Blast from the previous! This submit is a “reprint” of an article first revealed on The PuristS method again in 2005.
Half 1: Felix Baumgartner and Urwerk
Many firms got down to wow the general public on the annual Baselworld watch truthful with luxurious cubicles, lavish events, and really often an revolutionary watch or two. Sadly, we are likely to see rather more of the previous than the latter. Not due to lack of will, however proof that even with the large analysis and improvement budgets accessible to the massive manufacturers, conceptualizing and realizing one thing with a horological wow issue isn’t any simple job. Too usually we see the identical outdated factor wearing new garments and being marketed as the subsequent huge factor with a large publicity marketing campaign.
Beneath then CEO Maximilian Büsser, Harry Winston Uncommon Timepieces took one other strategy; with its Opus sequence, it harnessed, nurtured, and promoted the extremely inventive skills of some small impartial watchmakers and, not surprisingly, managed to wow us 5 instances in a row.
The Opus sequence was inaugurated with the Opus 1 by François-Paul Journe in 2001. Antoine Preziuso’s stunning Opus II adopted the 12 months after. The 12 months 2003 noticed the completely authentic, revolutionary and loopy Opus III by Vianney Halter, which confirmed the dangers and dedication Harry Winston was ready to each take and make. Christophe Claret continued the sequence together with his wonderful musical Opus IV in 2004. For extra on the Opus sequence see The Harry Winston Opus Collection: A Full Overview From Opus 1 By Opus 13.
Every of those Opus watches generated monumental publicity and horological respect for Harry Winston, and the Opus V by Felix Baumgartner not solely continued that custom, it rocked the world of haute horology like only a few watches earlier than it.
Adore it or loath it, the Opus V will not be a watch to depart one feeling detached. So it might be price having a better have a look at the group behind the challenge and the watch.
The Baumgartner brothers and Martin Frei
Felix Baumgartner and his brother Thomas are third-generation watchmakers – and also you may almost add a fourth as their great-grandfather labored for a watch firm as effectively, though within the workplace not the workshop.
The Baumgartners grew up in Schaffhausen, the place their father had a store promoting and repairing watches: this was a store he had taken over from his father. Sooner or later, dad got here residence and shocked the household by saying that he had had sufficient; he didn’t like fashionable watches sufficient to dedicate his life to them anymore. He bought the store and devoted himself to his pastime, which was restoring vintage clocks in his atelier.
The atelier was the room beside Felix’s bed room. And together with his father now working at residence all day, Felix, at the moment solely seven years outdated, spent most of his spare time studying and serving to his father. A couple of years later, Thomas (the older of the 2 brothers) began an apprenticeship with IWC as a precision machinist. Felix went on to check watchmaking on the famend watchmaking college in Solothurn. Not surprisingly, he discovered he had a big head begin on his class mates.
In 1995, towards the top of his ultimate 12 months at watch college, Felix noticed an commercial from Svend Andersen, who was in search of a younger watchmaker to hitch him in Geneva. The announcement learn, “Should you want to be impartial then now could be the time to do it!”
Felix had no particular plans at that stage; nevertheless, he did really feel strongly that he needed to be an impartial watchmaker like his father, and the magic phrase “impartial” leapt off the web page. He organized an appointment with Andersen and traveled to Geneva for an interview. Regardless of Felix talking no French at the moment, they received on with English and German (Andersen is quadrilingual).
The interview went effectively and on the finish of the assembly Andersen requested for Baumgartner’s CV; Felix had not ready one as he thought his expertise was not but price writing about. Andersen scribbled Felix’s identify and telephone quantity on a small piece of scrap paper, which he then positioned on a tall pile of impressive-looking CVs.
Extremely, that scrap of paper was not misplaced, and two weeks later Felix was provided the place. He spent the subsequent two and a half years with Andersen.
“When Felix completed watchmaking college in 1995, he got here to me to work as an impartial watchmaker and study French,” Andersen instructed me. “At the moment we began making the well-known erotic automaton watch (see Worldtimers, Erotic Watches, And Poker-Taking part in Canines: AHCI Co-Founder Svend Andersen Has (Semi-)Retired, However His Model Lives On), and Felix developed the method for chopping out arm elements for the automaton figures and getting ready them for portray (whereas additionally working extra technically on a retrograde perpetual calendar). Felix labored right here for almost three years and began to experiment and develop the mechanism for his 101/102 watch.
