URWERK UR-100 GunMetal Is An Alien From Deep Space The latest addition to the URWERK family takes us on a journey of discovery by Rob NuddsJanuary 31, 2020 MIN READURWERK UR-100 GunMetal Is An Alien From Deep Space
Honestly, how surprised would you be if, while wiling away the hours in the privacy of your home, an URWERK UR-100 GunMetal buzzed through an open window and landed on your dining room table, before two tiny (but very well-dressed) aliens hopped out and proclaimed Planet Earth as their own? Me? Not that surprised at all…
Earlier this week, I wrote a quick article about the Konstantin Chaykin Mouse King watch and how releases of that nature bring me much joy. Today, and rounding out a rather cool week of releases, in my opinion, we have the URWERK UR-100 GunMetal for you. And it’s a treat. In the same way that I have an emotional reaction to the Mouse King so too do I find myself going gooey over this latest creation from URWERK. While the Mouse King made me smile, this one makes me feel like a kid again — a wide-eyed kid on Christmas morning who’s just unwrapped a brand new Lego set and has hours of assembling tiny bits of fluorescent yellow/green plastic into an epic space station ahead of him.
Standing out from the crowd
Some brands just have a cool factor. That makes them divisive. URWERK is a great example of this. There are plenty of haters, who just find these creations ridiculous, illegible, or even ugly. And that’s not just fine, it’s really, really good for the brand. Because division creates discussion and discussion creates awareness. And in this day and age, with multiple-commercial platforms (in the physical and digital worlds), pummeling your brain with endless advertisements, standing out from the crowd as often as possible is what leads to sales.
It’s an on-trend pairing that looks decidedly futuristic.
I wouldn’t wear all of URWERK’s creations. Some miss the mark for me. But this one is a beauty. A blasted, gray case harmonizes exceptionally well with the neon green and scarlet colorway. It’s an on-trend pairing that looks decidedly futuristic. As a mark of the respect I have for the brand, I actually acquiesce to typing the brand name in all capitals. Lots of brands style their wordmark this way. With barely any other does it make as much sense to adhere to it as it does with URWERK.
What’s in a name?
The name URWERK comes from the ancient civilization of Ur, which gave us ???? I thought it worth mentioning as I’m under the impression many people assume the name to be a corruption of Uhrwerk (German for watch movement). While I’m sure the brand’s founders had intended this congruous misunderstanding, I think the truth (or at least primary reason) behind the brand’s name is a neat fact.
A stylistic update
The UR-100 GunMetal is a stylistic update to previous UR-100 models released last year. It differs in colors used on the iconic orbital display as well as the case finish. Here we have media-blasted titanium and steel coated with gunmetal PVD. The original versions (released at the same time in September 2019), were also made from steel and titanium, but different finishes. This altogether moodier color scheme looks right at home on this kind of piece and is, to my eyes, the ideal skin in which to wrap such a movement.
Powering the URWERK UR-100 GunMetal is the caliber UR 12.01. It is a 4Hz, automatic movement fitted with something called a “Windfänger airscrew.” This little contraption (which looks like a propellor) regulates the rotor, theoretically reducing the effect of shocks sustained by the watch.
So what’s it all about? The dial, which initially looks confusing, is telling us three things. Firstly, it is showing us the time. It does this by way of URWERK’s take on the classic wandering hours complication. Three centrally-mounted discs each carry a rotating block marked with four hours around the dial. The central disc performs one full rotation every three hours. The minutes are displayed “backward” along the bottom edge of the dial. The “active” hour (the only number that is clearly visible on those rotating blocks) is attached to a red pointer. That red pointer creeps along the minute track until the 60th minute is reached. Then, it hops forwards a little to expose the next hour disc. As the next red pointer in the sequence begins its journey, the now “inactive” pointers move on to another task.
How far the Earth has Journeyed
In many of URWERK’s previous models, only one minute pointer was active at any one time. In this model, the two minute pointers that are waiting before it is their turn to perform their primary function once more, are doing something else. One of them (the one on the left-hand side of the dial while inactive as a minute pointer) is showing us the distance traveled on earth as it spins on its axis at the equator. This distance is (apparently) 555km every 20 minutes. On the right-hand side of the dial, we can see how far the Earth has journeyed around the sun in 20 minutes also. That one reads up to 35,740km in case you’ve forgotten that widely-known fact (ahem)…
The URWERK UR-100 is cool because it is entirely on-brand and a whimsical way to make use of those inactive minute pointers. Is it necessary? No, but neither is luxury watchmaking and we’ve all dealt with that awkward truth a long time ago. What is clever about it is just the fact that it just a read-out of static, unchanging information. You could use the same concept to show anything that happens at a steady rate over 20 minutes (cue some hilarious suggestions in the comments section). The price for this model is $49,000. Learn more about the marvelous mechanical creations of URWERK here.
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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