Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking

Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking

Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking   watch releases

Urwerk has finally unveiled its EMC watch after teasing the movement back in May. If you'll recall, the EMC (Electro Mechanical Control) watch is a mechanical timepiece with a uniquely designed electronic module that acts as a rate measuring tool. On top of that, the movement has a fine adjustment screw that allows for you to adjust the rate results of the watch yourself. Confused? In short, Urwerk EMC is a watch with a movement you can fine tune yourself (for accuracy) and comes with a built-in tool that measures how accurate it is. Nothing like this has even been done before, and perhaps, no one ever will again.

Watch service people and watchmakers use electronic timing tools to measure how accurate mechanical movements are. When watch movements are produced they are initially "regulated" and things like shock, temperature, etc... can change how well a watch movement is regulated over time. Most watches should be put on timing machines each few years and potentially adjusted by skilled hands. Some hardcore collectors even have their own timing machines. All of this is in the pursuit of knowing just how accurate your watches are, and trying to tweak them a bit. We discussed this much more in our initial article on the EMC watch linked above.

Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking   watch releases

The real issue comes down to the fact that while you can obsessively check the accuracy of a mechanical watch as often as you like, there is only so much accuracy you can get out of a mechanical movement. Quartz movements are much more accurate, but you can't adjust those. So for example, a super accurate mechanical watch is accurate to about 1 second a day. And that is a super accurate mechanical watch. The crappiest quartz watches are at least twice as accurate as that. Most mechanical watches that have COSC Chronometer certification are accurate to about 5 seconds a day.

What this means is that offering a set of built-in regulation tools is a bit of a tease because no matter how carefully you measure and adjust the watch, it will only be so accurate. Urwerk of course uses top components and testing practices in producing the mechanical EMC movements. The movements feature 80 hours of power reserve and operate at 4Hz (28,800 bph). While the movements are regulated within "chronometer range," they still are subject to the basic limitations of a mechanical watch movement.

Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking   watch releases

The actual movement of the Urwerk EMC is 100% traditional and mechanical. Though Urwerk design is modern and many of them materials are new and exotic, this is a classic manually wound watch movement. Next to the movement however is the rate monitoring equipment, which is electronic - though Urwerk wanted to make sure the watch had no battery. Why no battery? Because luxury watches don't have batteries. Instead, there is a capacitor and hand-crank generator that allows you to produce enough energy manually to power the system. It begins with a few cranks (like starting up an old - very old - car) and then pressing a button to begin the timing measurement.

After three seconds of looking at the balance wheel, a small yet sensitive optical sensor calculates the data and a reading is displayed on an analog scale on the dial of the watch. It shows you whether the rate result (in that position) is off by up to plus or minus 20 seconds. The hand crank folds away nicely into the case, and it is a good thing that while there is a small computer in the watch, there is no sign of anything "digital" on the dial. If the watch is off and you think you can adjust it, then a small tool or screwdriver is used to make fine adjustments to the balance wheel via a screw on the back of the watch.

Urwerk EMC Watch: For Mobile Accuracy Tweaking   watch releases

We have to admire the elegance of the system in terms of conceptual execution. Merely being able to produce this watch is a technical feat that Urwerk should be proud of. Though it is difficult to deny the quixotic pursuit of the concept in general. Probably the most important element of the EMC is how it encourages user interactivity. A major theory we have in why mechanical watches are more sought after by collectors than quartz movements is because the human eye can see and admire what makes a mechanical watch work. You can see a balance wheel moving, you can see gears turning. There is something very captivating about viewing and understanding personally how a mechanical watch works. Quartz watches, and items such as phones and computers will never have that type of emotional connection because the internal mechanisms that actually allow them to work are beyond our physical ability to see. We can understand the principles of how they work, and look at the parts, but we can never really see electricity moving through circuits and transistors doing their job. Mechanical watches don't try to hide their secrets as much.

So Urwerk has taken people's passion for mechanical watches to a new level by allowing people to tinker with the accuracy of a movement themselves, as well as know how accurate the movement is on the fly. It is of course important to mention that recently watch maker Bulova released its Calibrator collection of watches that also feature the ability to finely adjust their mechanical movement. Though the Bulova of course does not feature a built-in Witshi-style rate result machine.

14 comments
RaoMak1
RaoMak1

That is one hell of a play toy. Truly fascinating, the price though startled me.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

It would be [a lot] nicer if there were no electrical bits at all. You could still allow for people to regulate their own watch, but only with tools that come along with the watch. You know, a watch adjusted in 22 positions --- by the owner.

nealdives
nealdives

Absolutely amazing. I don't think I could stop playing with this incredible timepiece.

Emperius
Emperius

Absolutely stunning, just like their hydraulic little beasts.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

What an uber toy. Notice that the rate difference indicator is larger than the hour & minutes time display. Obviously, playing with it is more important than simply telling time with it.

pkansa
pkansa

Totally unnecessary?  Absolutely!  Very cool?  Absolutely!  This is the sort of thing that would make for a watch that you'd want to play around with all day long.  Of course, at those prices, I'd be torn between playing with the timing check, and keeping it firmly strapped to my wrist.

Ryan B
Ryan B

Pretty sure a lot of us spend many hours just looking at our watch movements, so what could be better than admiring the beauty of the movement as well as tinkering with the accuracy? Just give me this watch, a glass of scotch in a cozy place and I would be alright for quite a while .... until I need more scotch.

Panagiotis
Panagiotis

Bless them and their little mechanical hearts

DangerussArt
DangerussArt

That's the stupidest thing I've ever fallen in live with. I'm obsessing over the little hand crank - that's so awesome looking. The whole thing is mad and brilliant at the same time. A few less zeroes in the price please.

JonnyD
JonnyD

You really do have to admire the technical achievement of the EMC and the commitment involved in bringing it to production. I love the fact that there is no digital display on the dial. I feel it is very much a collector's piece, as it is hardly a daily wearer or beater. I could see someone wearing it at weekends or to collectors' meetings. It is a watch for the owner to enjoy on a very personal level.

Lesthepom
Lesthepom

Like the stupidly insane super cars if you can aford one why not its just a big boys toy ( sorry Urwerk for saying your creation is just a toy ) it would be in my toy box if I could aford it

I think the concept is brilliant and would be fun to play with I know a $50.00 quartz is more acuret but that's not the point the interaction with the winder would be a highlife of your day I don't really understand all the techno bits in the watch I am shure you could fill a whole web sight with the tech bits

Will you get a hands on with the watch Ariel it would be interesting to se a video and some wrist shots I like the exploded diagram I have been told Rolex don't put display backs on ther watches to protect the movement from people copying them and then tou get a company that gives you a picture like that with all the parts in order may put that on mt phone as a background image :-)

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

A stunningly crafted and assembled machine.  Every part looks perfect.  Not be sound like an ass, but mechanical Grand Seikos have been reported capable of more like half a second per day - and GS quartz models CAN be adjusted, probably other models too.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The URWERK EMC ($120,000) is one of the watches that make me scratch my head. There are probably just a hand full of people around the work who will actually buy this watch and personally I’m not sure how it’s possible for a watch to be worth this much money. The one thing I do know is the attention to detail and the design are simply amazing. Some of the technical details include a 43mm x 53mm crown, a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, manual winding and a 80 hours of power reserve. You can check out more pictures after the break and an in depth review here. […]