“His curiosity was additionally in restoring outdated watches and see how they have been made: a vital step for a creator. The final couple of years have seen him actually develop as a distinctive watchmaker. The Opus V is a useful masterpiece, and Felix is a fantastic consultant for the AHCI: he has an actual ‘Academie’ spirit.”
Whereas this was happening, Thomas had accomplished his apprenticeship at IWC and traveled to England the place he spent a few years studying to revive vintage English clocks and about their historical past. A brief interval in his father’s atelier adopted earlier than shifting to Saint-Croix, the place he labored for a couple of years with François Junod designing, setting up, and repairing automatons, together with Jaquet Droz’s well-known Author android.
Thomas then moved to Geneva and arrange a small atelier wherein he continued to work for Junod in addition to different shoppers. After a 12 months, the brothers joined forces and opened up a brand new workshop collectively. Felix continued to work for Andersen; he additionally labored one week monthly for Vacheron Constantin, which helped to pay his payments.
The brothers first mentioned making their very own watch round 1995 as one thing to do for enjoyable. That they had seen too many difficult watches on which they thought that studying the time was tough due to the numerous palms on the dials. They determined to design and assemble a minimalist, fashionable, and revolutionary watch. Primary sketches have been drawn up of a watch with a touring hour.
Martin Frei was an artist who had been a good friend for years, although he was not simply an artist. Frei was an artist who had cherished and picked up watches since childhood, due to this fact it was pure that the Baumgartners clarify their concepts to him and ask for his enter. Frei instantly grasped their idea and drew a couple of sketches, which the brothers cherished. He had give you a really distinctive and new design!
Slowly the sketches change into barely extra refined and a glance emerged. The Baumgartners constructed a metal prototype, which they confirmed to buddies; the response was extraordinarily constructive . . . so that they constructed one other.
In 1997 Thomas and Felix Baumgartner joined Martin Frei, and with 20,000 Swiss francs (roughly $16,000) fashioned their very own firm known as Urwerk. Their philosophy was to develop authentic and revolutionary new problems and to point out that haute horology might embody greater than tourbillons and minute repeaters.
Svend Andersen was looking for younger watchmaking expertise for the AHCI. He was apprehensive that if the affiliation didn’t recruit youthful members as the prevailing members grew older it might simply fade away . In 1997, with Andersen’s help and encouragement, they offered a brass prototype of the UR-101 (representing a gold watch) and a metal prototype of the UR-102 at Baselworld as AHCI candidate members.
The Geneva/Maltese cross in contrast with a star wheel
The unique prototype had used a star wheel association to show the hour disks; this was just like the one utilized in Audemars Piguet’s iconic Starwheel watch. They discovered, nevertheless, that the star wheel system, which has a spring underneath everlasting rigidity on the wheel, had an excessive amount of friction due to that rigidity, which induced it to make use of an excessive amount of vitality. This in flip decreased the ability reserve.
They seemed for options and located that the Geneva cross provided a number of benefits: a lot much less friction as a result of there isn’t any spring rigidity and no tendency to leap an additional step if turned too rapidly. The Geneva cross system does demand a lot tighter manufacturing and meeting tolerances as there has be a slight play between the elements.
The phrases Geneva cross and Maltese cross are interchangeable. Due to doable copyright considerations, Geneva cross is turning into extra generally used.
You’ll be able to view an animation of a Maltese cross utilized in a stopwork mechanism to stop over-winding at www.clockwatch.de.
The Geneva cross system requires extra exacting fabrication tolerances, whereas the star wheel requires extra exact regulation and makes use of extra vitality.
The UR-101/102 watches are minimalist within the excessive: no dial, no palms; nothing a lot that may lead you to imagine it’s a timepiece in any respect. A lonely hour digit strikes throughout a semicircular arc, whereas discrete factors mark the quarters and half-quarters.
If the design of the case and complication was not sufficient to get you into orbit, the UR-101 was dubbed the Millenium Falcon, and the 102 Sputnik, with good purpose: the touring hour seems to be like a satellite tv for pc shifting throughout house. A variant of the 102 known as the Nightwatch had a black, ceramic, anodized aluminum case with platinum again and luminous hour figures.
