Urwerk – their principals Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, is one of the independent watchmakers to watch (pun intended). Their creations are always interesting…pieces of contemporary horology: with interesting techniques, pushing the envelope with the use and adaptation of industrial coatings on watchmaking. And Felix and Martin, and their PR Supremo Yasine have always been uber cool.
The latest is a uber complicated timepiece…Felix calls this the culmination of all 15 yers of Urwerk, and the Mothership to all Urwerk watches. This watch, also known as a Zeit Device, uses a conucopia of indicators – with satelites on turrets, upon retrograde indication. Makes an interesting watch.
The back, the cover flips open to show the satelite which is a flying construction (the techinal term in watchmaking used for wheels attached only on one side of the pinion)…allowing the owner to gaze through the movement.
Mesmerising.I love the layered, 3 dimensional look of the Zeit Device…so much to see and discover. Case is AlTiN – Aluminium, Titanium Nitrade – an industrial surface treatment developed for tool making and has superior resistance to wear. The watch is rather large, and weighs some 450g. Here is it next to my Rolex Sea Dweller to have a scale comparison: Even the chain is massive, and attaches to the ring on top of the crown by a screw mechanism which opens and closes a set of jaws to hook up and release the chain to the watch.
A closer look at the chain mechanism
Everywhere one looks, the attention to detail is amazing. From the tatical feel of the case and chain, to the smooth gliding movement of the satelite. Here are some photographs showing the satelite time telling system of the gliding minute hand and rotating hour cube. The minute hand is retrograde, and is designed to gently jump back returning gently. Watching this is quite a treat.
As is typical with Urwerk watches, the time telling system is innovative and the watch does not typically open up to show the time keeping mechanism. This Zeit Device is automatic winding, and both the rotor and the balance wheel is hidden from view. The watch also features an annual calendar…the indicators are also carried by a similar satelite system: The back of the watch carries the usual Urwerk “Service Indicator”, which is actually a 5 year indication telling the owner that the watch has been running for 5 years, and it is time for it to return for a service.
Also interesting, and attesting to the confidence of Felix on the movement is the presence of a 100 year running time indicator…and get this…a 1000 year linear running time indicator!! What can I say? Uber cool. The asking price in Singapore is S$666k…hmm…what a number…but even if you can afford the watch, you may not get one if you are not fast…only 8 are being made in this execution.