If You’ve Ever Wondered What The Lovechild Of A Reverso And A Tyrannosaurus Rex Might Look Like: Presenting The Urwerk UR-T8 ‘Transformer’ (Live Photos + Video)
by Ian Skellern
It’s no exaggeration to say that here at Quill & Pad we are big fans of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso (see Why I Bought My Wife An Engraved Reverso Classique . . . And Why You Shouldn’t (Even Though I’m Happy) and Why I Bought It: Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute To Reverso 1931).
Naturally, the concept of a haute horlogerie watch that you can flip over while on the wrist so as to protect the crystal and dial from damage while playing robust sports like polo is an enticing one.
But, thought Urwerk’s Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei (they didn’t really think this, but it makes for a better story, doesn’t it?), the Reverso covers polo players, but what about people involved in really dangerous activities like rodeo riders and stunt men?
What they need is a watch that when flipped over protects like the hide of a Tyrannosaurus Rex . . . in titanium!
Presenting the Urwerk UR-T8 “Transformer”
The UR-T8 “Transformer” commemorates Urwerk’s twentieth anniversary in 2017, and there’s more to this timepiece than the reversible case.
As Frei explains, “Our UR-T8 of course recalls the Reverso watches, we have unstructured the concept to create a genuine Urwerk model. The UR-T8 features all the characteristics that we have made our own: the huge crown, the organically shaped sapphire crystal glass, the textured case that invites your touch, a strong personality, and a recognizable visual signature.”
Satellite within satellite system
The UR-T8’s complex planetary gearing revolves the three-armed satellite carousel every three hours, presenting a new hour marker to transit the minute arc every hour; once it has finished transiting the minute arc, each hour disk revolves so that it is ready to present the next of its four hour numerals the next time it is front and center. The hour disks continually adjust while they are transiting the minute arc to that they are always oriented perfectly parallel to the minutes.
The carousels within which the planetary gearing rotates are made from aluminum and titanium for maximum strength and rigidity for minimum mass.
The automatic winding system is regulated by Urwerk’s innovate air micro turbine, which automatically increases resistance during vigorous activity to decrease wear in the winding mechanism. The micro turbine can be seen through a discreet aperture embedded in the pronounced dinosaur scale-like guilloche of the protective back.
Reversing the case of the UR-T8 is both simple and safe. You simultaneously press the two nearly flush pushers at the front of the case band and the case unlocks from its “dock,” enabling it to be lifted and rotated.
A clever security mechanism ensures that the case cannot be lowered back into position unless perfectly oriented to avoid jamming or scratching. And that perfect position is easy to find because it can be clearly felt.
It’s when operating the reversing case that you can feel the quality of the mechanism: it is engineered like a Mercedes S Class.
The “8” in T8 comes from the fact that the case plots a figure 8 course as it lifts, rotates, and descends.
The UR-T8 does not just transform itself from a piece of fine watchmaking displaying the time to a masculine shield against anything that may try to hurt it; it also represents the end of one era and the transformation of Urwerk toward a new one.
After two decades of creating a fantastic collection of timepieces unified by their satellite indications, Urwerk is now developing watches that will indicate time in other ways. More on that will be revealed at Baselworld 2017.
The Urwerk UR-T8 is the Reverso for those playing rougher sports than polo!
For more information on the UR-T8, please visit https://www.urwerk.com/en/.
Movement: Caliber UR 8.01, automatic winding with pneumatic regulation
Indications: hours and minutes via double rotating planetary gears
Case: 60 x 48 x 20 mm, grade 5 titanium, reversible, water resistance 30 meters
Limitation: 30 pieces in natural titanium, 30 pieces in two-tone black PVD and natural titanium
Price: 100,000 Swiss francs (tax excluded)