Urwerk. A Titanium Aluminum Nitride Wristwatch with Wandering Hour Display and Power Reserve
Reference: UR-103.08 TiALN
Case No: 1xx
Cal. 3.03 mechanical movement, 21 jewels, titanium aluminum nitrate case with U-shaped opening for the dial, rotating satellites to display the hours, curved sector for minutes, black PVD-coated back secured by four screws, control board for power reserve sector and two subdials for 15 minute counter and constant seconds, small screw for user adjustment, oversized crown at the top of the case, titanium aluminum nitrate buckle, case, dial, and movement signed
46mm. x 36mm.
Accompanied by an Urwerk presentation box and certificate.
Urwerk SA was launched in 1997, by Felix and Thomas Baumgartner and Martin Frei. Inspired by the name of the Sumerian city “Ur” and the German word “Werk”, the founders envisioned a company that would push the boundaries of haute horologie. The brand was officially launched in 1997, with the first ever models (the UR-101 and UR-102) showing at Baselworld. By 1998, Felix Baumgartner was inducted into the AHCI, the Horological Academy of Independent Creators. Over the next few years, the brand struggled to gain a following, but their perseverance paid off.
In 2003, the UR-103 was presented at Baselworld and was well-received, putting Urwerk on the horological map. Inspired by the Baumgartner’s father, Gerry, who suggested designing a watch that was easy to read while driving, the original UR-103 featured a case that covered the entire dial, except for the curved arc at the bottom for hour and retrograde minute display – exposing only the minimum. Following their “hands-off” principle, the UR-103 model had no hands to indicate time, only the wandering hour satellite that would sweep across the minutes arc to indicate how many minutes have passed. Later models that followed would expose more of the mechanism and the four rotating satellites, a visual treat for the wearer.
Having created an iconic model for their brand, Urwerk next focused on experimenting with case materials and slightly varying case shapes. In 2006, the UR-103 Blackbird was presented at Baselworld, with the platinum case coated with PE-CVD (Plasma Enhanced-Chemical Vapor Deposition), which is more scratch-resistant and harder than regular PVD. In 2007, Urwerk released the 103.08 model with a Titanium Aluminum Nitrate-coated steel case – a coating which would be the hardest known in the world of horology. At less than 4 microns thick, it would be resistant to scratches, shocks, and acids. TiAlN-treated items not only would last longer, but are aesthetically appealing. Due to the ratios of titanium and aluminum in the alloy, the case colors for his model range from bronze to dark black, some with a purplish hue. The present watch is a fine example of a case where the TiAlN has taken on an iridescent purple color, enhancing the technical innovations and applications of this standout watch.