Even at that embryonic stage, and bear in mind that they had not bought one watch at the moment, Urwerk created a minor scandal among the many traditionalists with its avant-garde watches. Whereas it attracted loads of press protection, gross sales didn’t precisely flood in. Although extra gross sales got here with the metal UR-102 watches, which went into supply a 12 months later.
Utilizing the proceeds from these gross sales, the group constructed a gold watch. And 1998 noticed Urwerk improve gross sales to 2 gold UR-101 watches and eight metal UR-102 fashions. The companions have been overjoyed with the elevated turnover and held a celebration held for every watch bought: fortunately, although, they nonetheless had their day jobs!
From these small beginnings, turnover elevated steadily and has roughly doubled every year.
In 2001 Urwerk made 200 watches for Goldpfeil, which not solely resulted in additional public recognition, it additionally launched the model to Christian Gros, who ran a small, extraordinarily high-quality precision machining firm specializing in watch instances and elements. Urwerk and Christian Gros fashioned a relationship that has endured and deepened to today to the mutual advantage of each events.
The massive 12 months for Urwerk was 2003. Baselworld noticed the corporate presenting its new UR-103 mannequin, which changed the discontinued UR-101/102 fashions. The 103 was a significant evolution of the earlier fashions because the hours have been now proven by three-dimensional satellites on the backside of the dial permitting for studying the time at a look, i.e., with out having to show the wrist.
The again of the watch noticed the Management Board make its debut. This enabled Urwerk to maintain the dial clear and clutter-free whereas offering helpful (however not usually used) problems. Revolutionary capabilities such because the precision adjustment displayed on the again of the watch allows the consumer to fantastic tune the watch’s regulation ahead or backward as much as 30 seconds per day. A 15-minute and second dial permits for exact time-setting.
The UR-103 was not solely a way more subtle and upmarket evolution of earlier fashions; it additionally attracted a a lot bigger pool of shoppers and admirers . . . and among the many latter was Maximilian Büsser, managing director of Harry Winston Uncommon Timepieces.
Half 2: Harry Winston Uncommon Timepieces and the Opus V
Maybe emboldened by the very constructive response at Baselworld 2003 for his or her new UR-103, the Baumgartners paid a go to to the Harry Winston sales space and launched themselves to then managing director Maximilian Büsser. Whereas it might effectively have been a spur of the second, pleasant social name, the Baumgartners have been conscious that Büsser was man to know. The brothers have been effectively acquainted with Vianney Halter; in truth that they had acted as sponsors for Halter’s candidacy into the AHCI a couple of years earlier than. Halter and Büsser have been behind the mind-blowing Opus III.
Additional discussions with Büsser adopted in Geneva, and each events’ curiosity in collaboration grew. Büsser needed to alternate a loopy Opus mannequin with a extra conventional one. Halter’s Opus III was as zany and loopy as they arrive; Christophe Claret’s reversible Opus IV with tourbillon, cathedral gong minute repeater, date, and an enormous central moon section was a conventional mannequin (in what different sequence of watches however the Opus might a watch like that be known as conventional?). Büsser was looking out for somebody who might assume outdoors of the field to create the Opus V.
By the center of 2003, Büsser determined that Urwerk had all of the qualities he was in search of. Urwerk put three preliminary proposals to Harry Winston; the primary was thought of too dangerous in a technical sense to finish in the timeframe accessible (see The Urwerk Opus 5 For Harry Winston That Virtually Was); the second had the time going previous on a kind of steady band; the third confirmed the little cubic satellites. The latter was the one chosen.
Frei drew up additional sketches on the satellite tv for pc theme, and at last the structure of that radical system was agreed upon. Büsser had pressured that central to the Opus sequence was the merger of the “DNA” of Harry Winston and the impartial watchmaker. Feeling that the satellites represented Urwerk, they consequently looked for a complication to symbolize Harry Winston. As Harry Winston is well-known for its use of retrogrades, the concept of a retrograde minute quickly emerged – a choice Baumgartner almost got here to remorse!
Options and proposals flew backwards and forwards, and by the top of the 12 months the ultimate design was agreed. The top end result was very a lot a partnership with Harry Winston contributing important design components to the case, together with the crown cowl and the again of the watch.
