Martin Frei, one of the founders of Urwerk, notes that it is a desire for authenticity that leads to the brand’s unconventional creations. “We want to be personally engaged and to be able to stand behind our creations. Most watches look alike and so the question is how do we put our own individual stamps on our watches.”
With the new UC-111C, Urwerk has pushed it another step further with a watch that tells time linearly and digitally via a cylindrical minute track.
Powered by an automatic calibre with a frequency of 4Hz and a power reserve of 48 hours, its genesis happened a long time ago when Frei became intrigued by the speedometer of an old Volvo car belonging to the brother of his partner, Urwerk’s co-founder and master watchmaker Felix Baumgartner. “I made the first drawing in 1995,” reveals Frei. “Back then a linear indication like this did not appear on a wristwatch but it had been used on table clocks.”
Finding no viable solution to realise it technically back then, the design was put on the backburner - but it was never forgotten. As chief designer, Frei is always preoccupied with finding an answer to a problem. “We don’t ask why, only how. What I enjoy most about my job is realising our ideas,” he says.
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Housed in a steel case either polished (limited to 25 pieces) or with gunmetal finish (also limited to 25 pieces), the linear minute track first appeared in the CC1 King Cobra watch. However, Frei wanted a different look: “I really wanted to show off the cylinder this time around.”
The track is longer and now displays the numerals diagonally across the aperture in a helix fashion instead of horizontally, making it more visually interesting.
On the left side of this track is the jumping hour rotating on a truncated cone. There is a second minute display on its right, a retrograde indication that also rotates on a cone.