I recently discussed Urwerk's brand new UR-210 watch with their interesting new "winding efficiency indicator" complication. The idea of the new complication was to tell you if you were winding the movement enough, or if you needed to be more active. I quipped that it was a complication to remind you to get up off your butt and move around. More recently I got to get my hands on one of the first UR-210 pieces. My overall report is that with or without the new complication, this is one cool Urwerk.
The last new Urwerk watch before the UR-210 was the UR-110 (which we covered hands-on here). They called the UR-110 the "Torpedo" and it was an interesting but visually strange watch with odd dimensions. Though, I did appreciate its design experimentation and technical achievements. With the UR-210 there is a return to wonderful wearability and design beauty, combined with technical excellence. This watch is most perfectly what Urwerk timepieces are all about.
The unique looking titanium case is long and almost 44mm wide. It does however look wonderful and sits comfortably on the wrist. Spacey and futuristic, this is what high-end modern design should be all about. What I also really like is how the futuristic theme of the case is continued in the movement and vice versa. You can also thank the thick custom padded strap for a lot of the wearing comfort. Last, the case parts are well-machined and very precise in their shape and finishing.
Urwerk calls the movement their UR-7.10. It is an automatic with 39 hours of power reserve and some unique functions. Let's talk about the automatic winding system to begin with. You don't see the rotor as it is hidden, but you do see a pair of turbine shaped gears that turn with the rotor. Actually, they don't both turn all the time. You'll notice that on the rear of the watch is a selector wheel. Using your thumb you can switch it to "Full, Reduced, and Stop." These either allow the rotor to fully spin, spin with some resistance, or be locked. There has been some discussion on why you would need this.
An automatic winding system is inherently weak and during shock or extreme forces it can break. As a sort of "well we might as well include it" feature, Urwerk wanted to make the automatic winding system more interactive. Fully stopping the rotor will stop automatic winding, but will also feasibly protect the movement during certain sport activities. Reducing the efficiency of the spinning engages an additional gear (which is part of the "Turbine Control" system, and slows down the winding. This is useful if you are doing things like playing golf or other activities and want to slow the rotor to protect it. The rest of the time you can keep it on "full." It is easy to say that "well with such an expensive watch why would you wear it when it might break." I would agree. Not only that but the system requires you to plan in advance if you are going to take it into danger. Talk about an extremely horological lifestyle. In the end it is a sort of fun complication - that again - is meant to increase interactivity with your high-end luxury timepieces.
Having a power reserve indicator of course makes the "stop" function for the Turbine Control system more practical. I learned that the winding efficiency indicator is designed to be sort of like a power reserve indicator. Once again it "remembers" how much winding you have given the UR-210's movement in the last two hour period and shows on a scale from red to green how much love you've given the mainspring barrel.
Of course the best part of the system is the new "fat hand" time telling display. Urwerk once again has re-imagined their satellite time telling system and further complicated it. Hours are still shown in revolving cubes, but the minute hand is new for the UR-210. The large minute hand is a "jumping hand" and the best way to understand it is to watch the above video. The hour indicator sits inside of it and when it reaches the end of the hour, the minute hand jumps back to 0 to connect with the next hour cube. You can also set the time backwards without breaking the system. It is a really neat thing and cooler than ever.
Urwerk will produce just 35 pieces of this version of the Urwerk UR-210 watch in titanium. If I know anything about Urwerk then there will be more case finishes and limited editions available in the future. It is worth noting that the nickname of this watch is the "Maltese Falcon" due to the shape of the minute hand. However, I just don't see the connection. Price is 137,000 Swiss Francs and thanks to Westime LA and Urwerk for showing me the piece.