Whenever I think about a watch made by an independent watchmaker, a certain recollection comes to mind – one that could explain my passion for timepieces created by masters with diminutive production but gargantuan horological expertise. This particular story involves a watch brand, a trip to Switzerland, and what is normally a very casual thing: lunch.
In 2005 I visited Baselworld a portable 20x magnification stereo microscope. Over a few days of examining hundreds of watches, there were only two that stood out as having dials that were flawless under the microscope’s intense scrutiny: one was the wild Harry Winston Opus V by a young brand called Urwerk that had yet to celebrate its tenth birthday. This year Urwerk celebrates its twentieth anniversary and what a 20 years it has been!
Blast from the past! This post is a “reprint” of an article I wrote that was first published on The PuristS in 2005. This article is divided into four parts: Felix Baumgartner and Urwerk, Harry Winston Rare Timepieces and the Opus V, The Urwerk 103.03, and The Urwerk 103.03 user review.
At the 2017 SIHH in Geneva I particularly liked the Carré des Horlogers, as the SIHH independents’ hall is known, which showcases some of the industry’s finest creative minds producing amazing watches, both traditional and contemporary. So without further ado, here are my SIHH highlights, most of which come from that hall.
Fine watch and fine whiskey, for many the two go together like single malt birds of a feather. Urwerk founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have been known to enjoy a smooth amber tipple or two, and as discerning gentlemen with discerning taste in haute horlogerie, it’s perhaps not surprising that Baumgartner and Frei also have discerning taste when it comes to whiskey: single malt by The Macallan.
Please join our Quill & Pad round table discussion, where we talk about what we did and didn’t like at the 2017 SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie). And get ready for a cornucopia of beautiful photos and colorful opinions!
It’s no exaggeration to say that here at Quill & Pad we are big fans of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. And now Urwerk introduces its own, very robust version of a reversible watch: the UR-T8 “Transformer.”
The Time Aeon Foundation, driver of the Le Garde Temps, Naissance d’une Montre project, will present its second project at the 2017 edition of SIHH, which involves a collaboration with the recently announced boutique brand Oscillon.
I recently embarked upon an adventure to Iceland, a land offering the most incredible, contrasting landscapes rich in volcanic matter and geothermal properties. One big motivational aspect for this holiday was my desire to photograph the country, which involved traveling more than 2,000 kilometers across it. I fell in love with Iceland instantly, so much so that I would move there tomorrow. And it’s even better with an Urwerk EMC Time Hunter on my wrist.
The UR-106 is the first Urwerk that is perfectly sized for a feminine wrist. And much of the reason for its extreme comfort is the crown: the tactile business of winding and setting the time on a watch is tantamount to the comfort it will exude. Fumbling with small crowns can be quite tricky, particularly – and please excuse this aspect of feminine hands – if you want to keep your fingernails intact. Find out why this one is different.