Urwerk and Harry Winston now had simply over 12 months wherein to show a technical drawing of one thing by no means dreamed of earlier than – not to mention constructed – right into a functioning and dependable timepiece.
Right here Urwerk’s relationship with Christian Gros greater than proved its worth. Thomas Baumgartner had determined to return to a quieter life in Schaffhausen, and Felix, in search of a brand new atelier, moved into some spare house at Gros’s workshop. Having a world-class case and part-making precision machine store just about on faucet, was important to the standard and punctuality of the ultimate product.
Anyone underneath the impression that the usage of fashionable CNC machines makes manufacturing elements little one’s play could also be shocked to study that simply programming, tooling, organising the CNC machine, and making the 100 base plates for the motion took a group of three almost three months. And that was for only one half!
As soon as the technical particulars of guaranteeing that working the Geneva crosses on the satellites at 90 levels to the norm was labored out, the satellite tv for pc system progressed comparatively easily. Baumgartner invented an ingenious and easy answer (now patented) for working the satellites with Geneva crosses; the satellites perform as their very own crosses.
The retrograde minute, alternatively, proved rather more troublesome. Retrograde mechanisms are historically managed from the middle axis; within the case of the Opus V, the middle of the retrograde was occupied by one other complication – the satellite tv for pc system. Baumgartner knew of no different retrograde mechanism that handled one other complication in its middle and, due to this fact, had no technical reference to go by. This was breaking fully new floor.
Baumgartner had already solved the issue months earlier than . . . on paper, that’s. The minute hand could be hooked up to a large-diameter precision ball-bearing encircling the satellite tv for pc system and powered by a double star. The issue was that specialist micro bearing producers instructed him repeatedly that making a large-diameter ball bearing with such a skinny cross part was not possible.
Inconceivable? The phrase isn’t in Baumgartner’s vocabulary.
From a design sense, the minute hand is on the left of the hour indications for a lot of causes: firstly, technically it is sensible on the left; secondly, aesthetically it helps to stability the visible weight of the hour satellites on the suitable; thirdly, Urwerk’s analysis confirmed a robust desire for time indicators shifting in a clockwise course. Inserting the minute hand on the left allowed Urwerk to fulfil all three standards.
Finally Baumgartner discovered somebody who managed to develop the strategies to make the bearing. Nonetheless, when it was trialed in a prototype, he discovered that the 12 mm (1/2”) traction spring that returns the retrograde – itself a non-traditional answer – was too sturdy; this induced giant variations in torque throughout the arc of the minute hand and used far an excessive amount of vitality overcoming the spring. The answer was to make a spring with a smaller-diameter wire, nevertheless, they have been already on the restrict of the doable with a minuscule cross part of 0.1 mm (100 microns).
He experimented with ever-decreasing wire diameters till he obtained the traits he wanted at 0.05 mm (50 microns) or half what was beforehand regarded as the underside restrict. Sadly, to get these excellent springs meant throwing away 90 % of them. Acquiring the traction springs wanted for the 100 Opus V watches necessitated testing every considered one of a 1,000 springs and rejecting 900 of them.
Observe: to place the diameter of the 50-micron wire of the traction spring in perspective, the common human hair is 70-100 microns.
As Felix Baumgartner defined, “Lower than two months earlier than Baselworld I used to be nonetheless unsure if I’d be capable of have these traction springs made to the specs I wanted. I used to be sure that the motion would work; nevertheless, there have been a few little doubts at that stage as as to whether it might work in time.”
The painstaking effort was price it as a result of the retrograde mechanism ended up utilizing solely 15 % of the motion’s energy. This, coupled with extremely tight tolerances and precision within the manufacture and meeting of elements, resulted within the watch having a five-day energy reserve. There are usually not many comparatively “easy” watches round with a five-day energy reserve, not to mention one with a fancy three-dimensional satellite tv for pc system turning over two axes, an especially giant retrograde minute (presumably the biggest ever made) shifting throughout 120 levels, a day/evening indicator, an influence reserve indicator, and a service interval indicator. It is a really unimaginable feat and testomony to the standard of design and development.
Three specifically formed springs underneath the satellite tv for pc system not solely allow the entire system to be turned counterclockwise with out injury, in addition they allow the deliberate playful bounce of the minute hand when it returns to zero.
