By Gordon Henderson
For those familiar with the brand, Urwerk represents an aesthetic that sits on the edge of modern wristwatch design while also pushing the technological advances of horology. They are unapologetically a brand that marches to the beat of its own drummer when it comes to design elements, while at the same time redefining how the passage of time should be displayed on a watch. The UR-105 TA (the TA is a reference to turbine automatic) AKA the Urwerk Knight is a prime example thanks to the visionary thinking of chief of design Martin Frei.
The Knight has no hour, minute or second hands, measures a robust 39.50 mm by 53 mm and will not slide daintily under the cuff of your dress shirt. It looks like no other traditional wristwatch on the market, but if you have been following the brand you already knew this. (And if you want more on the brand, click here.)
The dial of the Knight revisits Urwerk’s classic satellite design, which has been in use for over 18 years. Four satellites with cubes on them carry three numbers each – which are used for the hour indication and rotate appropriately with the passage of time. The end opposite the winding crown (which is at 12:00) features the minute indicator, or rail. The satellites will rotate along the minute rail and at the end of each hour the minute counter jumps back to the beginning of the rail and picks up the next satellite with the advanced hour. The entire process is very cool to watch and anticipating the jumping mechanism at each hour yields certain eagerness.
The design of the case draws inspiration from a Knight’s breastplate, and the metalworking and finishes of the watch are so spectacular that they would make a castle blacksmith blush. The hidden satellite carousel has been treated with ruthenium and micro-bead blasted to the highest standards of haute horology.
Additionally, the Turbine Automatic (the TA in the reference number) helps power the piece. Dual air turbines help regulate the automatic movement and are fully viewable via the display on the back of the watch. Each air turbine is micro-bead blasted, satin finished and PVD coated to carry through the aesthetics of the watch.
The air turbines operate in three positions. First is FULL where any physical movement of the piece will start to power the mainspring. The second is RED (for REDUCED), which moderates the effect of the turbine to reduce tension on the mainspring. This setting is best used when wearing the piece and engaging in physically stressful activities such as working too hard on an excel spreadsheet or working your way out of a sand trap. Finally, there is STOP — wherein the Knight’s automatic winding system is disabled and essentially becomes a hand wound piece.
The Knight – in its shining armor – is determined to slay more than dragons. Indeed, it will slay the vestiges of time and conquer the feint of heart. This Knight’s armor comes in four color variants: black and red gold, all black with a black PVD treated bezel, lemon yellow or vibrant orange. All color options feature the same exacting standards of the brand. The bold colored Knights will retail for $58,000, while the all black and black and gold versions will retail for $64,000 and $66,000 respectively.
Caliber: 5.02 UR automatic winding regulated by a double turbine
Frequency: 28,800v / h – 4 Hz
Power reserve: 48 hours
Materials: Satellite hours driven by Geneva crosses in beryllium bronze;
Orbital structure of PEEK (polyetheretherketone)
Carrousel and triple mainplates in ARCAP
Surface finishes: Perlage, bead-blasting, satin-finishing
Indications Satellite hours; minutes – hour and minute markers treated with Super-LumiNova
Materials: UR-105 TA RG – black PVD titanium case, red gold bezel
UR-105 TA “All Black” – black PVD titanium case, black PVD steel bezel
UR-105 TA “Black Lemon” – titanium case, black PVD steel bezel
UR-105 TA” Black Orange” – titanium case, black PVD steel bezel
Crystal: Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance: Pressure tested to 30m / 3ATM