The watchmaking company Urwerk celebrates its 20th birthday in 2017 – in style of course. Frei & Baumgartner, the founders of Urwerk, presented their new company and their first watch at the Baselworld 1997, causing quite a stir. And even two centuries later, it doesn’t get boring with Urwerk. The new UR-T8 which marks the companies 20th birthday was presented at the SIHH. This watch proves the enormous creativity and the aspiration of Frei & Baumgartner to revolutionize how we think about wristwatches. The way in which the time is displayed as well as the shape of the case is once more unique – and a novelty.
The UR-T8 is Urwerk’s first transformable watch – inspired by the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre “Reverso”. A Series of precise actions unlocks the case from its cradle, flips it over and returns it with a satisfying click. It then becomes a mysterious object on the wrist. There are two pushers on the bezel which, when pushed simultaneously, lift the watch vertically. It then can be rotated about its axis before clicked back into its cradle to return to the present time. From one side, the UR-T8 is watch, from the other one is a futuristic design piece which resembles a watch only partly since the time display is completely gone.
Urwerk has a new version of its trademark wandering-hour indication in the UR-T8. This intuitive display arranges the twelve hours in groups of four on a three-armed carousel. These successively sweep across the scale of 60 minutes to show the time both digitally and analogically. It is the biggest and most elaborate carousel configuration yet applied by Urwerk, with each arm supporting a satellite carousel bearing the four numerals. A complex planetary gearing transforms a tangle of wheels, screws and jewels bearings into a meticulously orchestrated ballet.
The Urwerk UR-T8 features a unique pneumatic control of the self-winding system. A spinning vane connected to the winding rotor absorbs any sudden and violet movements of the rotor without compromising its winding efficiency.
The watch is powered by the calibre UR 8.01. It works at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides a power-reserve of 50 hours.
The case is made from titanium with a black PVD-coating and it measures 60.23 x 48.35 x 20.02 mm.
Of the UR-T8 will only be 60 pieces available.
Vacheron Constantin has introduced a whole range of new models at this year’s SIHH. We cannot cover them all, but we just have to introduce the new interpretation of one of the manufacture’s most iconic timepieces: the Traditionelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar.
The Traditionelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar is one of the best-known models within Vacheron Constantin’s collection. The new version is available in platinum and pink gold and it combines two key complications – the chronograph and the perpetual calendar – and is powered by the new calibre 1142 QP. This watch leaves nothing to be desired.
The case hasn’t changed, it is still classically round and stepped while bearing the distinctive fluted pattern on its back.
The dial is characterized by the dauphine-style hands and the railway-typed minute track. A white or black tachymeter scale surrounding the dial accentuates the technical nature of the watch.
Exemplifying a concern for legibility, the dial features various shades of grey with finishes that differ according to the functions, reflecting the layout of 1940s Vacheron Constantin chronographs. Standing out against a slate- or silver-coloured opaline base, the small seconds and chronograph minutes counters are distinguished by a circular-brushed ring with snailed centre.
The white or pink gold moon disc is hand-finished. Positioned in the centre of the date counter, it provides a symbolic depiction of a moon face that is alternately smiling or melancholy, depending on the path of the Earth’s satellite. This is a nod to historical pocket watches.
The sophisticated aesthetic approach is matched by the technical evolution embodied in the movement of the Traditionelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar. The 1141 QP is replaced by the 1142 QP, a state-of-the-art movement entirely designed and developed within the Vacheron Constantin manufacture. The new movement drives the perpetual calendar functions – with indications of the days, date, months, leap years and moon phases – as well as the chronograph functions with a direct-drive seconds hands and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, positioned opposite the small seconds at 9 o’clock. This watch will be able to keep track of all the vagaries of the calendar without any need for adjustments until March 1st 2100.
With the development of this new caliber, the watchmakers and developers have been attentive to the energy constraints relating to the chronograph functions, in order to minimize their impact on the 48-hour power reserve. The oscillation frequency of the balance has also ben raised from 2.5 Hz to 3 Hz so as to increase reliability and shock resistance.
The Traditionelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar comes with a sapphire crystal caseback to allow a glance on the movement.