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Contrasting Vision

Urwerk timepiece

Urwerk’s radical UR-111C brings a new attitude in black PVD and a brushed steel case

by Victoria Gomelsky

If you’d like to strap on a truly subversive timepiece, try Urwerk’s newest wristwatch, the UR-111C Two-Tone. The sleekly curved case is a wide departure from Urwerk’s previous fare and a prime illustration of master watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and the designer and artist Martin Frei’s determination to defy watchmaking conventional wisdom.

“We have always asked ourselves since the very beginning, what can we do differently?” says Frei.

The first thing you need to know about the UR-111C is that it is a driver’s watch. That explains why the retrograde linear minute display bears numerals positioned at a 30° diagonal slant: All the better for readability while at the wheel. The contrasting black and white finishes give this version (the first debuted in 2018) the hulking, powerful lines of a supercar.

Urwerk watch dial front view

Then there’s the digital seconds display. Mounted on two tiny interlocking wheels, each fixed with six Arabic numerals and weighing 0.025 grams apiece, the seconds appear to pass by imperceptibly, an optical trick achieved by placing the numerals on clusters of optical fibers.

“Having a watch with a second display was, for me, always important because that’s the way we see time passing, as we do with an hourglass,” Frei said in a statement. “And I think the way the two wheels of the UR-111C’s seconds display fall into each other is like sand passing down through an hourglass. The display is a celebration of the second. Because at the end, it’s all about giving pleasure—haptic pleasure.”

The UR-111C’s third innovation slays one of watchmaking’s sacred cows: Instead of having a traditional side-mounted winding crown, the watch features a roller system at the top of the case that charges the self-winding movement. By releasing a small lever to the right, the wearer can use the roller to set the time.

Urwerk UR-111C lifestyle
“With the UR-111C, we focused on one element of the watch that hasn’t changed since it was introduced in the 1840s — the winding crown,” Baumgartner said in a statement. “We completely redesigned it, changing the way a watch is wound. For this, we had to rework the entire winding train. It was a long and sometimes arduous process, but we succeeded. We devised a new way of interacting with a watch and a new bond between the watch and its owner.”

The UR-111C Two-Tone retails for $133,000, but may prove hard to get. The US allocation of this 25-piece edition is almost completely sold out. 

For more information on the UR-111C Two-Tone, contact boutique@shsilver.com. Discover more Urwerk timepieces on our Urwerk brand page.