Many elements have been machined from ARCAP P40 as a result of it’s an especially resistant and steady alloy. ARCAP is a copper nickel alloy that’s extra steady (and costly) than brass and doesn’t corrode; brass is normally plated with gold, rhodium, or palladium.
The particular end, wherein the elements are micro blasted after which polished with a fantastic cashmere brush, is rewarding upon shut examination underneath varied mild sources: generally it sparkles like a finely lower stone and generally like polished marble. This very distinctive end make the symptoms simpler to learn (with little mirrored glare) and contrasts completely with the few highly-polished surfaces.
The large trying minute hand is definitely additionally fabricated from ARCAP and has a hollowed out again. Whereas titanium would have been lighter, Baumgartner most popular ARCAP as a result of it was doable to fabricate the minute hand with an especially sharp level and to make use of the identical diamantée end as the remainder of the polished surfaces. Urwerk’s signature fantastic adjustment screw sits discreetly on the again the place the proprietor can regulate the accuracy +/- 15 seconds per day.
Half 3: The Urwerk 103.03
As if a challenge of the complexity of the Opus V wouldn’t be sufficient to maintain anybody busy for a 12 months or two, Baumgartner and Frei additionally discovered time to design and assemble a significant evolution of the 103. This watch, the 103.03, is in my view, their greatest mannequin up to now. Whereas their earlier watches have been space-age, minimalist, and useful time machines (with the emphasis on machine), the targa-shaped crystal on the 103.03 transforms it from watch that shocked due to its distinctive design into a very gorgeous watch.
The 103.03 was a radical re-think of the Urwerk philosophy in addition to the look. Till this mannequin, the concept had all the time been to point out solely absolutely the minimal on the dial. It was solely because the design developed that Frei and Baumgartner realized how rather more was added visually in exhibiting the way it all labored. The big crystal offers one other main benefit over earlier fashions in that it’s rather more immune to scratches than a totally metallic cowl.
Urwerk’s strengths embrace the truth that designer Martin Frei doesn’t come from a horological or technical background. Unshackled by realizing what’s believed to be technically possible permits his creativeness to roam with out restrict; he can focus purely on artwork and kind. To bodily manufacture the advanced crystal he designed for the 103.03 stretched the very limits of the doable – par for the course from Frei. Throughout the type of the crystal are a sequence of advanced curves making manufacturing extraordinarily tough. The shape first runs parallel to the rotating satellite tv for pc after which flattens out barely to match the decreased curve on the high of the case. Tough by itself, that was truly the simple half!
Urwerk requested 5 specialists in crystal manufacture to make prototypes: 4 failed fully and one had solely very restricted success. The issue was chopping the inside chunk from the crystal the place it faces the crown. Whereas exterior cuts and shapes are comparatively simple, inside cuts are extraordinarily problematic. Additional analysis and improvement meant that whereas these elaborate kinds are actually doable, the reject price remains to be one in two. For each 100 watches Urwerk makes, it orders 200 crystals and throws half of them away.
Brass is among the commonest metals utilized in watch element manufacture; nevertheless, it’s normally plated with gold, rhodium or palladium to attenuate tarnish. Urwerk fabricates many parts from ARCAP P40 as an alternative. ARCAP is an especially resistant copper-nickel alloy that’s stabler (and costlier) than brass and doesn’t corrode like brass. That intriguing end, made by micro blasting the elements then sprucing them with a fantastic goat-hair brush, is a novel Urwerk specialty. As well as, the dials of the gold fashions obtain a coating of black PVD, whereas the restricted version platinum fashions have perlage.
The look of the Management Board on the again brings us nearer to earth, however not too shut: simply from outer house to a low earth orbit. The dials on the again are literally black; nevertheless, when caught at sure angles to the sunshine, the anti-reflective coating on the crystal makes them look blue.
One uncommon characteristic in regards to the motion on this watch is that it’s the other way up. The minutes, seconds, and energy reserve on the Management Board (again) are literally on what could be usually the dial aspect of the motion. The satellites on high are pushed by a tiny 0.3 mm pinion that passes via a friction-fit gap within the middle wheel.
The long run?
