Martin Frei, URWERK’s co-founder and designer is also a self-confessed victim of the lure of gold: “There’s always this little inner voice that reminds me how much I love this metal. Beyond the march of technology, changes in fashion, new functions, new materials; gold is always gold. It’s forever. It’s the metal that lights me up.” The designer’s infatuation for the noblest of materials that lives forever without a stain on its glory is how the UR-105 Raging Gold came to be. A shield of red gold carved in an intriguing pattern serves as the bezel on a titanium case.
“Once again, we try to engage all your senses,” explains Felix Baumgartner, URWERK’s co-founder and master watchmaker. “Our UR-105 “Raging Gold” should not only be a pleasure to look at, but a pleasure to touch. The lines and the texture of the case go back to classic principles. The pattern derives from the hobnail motif “Clou de Paris” that was popular in high-class watches. It’s a little bit like my “Madeleine de Proust”. Embed this little touch of history in a disruptive model gets me a thrill from bringing a conservative style to a revolutionary watch.” confesses Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker and co-founder of Urwerk.
Technically, the UR-105 works on the fundamental concept of Urwerk’s watchmaking, the wandering hour principle, in which each hour travels in turn across a 60-minute arc. This ancient and more intuitive way of telling the time is made easier by a mask made of PEEK, a semi-crystalline polymer, which hides the hours that have completed their 60-minute patrol. The mask is also superbly decorated in proper traditional style.
This 105 version incorporates the latest developments in Urwerk’s constant efforts to add value to the wandering hour principle. The most intricate part of the mechanism, the carousel, which carries the hours in groups of three on four satellite discs, is hidden. It silently and unerringly brings the right hour to the right place at the right time. “In our earlier models,” recalls Felix Baumgartner, “the satellites were mounted on Maltese crosses and suspended from the rotating arms. We’ve found a way to improve on this idea. You can feel the result in your fingertips when you set the time. There’s no friction, no jolts, just the dance of the satellites. Our efforts have been absorbed into a much more fluid transmission.”
On the back of the UR-105, turbines control the self-winding system. Switch the lever to FULL and the winding rotor reacts to your slightest movement to wind the mainspring. In the RED (reduced) position, the rotor’s movements are dampened to avoid excessive tension in the mainspring. In the STOP position the self-winding mechanism is disengaged and the watch can be wound manually with the crown.