Urwerk’s new UR-112 Aggregat is a startlingly fresh Tour-de-Force
Aggregation of Engineering
Looking horizontally into the digital time display of Urwerk’s latest Special Project, the UR-112 Aggregat, one can admire a completely new and innovative mechanism from the brand, but one that nonetheless is tied to all of its previous work. The digital display with jumping hours and minutes that change in five minute increments is perhaps the most easily read watch the company has ever built. But the rotating display prisms, housed within a sapphire cylinder, immediately recall the satellite system that has been a part of the vast majority of the brand’s output from its very early days.
Still, the new system imposed its own technical challenges. Fast moving digital displays are notorious energy hogs, and can often pose near insurmountable inertia problems. The watch is powered from a single energy source but required a great deal of engineering to properly channel that power.
“We nicknamed this watch the Aggregat because the UR-112 brings different elements together. From a single source of energy, we power all displays and mechanisms of this UR-112. This force is distributed sparingly, some even "recycled" so that from the digital second at the top of the dial to the dragging minutes and the jumping hours at the opposite extreme, each display receives precisely its required dose of energy with none wasted,” explains Felix Baumgartner.
Despite the UR-112’s obvious mechanical qualities, some of its appeal is also intellectual. Independent watchmaking companies are often viewed as having a greater level of design freedom because they are not shackled to a long heritage. Urwerk by contrast has been one of the most scrupulous firms in the industry in the way they carefully curate their mechanical and design ethos. The engineering thread that flows through all the brand’s creations is readily apparent in this novel design, which may be its most remarkable quality.
The initial production of 25 pieces in gunmetal PVD-coated titanium is priced at $278,000. An additional 25 pieces in black PVD will be subsequently released.