And the longer term? Properly, we must wait and see, although one factor is for certain: no matter else Urwerk has in retailer for us subsequent 12 months, it’s unlikely to be boring. It is a firm the place pondering out of the field is simply commonplace working process and the not possible merely means attempting once more a bit tougher.
If Urwerk might give you a watch just like the 103.03 whereas growing, setting up, and managing a challenge just like the Opus V, what may they give you in a “quiet” 12 months?
And that ought to have been the top of this three-part trilogy; nevertheless . . .
Half 4: The Urwerk 103.03 Person Evaluate
As I used to be on the brink of go away from my final go to to Urwerk, I mentioned one thing to Felix Baumgartner alongside the strains of, “I actually like your 103.03, nevertheless it’s a disgrace it’s far too huge for my small wrists.” He replied that he thought that the watch wore very comfortably on small wrists – together with his personal – and why don’t I take his (watch) residence for a few weeks and take a look at it out for myself?
Not needing to be requested twice (and apprehensive he may change his thoughts), right here I’m every week later typing away together with his white gold 103.03 on my wrist and sore facial muscle groups from a fortnight of steady smiling.
Warning! As I fixed the watch to my wrist in Urwerk’s atelier, I seen from the nook of my eye a fleeting motion above and behind Felix’s workbench. Turning rapidly, I used to be simply in time to see the final vestige of my objectivity fly out the window. For these in search of, or anticipating, a disspassionate and goal evaluate, I want you the easiest of luck in your quest . . . as a result of you will see treasured little hint of that right here.
Please word: the watch I evaluate right here is Felix Baumgartner’s personal watch and is a prototype (due for a service). It doesn’t have any anti-reflective coating on the crystal and please don’t be too harsh if my photos have highlighted any grime, mud, or scratches.
Whereas I’m an unabashed fan of this timepiece, I’m not in any respect a fan of huge watches. I’ve tiny wrists (17 centimeters or simply over 6 ¾ inches) and I’ve by no means felt snug carrying something bigger than a 38 mm watch. The truth is, when Felix made the provide, I used to be carrying a classic ultra-thin Vacheron Constantin Caliber 103 that’s 33 mm in diameter and so mild that it might float off the wrist if not for the strap holding it down. Taking that off and changing it with a 50 mm lengthy, 128-gram time machine was a substantial shock to the decrease arm . . . for about 5 minutes. After that, it felt prefer it had all the time been there.
The next feedback have been made after carrying the watch just about 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. I’ve a reasonably diversified and lively life-style – most likely rather more lively than Felix realized – and the watch has accompanied me whereas working with horses each day (together with cleansing stables), driving tractors, flying in helicopters, a cocktail party, (go well with and tie) enterprise conferences, and press conferences. Not a typical fortnight, I’ll admit, nevertheless, the 103.03 by no means seemed or felt misplaced as soon as. I discovered it a really snug, easy-to-wear watch in all these conditions and I don’t bear in mind having ever worn a watch as versatile earlier than.
By any requirements, at 50 mm lengthy, 36 mm huge, and 13.5 mm excessive, it is a giant watch: but I used to be shocked not solely how effectively proportioned it seemed on my wrist, but additionally how snug it was to put on. One drawback that I’ve with bigger watches is that the lugs prolong straight out previous the curve of my wrist; this normally leads to both the watch both shifting ahead (down the arm) and the crown pushing into the again of my hand or it slides round my wrist and finally ends up the other way up – neither of which has occurred (or feels more likely to occur) with the 103.03.
So why doesn’t it look so huge? I imagine that is because of two major design options. From the wearer’s major level of the view, the watch is barely 36 mm throughout and it doesn’t actually have a crown out to the aspect, which normally makes that dimension look even wider. And whereas a thickness of 13.5 mm could seem substantial, that is solely within the very middle of the case: at each ends the case tapers right down to the wrist giving an total look of a a lot thinner watch. Often it’s not the diameter that makes a watch look huge and hulking to my eyes, however the top.
As the pictures above present, the 103.03 doesn’t seem like an outsized watch; nevertheless, does it put on like one? In a phrase, no. Even with my small wrists, the watch could be very snug and wears like a a lot smaller mannequin. I imagine this is because of a lot of components:
1. Whereas the watch is 50 mm in total size, that does embrace the built-in lugs. The strap pins are “solely” 43 mm aside, which implies that the lugs don’t prolong previous the curve of the wrist.
