Originally launched in 1997, the UR-102 is now back on the URWERK watchmaking benches in the form of the UR-102 “reloaded” in a 25-piece limited series.
Last November we followed the TimeForArt auction, as part of the Phillips New York Watch Auction: SEVEN. It was the first-ever benefit watch auction to support contemporary art, initiated by New York non-profit Swiss Institute. Phillips announced that the inaugural edition of TimeForArt saw tremendous enthusiasm, raising $1.2 million for Swiss Institute. One of the leading piece was URWERK’s unique 2 UR-102.02 “TimeForArt” in collaboration with contemporary artist Cooper Jacoby, which soared to over ten times its estimate, setting a new world record for any URWERK wristwatch at $403,200. The same model with a design reminiscent to the 1997 original version named UR-102 “GAÏA” was sold in 2021 by Christies at the OnlyWatch auction.
Now the UR-102 – originally launched at Baselworld 1997 – is back, in two versions: one in titanium, the other in URWERK’s signature black. The new models have a bigger size (also with larger lugs), 41mm in diameter compared to the 38 mm of the original version. The crown now merges into the case at 4 o’clock. The self-winding calibre 2.02 operates at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 48 hours. The wandering hours are on satin-brushed and engraved discs, with redesigned font for the hours and minutes markers.
“Right the very beginning, we had the deep and intimate conviction that focusing on the wandering hour was our path”, says Martin Frei, artistic director and co-founder of URWERK. “For this UR-102, our concept featured a time indicator that looked like a celestial body. It picked up the vibe of Sputnik, the first man-made artificial satellite. The satellite trajectory of our hours pointer followed a semi-circle from minute 0 (ascension) to minute 30 (the firmament) and disappeared at minute 60 (descent).”
The UR-102 “reloaded” is presented in a 25 limited edition boxed set with the “Titanium” and “Black” versions in each. The titanium watch has a satin-brushed case, blue minute track and white rubber strap with textured Baltimore-quilt pattern. The full black model opts for a titanium case middle and lugs, black PVD-treated caseback and black rubber strap.
The UR-102 is a niche fine-watchmaking icon, a ‘foundational watch’ – as it has started the story of one of the most interesting mechanical watch brands out there.
“The UR-102 is more than just a symbol”, says Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker and co-founder of URWERK. “It represents my entry into the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants). It embodies the first collaboration with Martin Frei, our first steps into the world of fine watchmaking, our first dreams of independence.”
Source: press release. Photo credits: URWERK
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