The Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood: A Tailor-Made Farewell Of Timber And Tweed
by Ian Skellern
Urwerk’s international recognition and fame tends to give the impression that the brand is much larger than it is. In my book, two awards at the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), one for Mechanical Exception and one for Innovation for the EMC Black, singularly count toward fame.
But the fact is that Urwerk is a small brand, albeit an extremely imaginative and talented small brand, with the limited resources available to small brands.
That means that if Urwerk wants to use resources (staff and machines) to develop and produce a new model, it first has to stop producing one of the older models.
So, it’s soon to be bye-bye to the UR-110.
During SalonQP 2014, Urwerk held a quite unusual private viewing at the atelier of one of London’s (read: one of the world’s) finest tailors, Timothy Everest.
Urwerk founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have known Everest for more than five years now and there is mutual appreciation between the men behind the two artisanal brands. Baumgartner and Frei wear Timothy Everest suits and Everest proudly wears a UR-103.
“Eastwood” is Hardwood
When Baumgartner and Frei started developing the UR-110’s swansong, they decided to use an unusual material for the bezel: wood. Not just any wood, though, but an extremely hard and stable types of wood: Macassar Ebony, which comes sustainably sourced from Indonesia.
Macassar Ebony is so hard that machining the timber causes more wear and tear on the equipment than when machining metal.
After seeing just how good the wood looked in the bezel of the UR-110, Baumgartner and Frei thought that it would be nice to complement the organic nature of the bezel with an organic strap, so they contacted someone that they thought may be able to help, Timothy Everest.
“Both Urwerk and I share the same passion for tradition and craft but insert modernity into our work and always try to think one step ahead,” Everest explained. “Urwerk wanted a unique strap for the last UR-110, so we began discussing different tailoring methods and fabrics, eventually deciding that only the finest wool tweeds would do the trick. Known for its durability, tweed was the textile of choice for Britain’s upper class.”
Duke of Windsor
Everest went on to explain, “One of the patterns Urwerk chose to incorporate in a strap is the original Prince of Wales check worn by the Duke of Windsor. Contrary to popular belief, this tweed is actually brown and blue on ivory fabric, but because it was being seen mainly in newspapers, was generally thought to be black and white.”
The plan is for each watch to be delivered with three different strap materials, each of which I expect will make the watch look very different.
There are many reasons to like the UR-110, and quite a few that make this model particularly suitable to this sartorial collaboration, including the large bezel, but it is worth pointing out that the UR-110 is perfectly suited (excuse the pun) to this role because it is so easy to read the time, even with just the very edge of the watch peaking out from under a cuff.
And the name “Eastwood”? Well, Macassar Ebony comes from Indonesia, which is both east (of Switzerland) and wood. And Baumgartner and Frei are fans of a certain celebrity named Clint.
As much as I like the UR-110 “Eastwood,” though, I can’t help but let my imagination wander and wonder just what it is that Urwerk will be working on next!
The Urwerk UR-110 Eastwood will be officially launched in Geneva in January 2015. Start saving!
Case: grade 5 titanium with Macassar Ebony, 47 x 51 mm
Movement: automatic winding regulated by double turbines, 39-hour power reserve
Functions: satellite complication with rotating hour/minutes, small seconds; day/night indicator, and “oil change” indicator alerting service intervals
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: To be announced
Availability: from early 2015