From Urwerk comes the UR-1001 Zeit Device, an instrument for measuring time, a pocket watch like no other. Once again the horological bar has been raised to new dizzy heights.
The creation of something revolutionary often requres the combined talents of individuals from diverse disciplines. Urwerk's creative makeup consists of Felix Baumgartner, a Master Watchmaker with a family history steeped in horology and Martin Frei, a designer whose father was an industrial engineer. Together they are Urwerk who "design and craft haute horlogerie timepieces blending tradition with futuristic vision".
The industry has gradually become accustomed to Urwerk's unusual methods of indicating the time. These are exceptional machines - streamlined, sculpted shapes - curvy bits and angular stuff, often with spinning parts and even air flow controlled components. Although Urwerk think way outside the box, their pieces are not gimmicky, each feature has a purpose and a function. When Urwerk release a new timepiece, we all sit up and take notice.
The UR-1001 is a pocket watch, but not in the traditional sense. The mono-block steel case measures 106mm x 62mm x 23mm and is coated with aluminium titanium nitrade. On the dial side are a compendium of indicators. For the hours is a revolving satellite complication - three arms on a revolving carrousel, constantly turning, each cube-side indicating or preparing to indicate a new hour. A mechanical feast for the eyes. The hour satellite in turn guides the retrograde minute hand which flies back to zero, a new system which unlike its predecessors is not fixed to the hour satellite.
A similar carrousel revolves to display the months with the dates on a retrograde display. This is an annual calendar complication which recognises the variations of each month except for February and is thererfore one which only needs intervention once per year. But of course its mechanism is unique "The date wheel has 93 teeth and goes around in three months carrying the three-armed carrousel. Mounted on the date wheel are three Maltese crosses, each corresponding to a satellite of four months at the opposite end of the date wheel. At the end of the short months, a finger on a Maltese cross intervenes to make the date wheel advance two days to the next month.” The day/night indicator comprises black Super LumiNova at nightime, white ruthenium for day and a banded mix of the two for dawn and dusk. The power reserve (39 hours) indicator shows red for low power.
Around the back, flip over the cover for yet more indications. The "Oil Change"" is a reminder to have the piece serviced, white for years one to three, progressing to red for years three to five. The 100 year indicator advances in five year increments. When 100 years have passed, the linear 1000 year indicator advances by one mark, and so on, thus providing a horological running time of the movement from new.
Like everything Urwerk create, the fine finishing and decoration, the only traditional feature of this piece is impeccable. The Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device comes presented in a combined winder/display case, the perfect desk-top distraction, and will be a limited edition of 8 pieces.