Analysis: new Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat – technical virtuosity takes center stage

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Urwerk announces the new UR-112 Aggregat, the name being the indication that it translates to the aggregate of the know-how from the years Urwerk has been in practice. Released as part of their Special Project collection, this new watch is an adventurous new take.

Press release information with commentary and analysis in italics.


What is this new watch about? First, take a look at the video. This is an amazing piece of mechanical engineering, built into a watch to with a jumping digital hour on triangular satellite prisms, and a running digital minute on its own triangular satellite prisms. And also equipped with a digital seconds and power reserve indicator. A mouthful, just to describe. Easier to just watch what it does:

While the components are all based on established Urwerk expertise, the combination of these separate competencies is what make this a real cool watch. Urwerk is well known for their rotating satellite time indicators. They are also known for rotating cubes mounted on moving satellite arms, both which are in motion on their own, different axis. The new UR-112 combines these two key technical capabilities. The hour indicator is a satellite construction which carries 4 three sided prisms (which we nickname the Toblerone) panels. The satellite rotates on its own axis, while the Toblerone on its own, separate axis. The satellite makes one click of a quarter revolution every hour, while the Toblerone shapes also make one click, but as they are 3 sided, each click is a third of a revolution. This allows the system to present a new face every hour to indicate the hour. To make this more complicated, a lever blocks the entire mechanism, and the power from the mainspring stored in a remontoire spring, which constantly being wound by the mainspring. This spring releases once every hour, causing the entire mechanism to advance one step. Hence the jumping hour.

A similar setup is used for the minutes indicator. And the mechanism to drive it is exactly the same except the rate of motion is faster, so instead of one step every hour, the mechanism advances one step every 5 minutes. The remontoire is eliminated, so the mechanism is in constant motion, what in watchmaking is known as a dragging motion. According to Felix Baumgartner, this conserves energy.

Just describing the hour and minute indication is already complex, but the movement is even more complicated. In a regular watch, all the motive forces are revolving in a flat plane. In the UR-112, the torque released by the mainspring barrels needed to be transmitted perpendicularly to drive the satellite and its Toblerone prisms. This system is extremely complex, especially in the space afforded by the confines of a watch case.

As usual, the industrial design of the case, and the aesthetics of the watch is the level of excellence we have come to expect from Martin Frei. The base case aesthetics take the form similar to the UR-111C and the UR-CC1. The shape of the case and location of the displays are similar. But where the UR-111C and UR-CC1 had a system of rotating cylinders to indicate the hours and minutes, showing the passage of time as linear bars, reminiscent of a vintage car’s speedometer, the UR-112 has its complex system of rotating Toblerone prisms mounted on rotating satellites. Needless to say, the caliber, UR-13.01 on the UR-112 is altogether more complicated. The aesthetic design of the UR-112 also includes a flip up cover first seen in UR-105. Opening this cover enables the secondary indications – the seconds and power reserve indicator to be read. The watch looks like it has an aggressive persona, and looks equally cool in the dark, as well as in good light.

Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat

Price: CHF 250,000.00 (Swiss francs // tax not included). This first edition UR-112 Aggregat is limited to 25 pieces with a matte finish.

The UR-112 Aggregat is the latest addition to URWERK’s Special Project collection, a laboratory offering horological freedom and follies encouraged. URWERK co-founders Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker, and Martin Frei, artistic director and designer, started this new adventure from a blank page. And a sketchbook overflowing with ideas.

The UR-112 Aggregat was inspired by a dream of a new mechanical challenge. Technicality has the center stage. The beauty of the UR-112 lies in the complexity of its gears and near-manic assembly precision. The UR-112 Aggregat heralds the genesis of a watchmaking tour de force.

Aggregat is a compendium of 25.5 grams of distilled technique, offering fully digital time displays, from hours down to seconds. A double or nothing challenge for the watchmaker who is betting with microns.

Starting with the hour and the minutes, each are displayed on triangular prisms operating under transparent cylinders, which appear as levitating mechanisms to be admired through the crystal. 

On the left, the digital hour display. Each of the 12 numerals is engraved then filled with Super-LumiNova. The transcription of time takes the form of a sign display switching sharply to a chronometric rhythm.

On the right, the same system displays the minutes. Minutes free from the strain of the singular and instead jump in 5-minute increments.

The operation of the jumping hours display is driven by the advance of the minutes. At the 60th minute, the force accumulated during those last 3600 seconds is released to change the time to the next hour.

But the primary source of all this power is rooted in the basic movement opposite this Dantesque construction. A long, thin rod connects the body and head of the UR-112. This is the cardan shaft, a central part of vital importance to this mechanism. A complex set of cogs, a succession of gears, allows this axis to transmit all the energy required. And this despite a 90 ° turnaround. This transmission shaft with double gearing – one at each end – is perpendicular to the horizonal time indication.

“We nicknamed this watch the Aggregat because the UR-112 brings different elements together. From a single source of energy, we power all displays and mechanisms of this UR-112. This force is distributed sparingly, some even “recycled” so that from the digital second at the top of the dial to the dragging minutes and the jumping hours at the opposite extreme, each display receives precisely its required dose of energy with none wasted,” explains Felix Baumgartner.

The movement of the UR-112 nestles inside a hunter case with a hinged titanium protective cover. Pressing the pushers on either side of the case unlocks the cover and it springs up, revealing an elaborate display of digital seconds. Etched on tiny silicon wafer disks, tiny numerals parade under a magnifying lens beside the only analogue display of the UR-112, a 48-hour power-reserve indicator.

This first edition UR-112 Aggregat is limited to 25 pieces with a matte finish. It has sober colors, an anthracite body with black sides complemented by a cover in the same color. Beautiful and elegant. “The sources of inspiration for this UR-112 are many and diffuse. The grille of the Bugatti Atlantique is the most obvious. An exceptional automobile whose contrasting spine emphasizes absolute symmetry. Some Middle Eastern influences are also vivid in my mind. The memories, the smells, the experiences during my travels nourish my imagination and are found in all my creations. Found by subtle touch.” says Martin Frei.

Be seduced by the nobility of UR-112 Aggregat’s refined body, it contains the most beautiful of secrets.

Urwerk UR-112 Aggregat – bicolore edition – Technical specifications

25 pieces limited edition

Caliber: UR-13.01
Jewels: 66
Escapement: Swiss Lever-type 
Spring: Flat hairspring
Frequency: 4Hz; 28´800 vph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Winding system: Automatic
Materials: Triangular hour and minute prisms in Beryllium copper; 8 planetary gears in titanium; Silicium second disk.
Surface finishes: Circular and straight graining, sanding, côtes de Genève, polished screw heads

Indications :
Jumping digital hour on triangular satellite prisms; running digital minute on triangular satellite prisms; digital seconds; power reserve

Dimensions Width 42 mm x length 51 mm x thickness 16 mm
Water resistance: Pressure tested to 3ATM / 100ft / 30m
Crystal: Sapphire crystals


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