Introducing Urwerk UR-100 Electrum Limited EditionBy Revolution
For their latest limited edition to the UR-100 collection, Urwerk founders Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner have decided upon a, let’s say, somewhat forgotten metal which is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver containing trace amounts of copper and other metals. Called Electrum, it’s one of the original precious metals. With its glowing sunshiney hue it was regarded by the ancients as a treasure, coveted among Ancient Greeks, who used it extensively in minting their coinage, and also beloved by Amerindian civilisations and Ancient Egyptians.
This 25-piece edition has a 41mm case made of this lustrous organic gold and scratch resistant palladium alloy. With its bright sunny yellow colour, it features an unusual grooved surface, seen from above to appear like the seating of an ancient amphitheatre with a ringside view of the dial.
You will need to be a bit of a geek to understand how to read this watch. Once the 60th minute has passed, the satellite hour and minute display converts into the unit of distance equivalent to the speed of Earth’s rotation and orbit. The watch calculates Earth’s rotation on its axis at the Equator in 20 minutes, and Earth’s revolution around the sun in 20 minutes. Incidentally, the speed changes if you travel towards the North or South pole.
Earth’s revolution around the sun is approximately 35,740 kilometres per 20 minutes – and it’s displayed exactly opposite the speed of Earth’s rotation at the Equator. On the UR-100 Electrum, hours and kilometres share the same status, the same scale of value. The units are illuminated in bright green for the hours and hot white for the kilometres.
Are you ever likely to need this information in a day-to-day work situation? Perhaps not, but it is exactly the kind of talking point that puts a sunny smile on the faces of fellow Urwerk collectors.
The original concept for this watch came from a clock created by Gustave Sandoz for the World’s Fair as far back as 1893. The distinctive feature is that instead of counting off the hours as is usual for a timepiece, it indicates the distance travelled by the Earth at the Equator. “In my view, a watch is both a physical and abstract reproduction of our situation on Earth. It anchors us to a precise time and longitude, while at the same time testifying to the fleeting nature of that position,” says Martin Frei, Urwerk’s co-founder.
However, with a sobering CHF62,000 price tag for the Urwerk UR-100 in Electrum, there is nothing abstract about how much it will cost to own the bragging rights to this limited edition.
Movement: In-house UR 12.01 calibre, automatic, 39 jewels
Case & Dial: 41mm diameter x 14mm height, satin brushed 18K Electrum yellow gold case
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48h
Functions: Satellite hours, Minutes, Earth’s rotation on its axis at the Equator in 20 minutes, Earth’s revolution around the sun in 20 minutes
Price: CHF 62,000