Urwerk UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange - Malcom McDowell's choice
When it comes to independent watch-making and the so-called “de-structured” time display, no other brand can boast such a strong and unconventional image like Urwerk. Design doesn’t drive technique but it is actually a result of it and considering Urwerk as the first manufacturer that has truly revolutionized traditional watch-making is not an overstatement at all. When it comes to traditional or classic watchmaking, proportions, quotas, distances between parts live together in such a well-balanced state that it is as if you should not touch it at all. This is what I define as “the millimeter law” but when it comes to Urwerk this law loses its meaning altogether.
The Urwerk UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange is an operation that ties together a new aesthetic variation of the UR-105 and Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece from the 70s. In a different manner, I can say that both the timepiece and the movie are quite far from normal parameters and the UR-105 can be considered as the basis or the entry door to the Urwerk world, a world that hasn’t been built on tourbillons or minutes repeaters but rather on a special time display that is based on a system made up in this case of four satellites that rotate around the axis of a central wheel and on their very own axis also, while the minutes scale seems to be more traditional and is located on the lower basis of the case.
This is mainly a digital time display and it is the right way forward to reach a “de-structured hours” concept, it is nevertheless a very intuitive method for the human mind that is more used to reading numbers rather than interpreting indirect pieces of information. This was one of the considerations that lies in my opinion at the basis of the concept of time according to Urwerk. From a merely conceptual point of view and without trying to simplify or diminish the base idea of this project, the karussell with the four satellites is not too dissimilar to the movement of a circular carousel.
Before taking a deeper look at the technicalities of a Urwerk UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange, let me please give you my personal view on the aesthetics of this timepiece; it looks like a miniature space ship and the two turbines located on the case-back with their specific technical function, look like two thrusters. It seems like my fantasy is running wild but...
...there is so much source of inspiration here. If I were asked to associate this watch with something more familiar, I would say that it reminds me of a "Bull-Head" chrono due to the elongated shape of the case and the presence of a crown at 12 o’clock. I will leave it to you and your sensations to decide what this timepiece reminds you of as it is now time I talk a bit about the type of technology that Martin and Félix have used on the UR-105 family.
To craft its watches, Urwerk makes quite a heavy use of light materials that are commonly utilized in other sectors like chemical engineering or aeronautic engineering. The satellites are made of forged aluminum and the coating is made of PEEK, an acronym that stands for “PolyEtherEtherketone” -.
The karussell on which the four satellites have been mounted is made of ARCAP treated with ruthenium that has then been micro bead-blasted. The case is made of titanium and is coupled with a stainless steel-made bezel that has undergone a PVD treatment. The UR 5.02 caliber is quite interesting but neither because of its 48 hours of power reserve nor for its 4Hz running frequency but rather because it is adjustable, a characteristic of Urwerk timepieces. If you move the small lever located on the case-back, you can actually adjust the power reserve by applying a "brake" to the turbines that can halt, slow or maximize the barrel’s recharge.
Owning a Urwerk UR-105 TA Clockwork Orange is not a second choice but rather an unconventional decision that involves liking both the style and the concept of this timepiece, these two features, however, are not enough to justify a purchase of 60,000 euro. The design effort that has led to the translation of this idea into reality is humongous and it is wrong to think that a UR-105 is somehow in direct contrast with or even an alternative to tradition since all the non – visible parts of the movement display a finishing that is coherent with tradition itself – like, for instance, those surfaces that sport a Perlage decoration - . It is simply a different vision.
This timepiece is rather a school of thought, the bridge that links together the tradition and the forefront of Swiss watch-making, a concept that is summarized in an item that measures 39,5mm x 53mm x 16.8mm, it is extremely light, comfortable to wear and full of technology, where the concept of client customization moves from the easily-attainable aesthetic side to the more challenging and more interesting mechanic side.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Urwerk; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®