The independent watch brand Urwerk, known for its watches with an unusual time display, has introduced a new model UR-120 with a separate block-hand.
In 2022, the Swiss brand Urwerk celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the company recently announced the release of its so far main novelty of the year. The new Urwerk UR-120 is a new version of the company’s flagship UR-110. With the original UR-110, the brand embarked on a new type of watch display system that Urwerk continues to experiment with in the UR-100 and UR-220 series.
The UR-120 is an easily recognizable creation by Urwerk as the watch uses a three-tooth satellite system mounted on a central carousel with individual planetary gears, each of which rotates and digitally displays the watch. However, this design is new to the brand. Company founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner redesigned the entire mechanical process of the original UR-120 satellite display, resulting in one of Urwerk’s most visually interesting watches.
The time measurement on the UR-120 is displayed as each hand passes over the slanted vertical minute track located on the right side of the watch. After an hour, the time hand continues to rotate around the remaining front of the clock, but the digital hour block now splits into two parts, each rotating separately from each other, before gradually wrapping around to form a completely new digit.
When developing a new clock display mechanism, Urwerk was inspired by the world of science fiction. This is not the first time the company has drawn inspiration from science fiction franchises. Named “Spock” at launch, the splitting hand clock mechanism is meant to visually resemble the famous Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
UR-120 performs quite complex mechanical operations. Three rotations are almost relentless. First, each carousel hand rotates around a central axis. Then, on separate displays, when the two parts of the hand begin to split, the separated rectangular studs rotate around their own axis to subsequently take on the shape of the future hour. When the divided hour reaches its climax, a harp-shaped spring closes the divided stems.
The new movement driving this unique sequence of events is the UR-20.01, a self-winding caliber based on Urwerk’s past designs, clocked at 4 Hz with a 48-hour power reserve and featuring the signature, extremely efficient Windfänger system.
The case measures 44mm × 47mm and is 15.8mm thick. This option is more comfortable to wear than previous generations of Urwerk creations. Fans of the brand will also notice that the case profile is much smoother than previous versions. Urwerk achieved this by using a two-piece steel and titanium interlocking case architecture combined with a set of unique hinge lugs.