Last summer, the super original independent URWERK launched a new variation in its UR-100 collection featuring an unusual gold alloy. The URWERK UR-100 Electrum is cased in an ancient metal amalgam containing organic gold and palladium. This gives the wristwatch an unusual shine, much coveted by the ancient civilizations.
𒊑𒀀 – Ra, god of the Sun in the ancient Egipt is one of the most important gods of the world. It is said that he is the god of creation, and regardless of the civilization and name used, is one of, if not the most important god. Egyptians believed he fought every night an epic battle against Apophis, that wanted to destroy Ra and his creation. Other stories represent Ra as sailing during the day his Atet (solar boat) along the body of Nut (the sky goddess). At night Ra was travelling through the womb of Nut, sustaining the idea of creation in a non sexualised form.
URWERK calls the Electrum an organic gold due to its natural occurrence in nature. It is an alloy that contains gold with at least 20% silver with copper, iron, palladium, bismuth. The names come from the Greek word ḗlektron that was later Latinised. From this word was later derived electron and electricity, as therms we use today.
Time and space
Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, the two masterminds behind URWERK, are both big readers (especially SciFi) to the extent that Felix has always a book with him. This allowed them to draw fine lines that combines mythology, utopia and futurology in pieces bearing extreme horology technology with free creativity.
Martin compares the round groves with the ancient Greek theatres: “The case of the UR-100 Electrum is covered with grooves. Everyone can project their own universe into this design. I see the tiers of an ancient Greek theatre, the subtle pleats of an Iris van Herpen dress, a piece of raw earth hollowed out by the imprints of time, the Seigaiha motif of a traditional kimono… This creation is an invitation to embark on a temporal and sensory journey.”
UR-100 case, a 49.7mm x 41mm “block” of gold reminds me more of a futuristic object, more like a starship. Or of one the 60s’ art objects, when humanity thought that we will be, by this time, already conquering space. Let’s not forget that back then (in the 60s), it was thought that in 2022, the positronic brain already celebrates 50 years anniversary and that by now it already developed special characteristics. It would have been nice to call the solar system the humanity’s playground, but unfortunately, we cannot evolve enough to refuse war just for some personal gain… (references to the Asimov’s Robots series)
But the most important time/space reference of the URWERK UR-100 Electrum is given by the side indications: Earth’s rotation on its axis at the Equator in 20 minutes and Earth’s revolution around the sun in 20 minutes. The man forgets all the time or is completely unaware of his insignificance in this universe. The watch should make the observer realize the scale of the man compared with the Earth and the scale of the Earth in comparison with its revolution around the Sun. The idea is inspired by a clock by Gustave Sandoz: “This creation was inspired by a gift from my father, Geri Baumgartner, a renowned restorer of antique clocks. It is a clock made by Gustave Sandoz for the 1893 World’s Fair. Its distinctive feature is that instead of counting off the hours, it indicates the distance travelled by the Earth at the Equator”. – Felix Baumgartner
The URWERK UR-100 case is superb, in concept and realisation. But the Electrum alloy highlights the lines and finishes of the case in a spectacular way. the relative “harsh” lines are softened by the polished details conquering the matt finish. And due to the gorgeous strap integration, the watch has a comfortable and interesting wear. It stands out on the wrist.
The most known and spectacular feature of the URWERK pieces is the satellites display system. Just like a natural satellite, they rotate around their own centre and together, in a cosmic dance, around a central point. This patented design has known several variations. On this watch, it brings a new vision of time. The aluminium and titanium system is perfected to a precise and natural feel.
The low light view of the URWERK UR-100 Electrum benefits from the brand latest experiments with luminous substances. The Super-LumiNova®-painted hours and minutes markings will shine on an entire night. You will be surprised to see how well can you read the time even close to the morning.
Beyond creativity – UR 12.01
Most of the URWERK UR-100 Electrum’s movement can be observed on the dial side. The backside is also presented in an exceptional mode: an automatic winding system regulated by the Winfänger system with propeller and planetary gear system. A bit Steam-Punk in my opinion – if I understand the Steam-Punk move correctly.
A watch for a god or a god watch
URWERK UR-100 Electrum would be, more than sure, a choice of Ra. The noble, natural alloy will shine an entire spectacle during the day. Its particular shine makes it stand out, especially in comparison with the usually used gold alloys. I was intrigued by its appearance.
And when Ra is closing his journey along with Nut, and the dark is coming along with the chaos and Apep (Apophis) approaching, the watch will lead the way, counting laud and clear the moments until the eternal battle is over.
On another hand, we can view this duality time-space presented by the UR-100 Electrum as the union between Amun (god of air) with Ra (god of Sun) – Amun-Ra, representing perfectly the visible and invisible, perception and certainty. Anyway, the message is clear: this is what we are – a speck of sand, travelling through the universe at an incredible speed, completely unaware of the real world that surrounds us.
URWERK UR-100 Electrum Technical Specifications
25-piece limited edition
- Calibre UR 12.01 with automatic winding system regulated by the Winfänger system with propeller and planetary gear system
- Jewels: 39
- Frequency: 28 800 vph – 4Hz
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- Materials: Aluminium satellite hours driven into titanium Geneva crosses. Titanium carrousel. Triple baseplate in ARCAP
- Finishes: Circular graining, sandblasting, beadblasting, circular satin-finish
- Chamfered screw heads
- Super-LumiNova®-painted hours and minutes markings
- Indications: Satellite hours; minutes; Earth’s rotation on its axis at the Equator in 20 minutes; Earth’s revolution around the sun in 20 minutes
- Materials: Satin-brushed 18K 2N Electrum yellow gold
- Dimensions: Width: 41 mm; length: 49.7 mm; thickness: 14 mm
- Glass: Transparent sapphire crystal
- Water resistance: Pressure tested to 3ATM (30m- 3 bar)
Price CHF 62,000.00 (Swiss francs / tax not included)