Urwerk has been known for their coolness. Their watches exude the atmosphere of hipness that evades most other brands, including many independents. The watches are unusual, works of sculpture which born out of an industrial heart, perhaps rooted in fantasy. The UR-T8 is a classic example, and while many variants exist, the latest one which we managed to see and photograph last year is the collaboration with knife specialist Emmanuel Esposito. Here is our take on the Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri.
The new Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri pièce unique was unveiled at Baselworld 2019. We got to handle and photograph it, but when we got our hands on it, we were told to be extra careful as it was already sold! The watch is accompanied by an art knife by Esposito as a set.
Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri
The base watch for this artistic piece is the already impressive Urwerk UR-T8. This is a rather large Urwerk, created for the brand’s 20th Anniversary in 2017, and features a reversible case, then a new feature in any Urwerk.
And not unlike the standard reversing case watch – the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, the UR-T8 can be unlocked from the case at the depression of a pusher. It can then be flipped over to its caseback side. This normally reveals a shield of spiky pyramids. But for the Colibri, it features two stainless steel frames to showcase the magnificent mosaic work of Esposito.
The mother of pearl mosaic is designed to create an alternating light effect, with a distinctive chromatic effect much like the feathers on a Colibri —the French and Spanish word for hummingbird. We think it works particularly well as contrast with the spiky pyramids.
Hundreds of individual pieces of black-lip mother of pearl were cut into diamond shapes then hand-sorted and arranged according to how each reflects the light.
The resulting mosaic inlay oscillates between light and dark with movement. 18k gold pins accentuate each pearl intersection, and the two mosaic inlays are set into the stainless steel frames and housed in the 3-D sculpted titanium case. Every piece of pearl is connected by individual 18k gold pins, and each mosaic inlay is outlined with a black vintage Bakelite frame. The diamond patterned mosaic inlay is paired with a titanium insert which is 3-D sculpted to fit the case.
The case is rather massive, measuring 60.23mm x 48.35mm x 20.02mm. The UR-T8 features the signature satellite complication with rotating hour modules mounted on planetary gears.
Powering the new UR-T8 Colibri is the automatic in-house Urwerk calibre UR 8.01. This movement with a single barrel, provides a power reserve of 48 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph.
To turn the watch around and swivel the case, two pushers on each side of the case need to be pressed at the same time while swiveling the case up and around.
The wrist presence of sporting such a massive watch is immense. Couple this to the very fine work of the mother of pearl inlays, and the immaculate execution of the casework by Urwerk, we have a watch which impresses. And ultimately, continues to carry on the aura of the uber-cool.
Photo Notes: Photograph in-situ with Leica SL Type 601, and Leica TL 60mm APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH. Lighting by Profoto Compact 600 as main light and Canon EX580II as rim light.
Urwerk UR-T8 “Colibri” Technical Specifications
Calibre: Selfwinding UR 8.01
Frequency: 28,800v/h, 4Hz
Balance spring: Flat
Power: Single barrel
Power reserve: 48 hours
Winding system: Uni-directional rotor connected to a spinning vane
Finish: Brushed, circular grained and diamond-cuts
Indications: Satellite complication with rotating hour modules mounted on planetary gears
Unique flip-over case in Grade 5 titanium set with black-lip mother of pearl
Dimensions: 60.23mm X 48.35mm X 20.02mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM
The “Colibri” T-8 art knife
Customized folding knife with lock button and blade spine set with black lip mother of pearl mosaic
Handle frame in 416 stainless steel featuring a kinetic internal turbine
Blade mechanism running on ceramic ball bearings