Back In Black: First Live Photos Of The ‘Smart’ Urwerk EMC Black
by Ian Skellern
Let’s get one thing straight: Urwerk’s EMC Black is not a pretty watch. And it’s not meant to be: it’s a proof-of-concept instrument.
Urwerk’s EMC (Electro Mechanical Control) combines an extremely high-precision, 100 percent mechanical movement − one developed entirely in-house − with an integrated, 16,000,000 Hz ultra-high precision, electronic optical measuring device. This movement, regulated within the same tolerances that the C.O.S.C. utilizes, is finished in a relatively traditional manner, including côtes de Genève, micro bead blasting, and polished bevels, even on screw heads.
This instrument is not only extremely precise, but is also the world’s first watch capable of measuring its own precision without external tools or meters. Like an internal Witschi timer, EMC “listens” to the beat of of the mechanical movement to determine its accuracy. To do this, EMC’s intelligent caliber contains an optical sensor to precisely measure the balance wheel’s rate.
“We’ve made a connection between the movement’s ‘heart’ and this new electronic ‘supervisor’,” says Felix Baumgartner, its creator.
And, unlike nearly every other mechanical watch in the world (except for a few of Urwerk’s other models), the precision of the movement − or more accurately, the rate − is easily adjustable by its owner.
Make no mistake, EMC is a 100 percent haute horlogerie mechanical timepiece; the electronics have absolutely no effect on the operation of the movement at all: they are purely a meter to measure the timing performance of the movement.
You will not find EMC or EMC Black in Urwerk’s normal collection, and the brand doesn’t intend to create a model line around the watch. EMC is part of Urwerk’s U-Research Division and is just the first step in integrating electronic functionality with traditional haute horlogerie. I have no doubt other brands will follow in Urwerk’s footsteps.
Baumgartner doesn’t even describe EMC’s deconstructed dial as a dial; for him it’s a “control board.” While other Urwerk models feature a control board with additional indications apart from telling the time on the back of the watch, on EMC all of the “gauges” are on the front.
EMC is not a pretty watch, but it’s a pretty good-looking instrument, and I think black suits it well as the muscular case fades into the background and the multiple dials pop.
EMC has been very popular: Urwerk is delivering the last few of the 55 pieces of the first series right now, and I expect this black version to sell out even more quickly.
For more on how EMC works, please check out The Difference Between Urwerk’s EMC And A Toyota Prius (Not As Obvious As You May Think).
For more information, please visit www.urwerk.com/en/collection-emc.
Case: 43 x 51 x 15.8 mm, black titanium and stainless steel
Movement: manually wound UR-EMC caliber with Swiss lever escapement, Arcap P40 balance wheel and linear balance coupled with the optical sensor and artificial intelligence
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; precision delta, power reserve (80 hours), timing adjustment screw
Limitation: 55 pieces
Price: 118,000 Swiss francs (excluding shipping and taxes)