It is an iconic model, jealously safeguarded until now at the heart of the watch Maison, since it marks the beginning of the URWERK adventure in the 1990s. The foundation stone. A watch of almost disconcerting simplicity, with a wandering hour as its only marker of time. The UR-102. This one-of-a-kind model in asphalt-coloured anodised aluminium with a platinum caseback has been newly enhanced with a midnight blue lacquer. It will be auctioned on 6 November 2021 on behalf of the “Only Watch” charity to fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
This unique piece embodies the wild aspirations of a team composed young dreamers who had only just graduated – from the School of Arts for Martin Frei and from the Solothurn Watchmaking School for Felix Baumgartner and his brother. In 1997, they set out to conquer the world, armed with a brilliant idea and modest capital. Their first watch, the UR-102, was presented at the Baselworld watch fair on the booth of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). This model ran resolutely counter to existing and generated a certain amount of controversy at the time its launch. It is now the symbol of victorious pugnacity, of salutary stubbornness. What a destiny!
“We have chosen to name this model ‘Gaïa’. We recently had the immense honour of receiving the Gaïa Prize* for Entrepreneurship from our peers. This award recognises a journey from oblivion to the limelight, along with tenacity, conviction and pugnacity that have repeatedly been put to the test. This model reflects this fierce determination that blazes new trails. We dedicate this symbol of hope to all those who struggle to make things happen”, said URWEK co-founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei.
This UR-102 is unique in many ways. It is undoubtedly one of the first watch creations to honour a mixed-genre approach merging the common metal aluminium with the nobility of platinum.
Its full, round shape is seamlessly smooth. Framed by precious platinum, the caseback features an interpretation of the Gaïa prize, a dazzling flight of fancy symbolising URWERK’s unswerving resolve to reach for the stars.
Based on the historical UR-102
Original design by Martin Frei
Mechanism development and assembly by Felix Baumgartner
Case design and hand machining by Thomas Baumgartner
URWERK UR-102 “Gaïa” Technical Specifications
- Finishing: Satin-brushed and rhodium-plated
- Frequency: 28,800 vph
- Jewels: 21
- Power reserve: 42 hours
- Indications: Hours indication by satin-brushed, rhodium-plated and engraved disks. Hour-marker engravings filled with matt black lacquer
- Case middle and lugs in anodised aluminium;
- Screw-down caseback in circular satin-brushed platinum, Gaïa logo filled with glittering hand-applied blue lacquer
- Dimensions: Diameter: 38mm; thickness 12mm; lugs 16mm
- Glass: Special-shaped sapphire crystal
- Sandblasted, polished and satin-brushed pin buckle
- Strap hand-sewn in Geneva (1 x black Baltimora and 1x black Alligator)