One of the watchmakers who really inspired me to establish Total Watch Reviews was Urwerk. Their eclectic designs really caught my attention because they were so radically different. Obviously there are now many other innovative watchmakers like MB & F, HYT, Cabestan and 4N all competing in the same environment. All these amazing brands were displaying their exquisite timepieces in the Palace hall at Baselworld. For me this is one of the most exciting areas in the whole event because it is such a hub of creativity. That is why it surprised me that Urwerk had opted for a much more intimate location at the Ramada hotel.
Over the last few years I have written numerous articles about Urwerk and reviewed a few of their watches. I also was privileged to test their wonderful Experiment ZR012, which was collaboration with MB & F. Due to fact it was made from Zirconium the watch felt incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear. It is fair to say that Urwerk are not the most prolific watchmaker in the industry and normally offer the client different versions of existing models. I really don’t mind this because I can appreciate how difficult it is at this level to design completely new watches.
Prior to leaving for Basel I got a press release from Urwerk introducing the UR-1001. This watch isn’t new but a cleverly configured version of their 2011 pocket watch called the UR-1001 Zeit Device. Effectively what Urwerk have done is devised a new case to adapt it into a wristwatch. Quite honestly I have never ever seen a timepiece of this size. Dimensionally it measures in at an astonishing 106mm x 62mm x 23mm. I thought the Chronoswiss Wristmaster was large but this watch is absolutely gigantic and dwarfs it. In fact, on the wrist it looks like a piece of body armour and feels pretty hefty. Even the lightweight titanium doesn’t really bring down the weight and it can only be worn by someone with massive wrists like Stallone or Schwarzenegger.
Aesthetically the watch has a formidable and futuristic appearance. Even though the UR-1001 is colossal it still is a complete work of art. The multi-layered dial is an absolute revelation and perfectly exposes the mechanical movement. I love the three dimensional rotating signature Urwerk hands and retrograde minute display. Overall the timepiece has a really industrial and architectural facade. Clearly the design won’t appeal to traditionalists but I think it is pretty striking. Interestingly a Singapore collector has just bought a customized version encrusted with diamonds.
At the heart of the watch is a highly complicated self-winding single barrel movement. The Caliber UR-10.01 comprises 51-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Each component is meticulously finished, decorated and assembled by hand. Functionally the UR-1001 offers a plethora of features including hours, retrograde minutes, seconds, calendar, day/night indication and “Oil change” indicator. The timepiece also has a power reserve of 39 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 meters. However realistically I can’t really imagine any one ever swimming with this timepiece on.
The UR-1001 is limited to only eight pieces and has a bespoke black leather strap with matching buckle. Price CHF 345,000 (approximately $360,332).
For more information about Urwerk visit the company’s website: http://www.urwerk.com