October 22, 2016
by Kenny Yeo
Founded in 1995, Urwerk is one of the more avant-garde independent watch brands. In 2005, Urwerk was asked by Max Büsser, who was then the managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces, to work on the seminal Opus V. And in 2011, the brand’s UR-110 watch won “Best Design Watch” at the 2011 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The new UR-105 “Raging Gold” is less of a milestone than an iteration of the existing UR-105, but it features a gold bezel that apparently has a lot of significance to co-founder Martin Frei.
The Urwerk UR-105 may very well be the “entry-level” watch of the brand, but over the years, Urwerk has continually updated the UR-105 with interesting variants and limited-edition releases. The UR-105 T-Rex with its bronze engraved bezel, or should we say protective cover, is one such example. And so was last year’s UR-105 TA watches in fancy colors.
For 2016, Urwerk is introducing a new UR-105 model called the Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold,” and it features, you guessed it, an engraved red gold bezel. According to the press release, gold is a favorite material of Urwerk co-founder Martin Frei. In fact, he is said to be “a self-confessed victim of the lure of gold.”
And in Frei’s own words, “There’s always this little inner voice that reminds me how much I love this metal. Beyond the march of technology, changes in fashion, new functions, new materials; gold is always gold. It’s forever. It’s the metal that lights me up.” Indeed, gold is forever, and it’s a very attractive metal to use in watchmaking.
For the new Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold,” the large 4N red gold bezel has been engraved to create an intricate Clou de Paris pattern that brings to mind Audemars Piguet’s “Tapisserie” dials. The rest of the case is made using PVD-coated titanium, which ensures that the watch remains light to wear despite its sizable dimensions. Water resistance is just 30 meters, so it doesn’t really like getting wet.
Time is displayed using revolving satellites, a play on the wandering hours complication and a speciality of Urwerk. In the Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold,” much like the other Urwerk UR-105 watches that preceded it, a single printed “satellite” bearing the hour indication sweeps across the dial on an arc that indicates the minute. Reading the satellite’s position off the arc gives the minutes. It is really a very simple and elegant way to show the time.
Urwerk has also improved the UR 5.02 caliber within the Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold.” The mechanism that carries the hours on satellite discs, called the carousel, is hidden. In addition, Urwerk has reworked the carousel such that it spins more freely and smoothly now. Co-founder Felix Baumgartner says that owners will be able to feel the difference when they set the time. “There’s no friction, no jolts, just the dance of the satellites.”
Behind, on the titanium case back, there are the turbines that regulate the self-winding mechanism of the Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold.” It is the same system as other Urwerk UR-105 models. Turn the switch to “Full” and the slightest movement is enough to send the rotor spinning. Turn the switch to the “Red” position and the rotor’s movement will be dampened to avoid excessive tension on the mainspring. And of course, the Urwerk UR-105 can be manually wound too. Power reserve is a respectable 48 hours. The Urwerk UR-105 “Raging Gold” is limited to just 22 pieces, and price is 67,000 CHF. urwerk.com