September 1, 2015
by Ariel Adams
For 2015, Geneva-based avant-garde modern mechanical watch maker Urwerk presents their first ever watch for women in the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus. The Urwerk UR-106 Lotus will come in two limited edition models and follows an extensive “women in watches” marketing campaign by the brand. Let’s just say that after talking about all the important female influence in and around the brand, the debut of Urwerk’s first dedicated product for ladies was not a surprise.
In some ways, the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus is a cliche, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. How is it a cliche? Well, on a very basic level, it follows a trend of watch makers, even in the niche part of the luxury watch industry, to now produce timepieces for both men and women. Some of these brands are those that some fans might feel have “no business making women’s watches.” That isn’t exactly my feeling, as I think if a brand truly feels inspired to produce a watch for women, they certainly should. The issue, of course, becomes when the brand feels peer (or market) pressure to produce a women’s watch and simply adapts core designs and aesthetics they already have. This tends to lead to “merely” smaller versions of their men’s watches with more graceful lines and often diamond decoration.
Nevertheless, I don’t think Urwerk produced a women’s watch because they “needed to,” but more because they wanted to. I know that even though the founders are men, Urwerk is operated by some of the friendliest and most capable women in the watch industry, and to produce a timepiece in their honor is natural. Having said that, the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus is more or less a smaller version of the core Urwerk case and dial concept…. and is decorated with diamonds.
That isn’t to say that the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus is exactly like any other Urwerk watches. The case, movement, and dial are all new, even if they are quite “familiar.” In a sense, that is probably exactly what Urwerk’s first wave of female buyers are going to want. If they have been waiting for a women’s version of what Urwerk has been producing for men, then the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus is just that. If, however, they wanted something that was not only for women but truly original for women, then they might need to wait for future Urwerk timepieces. I actually think that a good example of a truly original women’s watch by a similarly niche luxury watch brand is the Margot by Christophe Claret (hands-on here).
Urwerk designed the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus case in titanium with some parts in steel (either naturally finished or PVD black-coated) at 35mm wide, 49.4mm tall, and 14.45mm thick. That isn’t tiny, but it is appreciably smaller than most other Urwerk watches. The lines of the case are also demonstrably more curvy and feminine, even though the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus is clearly an Urwerk when observed from pretty much any angle.
The dial is very typical of what you’ll find on most any Urwerk, with “satellites” which indicate the hours as they pass along a linear scale for the minutes. The movement also features a moon phase indicator and, interestingly enough, no other complications. There isn’t even a seconds indicator. The in-house made Urwerk caliber UR 6.01 movement is, however, an automatic, and that self-winding element does make it more user friendly.
Urwerk designed a fresh look for the dial with some unique parts that make up the still very modern display. The dial is also symmetrical with the moon phase indicator in the center. An interesting touch is the use of lapis lazuli for the background of the moon phase disc. The moons themselves aren’t just mere spheres, but they look like tiny mazes.
The Urwerk UR-106 Lotus in titanium is set with diamonds on the upper case as well as on the crown. Alternatively, the Urwerk UR-106 Black Lotus in the PVD-black steel and titanium case is decorated with black diamonds on the case as well as the crown. Urwerk mentions the natural dichotomy between light and dark with the watch, but honestly, when it comes to women, it seems like you also need to offer both dark and light options (even if the latter is sometimes more preferred in terms of sales). Don’t forget that the Urwerk UR-106 Lotus watches will each be part of a strict limited edition of just 11 pieces each (a total of 22 pieces). Price for either is 85,000 Swiss Francs. urwerk.com