Found One Of Two Urwerk UR-103 Prototypes In Stainless Steel
Just envision seeing this watch at the Baselworld reasonable in 2003. It would have been practically unrecognizable as a watch by and large. Urwerk began in 1996, yet its UR-101 and UR-102 watches were still moderately little, round-cased pieces that, to the undeveloped eye, actually worked as “conventional” watches. F.P. Journe’s Chronomètre à Résonance and Vianney Halter’s Antiqua were a couple of years old; Richard Mille, De Bethune, and the Harry Winston Opus program had quite recently dispatched; MB&F was as yet a couple of years away. The watch world was a substantially more traditionalist spot, and the UR-103 clarified that another age had shown up – and they were here to play.
Never damages to be number one.
But the UR-103 we have here isn’t one of numerous cycles of creation watches delivered over the resulting seven years in an assortment of valuable metals and with an assortment of elaborate case wraps up. No, this is significantly more exceptional than that. This is UR-103 Prototype #1, and it’s the very watch appeared to planned retailers at Baselworld 2003 to persuade them to take a flyer on Urwerk’s wild new creation. There were three absolute models, two appeared at Baselworld 2003 and one delivered later in front of the full creation. The previous are in tempered steel, as the brand didn’t have the funding to put aside gold watches before request installments came in, and the last is in gold and was fundamentally a quality control check in front of the last case fabricating. Watch number two sits in the Urwerk document, however this one is in the private assortment of watch vendor and gatherer Steve Hallock, who sympathetically imparted the news to me half a month prior when he procured it. You can see his own insights on the watch here. Furthermore, no, the watch is not available to be purchased. Try not to even ask.
The UR-103 model on the wrist of its present proprietor in Los Angeles.
How did the watch make as its would prefer from the AHCI corner in Basel to Steve’s assortment in LA? It’s quite straightforward, really. The watch was initially offered to the proprietor of probably the soonest retailer, Westime, additionally in Los Angeles, likely as a demonstration of appreciation for their initial help. A long time later, Westime sold the watch on to a customer, and it advanced from that point to Steve recently. There’s no tomfoolery here, and Urwerk cheerfully affirmed with me that this is indeed watch number one and that it’s been in acceptable hands the entire time. Regularly with watches that fall into the “legend” class, that is not the situation, so it’s acceptable to see a spotless paper trail here so we understand what we’re managing with.
“The UR-103 is maybe the main present day autonomous watch, both to me in my personal journey in this industry and to the ensuing history of what I like to call ‘contemporary Horology,'” says Hallock. “It could just have come from outcasts to the customary framework, which is by and large how extraordinary innovation happens in the public arena. Making it required outrageous determination, enterprising nature, and inventiveness to sneak through. Its makers did whatever it took to make what they trusted in. Additionally, it is amazingly uncommon for brands to make models this way. That it exists at all is a result of the novel Urwerk story and recorded planning. Typically, this soul of inventiveness is uniquely circulated all through a brand or a model, yet for this situation, it is completely moved in this one watch.”
The UR-103 began another plan heading for Urwerk.
Notice the red force hold hand up top–it was hand-painted with nail polish.
The satellite sign was something never seen before.
The essential bones and guts of the UR-103 are altogether here and represented. The case shape is as it ought to be, but in treated steel and with somewhat crude, modern style completing to it; the development is as it ought to be; the presentations are by and large present, from the pivoting satellite circles in advance to the soonest “control board” show on the opposite of the watch. In any case, there are a couple of little eccentricities that further set this model apart.
There are two amazingly enchanting mannerisms on the rear of this UR-103. To begin with, the hands on the minutes and seconds shows don’t coordinate. One is gold-plated, one isn’t. The day preceding Baselworld, Urwerk’s provider neglected to convey the last gold hand required for the control board, and fellow benefactor Felix Baumgartner needed to extemporize. He pulled a hand off a standard ETA development, slice it down to estimate himself, and fitted it to the watch. There was neither the time nor the assets to plate it to coordinate its companion. Yet, that is not by any means the only abnormal hand on the rear of the watch. The force hold marker utilizes a red seconds hand. There was no cash to pay for a provider to make one red hand, so they utilized Baumgartner’s sibling’s better half’s nail clean to paint a standard hand red. The hand isn’t metal – it’s plastic. Capricious? Sure. Yet, it landed the position done.
The control board on the opposite has become a Urwerk signature.
Making this watch gave the yearning youthful company various difficulties. This watch was the main Urwerk that used a more three-dimensional, building case development. The UR-101 and 102 cases were initially hand-lathed by Baumgartner’s sibling, however that was inconceivable with the UR-103. This implied they needed to bring CNC machines and 3-D plan devices in with the general mish-mash, which accompanied their own arrangement of difficulties and advantages. Martin Frei, Baumgartner’s fellow benefactor and the one to a great extent liable for the UR-103’s plan, was living in Brooklyn, New York, at that point, and this implied he required a computer to design out this new case. Frei requested a computer from the amazing camera and gadgets store B&H and stood by calmly, yet it won’t ever appear. As it ended up, it had unintentionally been conveyed to a problematic workshop elsewhere in the stockroom complex and his landowner never tried to advise him. Fortunately, he discovered it before another person scooped it up. Could you envision if Urwerk had gone down because of a straightforward lost package?
With a plan sorted out, at that point came making the genuine cases and components themselves. That wasn’t consistent either, however there were some upbeat mishaps. “On the sides, where one ganders at the cleaned, wing-profiled surfaces, you see the state of the round fundamental body stand apart a small piece,” says Frei. “The broadening carries are marginally less wide. This detail originates from an error, an uncertain development. I preferred that inadvertently happening botch quickly and chose to utilize it for the piece. As I would like to think, it’s essential to permit opportunity to be a piece of design.”
Some of Frei’s most punctual hand-drawn portrayals for what might become the UR-103. Notice they’re dated 1999 and that they were done in New York.
But pushing limits and managing these good and bad times turned into a vital piece of Urwerk’s methodology. “I simply wanted to investigate the restrictions of horology,” says Baumgartner. “What’s more, coincidentally, I still do.”
While this watch clearly gigantically affected the watchmaking scene everywhere, it was additionally a very close to home task for Baumgartner and Frei. They began dealing with the UR-103 decisively in mid 2002, after almost covering the company through and through. Autonomous watchmaking is an extreme business, and a couple of unpleasant tempests had hit them at the same time. Yet, they chose to give it one more attempt, and the UR-103 was represent the moment of truth for Urwerk. It’s additionally significant that this is as of now over five years after the establishing of the company. They were at that point in beautiful profound. So when the entryways opened at Baselworld 2003, you’d excuse them for holding their breath a piece. Fortunately, things worked out, and they had orders rolling in by that evening (4:00 PM was the principal handshake bargain, as indicated by the pair), and the rest is, as is commonly said, history.
The watch that made Urwerk what it is today.
I got some information about their recollections of the watch, it actually holds a unique spot for both. “I love it actually,” says Frei, who was generally liable for the watch’s plan. “It contains the time where we made it, and every one of its perspectives reveal to me that story and its importance once more. Life is caught in it.” Baumgartner feels similarly. “Just put it on your wrist – you promptly get another vibe for what a watch can be,” he says. “The UR-103 is an achievement in the present way to deal with haute horlogerie. It’s clearly not by any means the only one, however it’s a lovely cool one.”
I couldn’t concur more.
For more on the historical backdrop of Urwerk, visit urwerk.com .