Urwerk Founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner have been arch-disruptors in the Swiss watchmaking since they arrived on the scene in 1997 with unapologetically ‘out there’ watches that look like they were sent from the future.
Frei, Urwerk’s chief designer, says, “Normally a watch is a round object, fl at with two hands. We are so used to them that they even have pictogram status. And then in 1997 we came with URWERK making watches in our own way.”
Baumgartner adds, “When we innovate, we enjoy the freedom of tolerating no restrictions or taboos.” Yet as visually arresting and innovative as Urwerk’s creations are, they have always had a high entry point, typically six fi gures, meaning only wealthy admirers can also be owners.
That changed three years ago when Urwerk launched the fi rst iteration of the UR- 100. More accessible in terms of case design, not as complex in terms of engineering, and with a price point of less than US$60,000, a new ownership audience opened up.
The latest version, unveiled at Geneva Days, deploys 2022’s most fashionable colour, purple. A slew of watch brands has used varying tones of the historically royal colour and Frei states that he was inspired to use ultraviolet as it is the colour with the highest frequency on the visual spectrum. “I’m fascinated by the idea of creating a watch that celebrates this boundary, this tipping point, this transition from perceptible to imperceptible. The UR-100V UltraViolet is about this exploration of the limits. Our UltraViolet conveys something mystical, it’s a hue that sits on the border of a dimension we call colour.”
Fitted with a rubber strap, the UR-100V UltraViolet picks up the codes of the 100 family and the satellite hours and minutes display is complemented by new information. Once the 60th minute has been reached, the minutes hand vanishes and reappears as a kilometre counter. It illustrates the 555 kilometres travelled every 20 minutes by every inhabitant of Earth. This is in fact the average speed of rotation of the Earth calculated at the Equator (rotational distance).
Price/availability: CHF 55,000. The UR-100V UltraViolet is not a limited edition but rather is restricted solely by Urwerk’s production capacity.