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Review: The Urwerk UR-105 T-Rex

by  on April 1, 2016
Reviews
Overview
Brand

Urwerk

Complication / Type of Watch

Hours and Minutes indicated by rotating satellite disc system

Recommended Retail Price

CHF 65,000 excluding taxes

Positives

-Interesting case design
-Cool hand patinaed bronze front plate
-Satellite disc indication of telling the time is refreshing

Negatives

May not be to everyone's liking

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Movement
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At Baselworld 2016, we took a closer look at the Urwerk UR-105 T-Rex, a model designed with the prehistoric dinosaur the Tyrannosaurus Rex in mind.  It features the signature Urwerk satellite disc system for telling the time.

It is a limited edition of 22 pieces.

urwerk-trex-dialup- UR-105 T-Rex

The Urwerk UR-105 T-Rex

Urwerk is an independent brand that produces timepieces that tell the time in a different manner.  Instead of your regular hour, minute and seconds hands,  Urwerk’s signature is their rotating satellite discs on four arms, in which the time is displayed by an hour disc moving along the bottom portion of the watch for the minutes to be read. Combine this with a interesting case and a novel movement, you have a conversation starter on your wrist.

The case, dial and hands


The front part of the case is made from bronze and has been hand patinated, giving the watch an aged look about it.  It has been  decorated, beadblasted, micro-sandblasted, purified and then oxidized with a brush. The ribbed pattern is based on the scales of certain reptiles. As each piece is done by hand no two pieces will be the same. As it is bronze a further patina will develop giving the watch its own uniqueness.  The UR-105TA which is the older brother of T- Rex features an open front plate in which the whole carousel mechanism for the satellite discs can be seen.  The closed version for T-Rex works quite well and allows for the bronze plate to catch the eye.

The back of the case is made from black PVDed titanium.   With case dimensions of 39.50mm x 53mm, it fits nicely on the wrist.  The dial of the watch occupies the bottom part of the case displaying the minutes from 0-60.  One rotating satellite disc is seen at a time to indicate the current hour.  To cover up the satellite discs that are not in use a cover has been placed over them.  The cover is made from PEEK (polyetheretherketone) and has a guilloché pattern which matches the front bronze plate of the watch.  To provide contrast the hour & minute numerals have been hand filled with yellow Superluminova.

urwerk-trex-detail

The Inspiration behind the UR-105 T-Rex


The Inspiration behind the UR-105 T-Rex is an April Fools Joke first published on the 1st of April 2016.  For details please click here.

Now it has been mentioned at the start of the review that the UR  1o5 T-Rex is based on a dinosaur.  Technically the bronze front plate does look like reptile scales but it was actually based on a fruit and building.  Durio zibethinus is the Latin name for the fruit commonly known in Asia as a Durian.  This spiky shaped fruit with a very pungent smell is actually very nice to eat. Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei are frequent visitors to Singapore.  It was during one of these visits, Martin Frei got to see and try a Durian for the first time. In an exclusive interview with our Editor he said “When you first see and hold a Durian, the smell is very odd and you are thinking to yourself what does the fruit inside look like?.”

Durian_in_black

The Duiran. King of fruits.  Picture (C) Wikipedia

While taking in the city, he chanced upon the Esplanade- Theatres by the Bay.  He was impressed by the design of the Esplanade and the pattern of the roof.  He later asked about the building and was told it was nicknamed the Durian since it so closely resembled the spiky fruit that Singaporeans love to eat.

1024px-The_Esplanade_4,_Singapore,_Dec_05

One of the two domes of the Esplanade- Theatres by the Bay.  Picture (C) Wikipedia

After returning to Geneva,  Martin Frei with the Durian and the Esplanade fresh in his mind,  he sat down to design the new timepiece.   He thought the shell colour of the Durian was an interesting shade and he decided to make the front plate a similar colour.  As you can see the final result was a bronze colour.   The pattern of both the Durian and Esplanade is very interesting with their spiky points but it isn’t very feasible to have a spiky watch.  Martin Frei decided to use the same pattern but “flattened” the spikes.   Frei also said “The colour of the Durian flesh was an unusual shade of yellow, so I decided to incorporate it into the watch by using yellow Superluminova for the hours and minutes.”

After finishing the design and having the watch made, he thought it would be a bit strange to say he designed it after a fruit.  As it looked like reptile scales, he decided to market the watch based on the skin texture of a dinosaur.  But now you know it really was designed after a pungent spiky fruit from South East Asia.

martinfrei

Urwerk Co Founder Martin Frei

End of April Fools Joke! 🙂

The Movement


Powering the UR-105 T-Rex is  the caliber 5.02 UR.  It features Urwerk’s automatic winding regulated by two turbines and it has a power reserve of 48 hours.  Refinements have been made to the satellite disc system so there is virtually no friction or jerking when setting the time.  The turbines can be regulated by the toggle switch at the back of the watch.  It features three settings which control the turbine in terms of winding the mainspring.  In the picture below it is set to FULL.  This means the slightest movement will wind up the mainspring.    The next setting is RED, which is short form for REDUCED.  This setting is used to reduce excessive tension on the mainspring as it moderates the winding.  The final setting is indicated by the red dot and the word STOP.  This stops the turbines altogether and allows the watch to be wound manually.  A interesting feature from Urwerk that allows for the wearer to adjust the winding and avoid unnecessary tension.

urwerk-trex-back

The Urwerk caliber 5.02 UR with automatic winding regulated by two turbines.

Concluding Thoughts


The UR-105 T-Rex is a timepiece that has interesting touches applied to it aesthetically while packing neat technical features with its innovative movement.  The hand patinated bronze front plate is unusual as most manufacturers prefer patina to occur naturally with their bronze cases.  The rotating satellite disc system is refreshing as it uses an innovative method to display the time.   To the writer it gives the perception of time being slowed down a little since the disc wanders from east to west.

A well constructed timepiece from Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei with a novel design.  All of the 22 pieces should be snapped up quite quickly.

urwerk-trex-wrist

The Urwerk UR-105 T-Rex on the wrist.

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