2. The strap could be very huge (30 mm on the pins), which gives a really steady base and a snug feeling on the wrist. The load is distributed over each a big floor space of watch and strap.
3. Whereas trying on the case edgeways gives the look that the bottom of the watch truly curves up and away from the wrist at every finish, in actuality it hugs the wrist by curving down and round it, leading to a really cosy and safe match. This intelligent feat is made doable by inserting one of many lugs under the watch and complementing that with an angled kind jutting as much as the big crown.
One other huge design characteristic is that huge crown. It’s relativity discreet when seen from above because the crenelations match the grooves within the high of the case. The pleasure comes from viewing that imposing kind from the again and really winding the motion. I’ve by no means loved winding a watch as a lot as this one and located myself wishing, for the primary time in my life, that the ability reserve was shorter!
Whereas the winding mechanism has been particularly strengthened to keep away from any doable over-enthusiastic over winding of that giant crown, I discovered that it is extremely simple to really feel when the motion is totally wound because it stops fairly clearly when it has had sufficient.
Anticipating that telling the time wouldn’t be as intuitive as studying a classical watch, I used to be shocked as soon as once more. Inside twelve hours of carrying the 103.03, I discovered myself not a lot studying the time as merely noting the place of the satellite tv for pc; a lot as we do when glancing at a standard dial. A serious (and deliberate) benefit of Urwerk’s design is that you simply by no means need to tilt your wrist towards you to see the time; even when driving you may normally see very clearly the place the hour satellite tv for pc is and know the time at a look.
One other surprising end result from carrying this watch has been that I’ve discovered that I don’t normally must know the time as exactly as I as soon as thought. When carrying a watch with commonplace palms and dial, I’m as fussy as anybody in checking the time in opposition to an atomic clock at common intervals or feeling a bit peeved if I’m reminded that my watch is a few minutes out. Whereas it it simple to inform the precise time in the event you really feel you want it, with the the 103.03, I discover myself within the behavior of simply taking a look at which fifteen-minute interval it’s in fairly than bothering with something extra exact. Until I’ve a practice to catch, I can see myself needing not more than the hours and half-hours earlier than lengthy.
As a lot as I’m biased in the direction of the watch, within the quest for balanced reporting I’ve searched excessive and low for flaws . . . and imagine I’ve discovered one, a really small one. Whereas not everyone will spend as a lot time as I’ve trying on the Management Board with a loupe or macro lens, my very own expertise has revealed that it’s fiddly to (completely) clear the perimeters of the dials the place they meet the bottom plate. If the crystal was flat with the bottom plate, that “drawback” could be eradicated.
Whereas in no way ostentatious, particularly in white gold or platinum, that is the primary watch I’ve ever worn the place I’ve seen strangers surreptitiously glancing at my wrist attempting to work out what it’s I’m carrying . . . and the braver of them even asking. Buddies who wouldn’t blink an eyelid at a $300,000 repeater – due to ignorance, not being blasé – instantly need to know what the watch does and the way it works, and it offers me a lot pleasure to reveal.
There may be nevertheless one very main flaw with this watch; I’ve to offer it again!
“Higher to have cherished and misplaced . . . .” I inform myself. With out a lot conviction.
Thanks very a lot, Felix, for trusting me along with your child. It has really been my pleasure.
For extra data, please go to www.urwerk.com/en.
Fast Details Urwerk 103.03
Case: 50 (together with lugs) x 36 x 13.5 mm, white gold
Motion: handbook winding Caliber UR-3.03, 3 Hz / 21,600 vph, hour satellites in grade 2 titanium with black PVD coating, orbital cross in grade 2 titanium
Capabilities (entrance): wandering hours on cone-shaped satellites indicating minutes
Capabilities (again): Management Board, 15-minute dial, seconds dial, 43-hour energy reserve indicator, fine-tuning screw (adjustment +/- 30 seconds per day)
Worth: $30,000 – $40,000 on the secondary market, relying on mannequin and situation
* This text was first revealed on ThePuristS in 2005 and on Quill & Pad on March 19, 2018 at Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk, Harry Winston, And The Opus V: The place On Earth Did That Come From? Plus UR-103.03 Person Evaluate.