from magazine covers to children’s books. For that reason I can appreciate that all concepts start on the drawing board. Over the last few years the world of horology has completely evolved. Ideas that at one point would have seemed improbable (for many reasons) have now become a reality. Ultimately this led me to establish my website Total Watch Reviews.
In recent press releases brands are showing detailed sketches to explain the process behind the design. Some of the drawings are exquisite and meticulous. In my opinion draftsmen don’t come much finer than Urwerks co-founder Martin Frei. His visuals are exceptionally complicated and unbelievably well executed. It is also a testament to the extraordinarily talented Felix Baumgartner that these timepieces ever make it into production. Their recent achievements have included the innovative EMC and the phenomenal Experiment ZR012. This innovative timepiece was inspired by the Wankel engine and devised in collaboration with MB & F. It also featured in my article entitled ‘Highlights from 2013’.
This year Urwerk decided not to exhibit at Baselworld, which probably disappointed a lot of watch enthusiasts. Instead they have waited a month and released an amazing new timepiece called the UR-105M. Dimensionally the watch is larger than previous models measuring a substantial 53mm x 39.50mm x 16.65mm. I love huge watches but I can appreciate not everyone will share my views. As the price of this creation falls into serious collector territory I am sure opinions will be divided. Previously I have reviewed the UR-110 and UR-202. Both of these watches sat comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any friction from the lugs. For that reason I suspect that this watch would be very enjoyable and lightweight to wear. Primarily this is down to the intuitive case design and use of high performance titanium in manufacture.
Visually the armour worn by Medieval Knights has inspired the design of the watch. Within the range there are two different models to choose from, the ‘Iron Knight’ and “Dark Knight’. What makes these watches so outstanding is the way time is presented. Three orbiting satellites display hours and minutes can be viewed in retrograde form. I love idiosyncratic features like the two side windows with lateral seconds and power reserve indications. Other distinctive characteristics include an oversized crown (positioned at 12 o’clock) and a control board on the case back. Overall the futuristic composition is highly effective and supremely well finished.
At the heart of the watch is the highly sophisticated mechanical manual winding movement. The Caliber UR-5.01 comprises 38 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). All of the individual components have been decorated, finished and assembled by hand. Functionally the UR-105M features hours, minutes, seconds (displayed in increments of 10) and oil change indication. The watch also has a power reserve of 42 hours, and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The UR-105M is equipped with a stylish hand sewn black alligator strap and is limited to 77 pieces (of each). Prices range from 58,000 CHF – 63,000 CHF (approximately $65,929-$71,612).