Initially, I thought 'no, don't post the YouTube video, folk will think I don't know what I'm talking about and I'm cheaping it by not having to explain. Write a feature instead.' Well, you know, the first time we see something, maybe it is reasonable - and more honest (to myself anyway) - to say to yourself 'OK, I don't have an in-depth understanding of what I'm looking at. I can see what it is, I can see what it does, I can see how it does it,' and I can then sit back in my desk chair and still say 'what kind of mind thinks that up!' Yes, it's the new Urwerk UR-110 Torpedo, the latest offering from Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, so by definition it is going to be a little more than out of the ordinary, and true to their style, the guys do not disappoint.
I have also used their press release to provide the technical spec which you will find beneath the video, because, well, you'd imagine that the parents of this baby might be able to portray their vision in a more eloquent way than I - another guy with his slobbering jaw resting on his knees, coming to terms with what he's just seen.
Urwerk Official Press Release:
"The UR-110 is a watch with attitude. From the base of its unusual asymmetrical case to the three arrow-shaped "torpedoes" flying in formation with the mission of indicating the time, the UR-110 has serious attitude.
Enveloped in a secure titanium case, planetary gearing keeps the three hour satellites in parallel formation as they take turns to indicate the time as they pass the 60-minute track. An "Oil Change" indicator alerts the user when it is time for a service; a “Day/Night” indicator helps keep track of changing time zones; and twin turbines on the back minimize wear in the automatic winding system. This new complication is made possible thanks to a construction with three levels of complexity - A central carousel providing the complication with stability and equilibrium - Planetary gearing assuring the parallel rotation of the three hour satellites as they orbit the dial - Three counter-rotating hour modules - each comprising an hour satellite, minute hand and counter balance - are each mounted on a planetary gear. These three modules are in constant counter-rotation to counter the direction of rotation of the central carousel.
The UR-110 continues URWERK's radical tradition of telling the time using orbiting satellite complications. In the UR-110, the time is always shown on the right side of the watch. The satellites follow a vertical line, graded from 0 to 60 minutes, in a downward motion. The ingenuity of this layout lies in allowing the wearer to view the time discreetly and elegantly without the need to pull a cuff or sleeve back.
"The UR-110 is a logical evolution of our creations. We imagined time as a 'silent journey' where the hour satellites make a full rotation of the dial. But it is a velvet revolution; between rotation and counter rotations the effect is subtle and fluid. There are things happening on the dial that are not obvious at first glance. Everything looks normal; however, in fact they are everything but." says Martin Frei. "The beauty of the UR-110 is in its apparent simplicity. The development of UR-110 mobilized our entire team for nearly two years. Among the challenges posed by this complication was working out the optimal architecture for supporting the central carousel and the rotating hour modules. We finally opted for a technical solution that is radically different from any of our other creations: instead of ball bearings, a fixed axis runs the full height of the watch, providing maximum rigidity and minimum play. The whole complication is perfectly balanced on this axis " explains Felix Baumgartner. The UR-110 is a timepiece in which its technology can be appreciated though the large panoramic sapphire crystal. As well as indicating the hours and minutes, the UR-110 also features a Control Board on the dial side with indicators for “Day/Night” and "Oil Change" - URWERK's service interval display, as well as small seconds on a sub dial. The colour of metals prevails on the dial, a colour given pride of place on the predominately titanium case. The UR-110 is sober with few frills; its ornaments only apparent in the subtle perfection of its fine finishing. Turning the watch over, the titanium back encloses the innovative automatic winding system regulated by dual turbines. The UR-110, micro-mechanics have never looked so good!
Technical Specifications UR-110 Movement Calibre: UR 9.01 mechanical, automatic winding Balance: Monometallic Jewels: 46 Frequency: 28,800v/h, 4Hz Balance spring: Flat Power: Single barrel Power reserve: 39 hours Winding system: Uni-directional rotor regulated by double turbines Finish: Matting, circular graining and diamond-cuts Indications Satellite complication with rotating hour/minute modules mounted on planetary gears Control Board: “Day/Night” indicator ; “Oil Change” alerting service intervals and small seconds Case Case in Grade 5 titanium with bezel in 316L stainless steel Dimensions: 47mm X 51mm X 16mm Two position crown with integrated protection. Water resistance: 3 ATM"