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A rare opportunity to own one of our 'Special Projects' watches is available now from our partners in Singapore The Hour Glass. The linear time UR-111C GunMetal.
We departed from our signature theme of wandering-hour indications for this Special Project. Seventeen dedicated team members worked on the UR-111C, which proved a fiendishly difficult puzzle to solve.
In the URWERK tradition, none of the indications of this UR-111C watch is conventional: The minutes are shown in two different ways - linearly for eyes pleasure and digitally for precision. Never has a roller on the case performed the functions of the crown, nor have the running seconds meandered across a cluster of optical fibres. Nor would it be an authentic URWERK watch if its case didn’t look as if it had been designed by a Sci-fi passionate.
Instead of the conventional crown at the end of the stem, a roller integrated into the top of the case above and parallel to the winding stem. Rolling the long fluted cylinder with your thumb to wind the watch is indeed a new sensation, but making it possible requires miniature gearing, complex articulations and intermediate wheels to connect the controls to the winding stem. The same applies to the original way of setting the time. Instead of pulling out a crown you swing out a lever from the side of the case and turn the roller in either direction.
The hours and two versions of the minutes are displayed within glass sapphire covers along the side of the case so that you can see them at a glance without turning your wrist or letting go of the steering wheel. Again, converting the horizontal movement to a vertical time display required precisely angled transmission with miniature bevel gears. The jumping digital hours and progressive minutes are displayed on rotating truncated cones left and right of the retrograde linear indication of the minutes.
The UR-111C’s digital seconds are mounted alternately on two tiny wheels: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 on one wheel, and 5, 15, 25, 35, 45 and 55 on the other. Each openwork seconds wheel weighs 0.018 grams (0.025g with numerals) — miniature lacework in metal thanks to the LIGA process. The second's numerals look strangely close as they pass across a circular window in sinuous progression. They appear alternately, transported into visual range by a dense cluster of precisely aligned optical fibres, known as an image conduit, positioned a tenth of a millimetre above the numerals. This is a world Première in the watchmaking area!
The final touch of complexity in an already complex machine is its case. The movement with its unique indications, complicated transmission systems and self-winding gear have to be slotted from the side of the case, once the panels have been removed and the time-setting lever dismantled. This is a slow and delicate operation given the tiny clearances and fragile mechanisms.
The various finishes of the case are worthy of note — a harmonious combination of surface textures that have been sanded, shot-blasted, polished or satin-finished. A simple screw can be finished in a number of different ways according to the surface on display.
Felix Baumgartner - “There has to be a strong bond with a mechanism that merges into your wrist. For this reason, we created a new interface with the watch. Instead of the conventional crown, we conceived a roller integrated into the top of the case for a new sensation. We also have a strong bond now with Robert Downey Jnr who selected the UR-111C as his watch of choice for the End Game premier.
Martin Frei - "The UR-111C GunMetal is an intriguing design, in which every detail reveals another to draw you deeper into the soul of your watch. No feature is gratuitous, lines and volumes are meticulously thought out and coordinated into a coherent and harmonious living instrument. It brought great satisfaction knowing Robert Downey Jnr chose URWERK to be in the Marvel universe."