BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Urwerk is easily one of the craziest watchmakers on the planet with their designs and their watchmaking. It certainly helps them that they have an unconventional means of telling the time, aka the wandering hours. The newest watch builds on that concept and adds in some pre-historic inspired muscle too. This new model is inspired by one of the biggest and most dangerous creatures ever to walk this planet: the T-Rex.
The watch’s colour is undoubtedly inspired by the Cretaceous period, or what we think the Mesozoic Era might have been like when the dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The case has been crafted from bronze and given a unique multi-stage treatment process to create the watch you see before you. Once the case outline has been formed, a CNC milling machine is used to precisely cut the detailed pattern on the sides and top of the case. Urwerk then sandblasts the case to give a matte finish and uses a chemical process unique to them to accentuate the bronze colour. This process leaves you with a watch that appears to be covered in the scales of a dinosaur, and it has the colour to match thanks to the case. It is quite large; however, it measures in at 49.7mm x 41mm x 14mm, which gives a lot of room for the mechanism and enough room to form the canvas used for decoration.
Inside this bronze beastie is a mechanical movement called the UR 12.02, it’s automatically wound, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise when looking at the caseback. It’s been completely covered with a disk with some holes cut out and some kind of shuriken added for good measure. That’s Urwerk’s Planetary Turbine Automatic System, and it very cleverly protects and enhances the lifespan of the bearing in the automatic rotor by supporting the rotor at the furthest edge. You must remember that while the rotor is small and light in the grand scheme of things, it’s very heavy to the rotor bearings which are very small in a mechanical movement. The rotor bearings are also protected by something called a Windfäng, which translates to ‘air trap’ and helps protect the rotor bearing. The balance wheel in the watch (yes, there is one) beats at 4Hz, and the watch has a power reserve of 48 hours thanks to that heavy gearing system it has to move.
Speaking of, this watch uses a complication called a wandering hours complication. This splits the time across three disks which rotate while also being mounted on a rotating platform. The satellite disk indicates the hour, and the satellite cage has a red-tipped arrow pointing to the minutes scale. As the cage moves across the scale, it shows the minutes thanks to the arrow tip. It really needs to be explained in a video. Sadly we are unlikely to get one of these in-person to do that. Urwerk is making 22 in total, and they will cost CHF50,000 before tax.
Visit URWERK here.